eating disorders

Eating Disorders: The Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

Eating disorder are quite common, as are eating disorder myths.

People have been suffering from eating disorders for a long time, I know because I was one of them.

I battled with eating disorders for ten years. They were some of the worst years of my life.

But while that was a painful time for me, I’m actually grateful for the experience. I am the person I am today because of what I went through.

If you or someone you love suffers from eating disorders, perhaps you feel there isn’t any hope. That this will own you for life, and you’ll never be free.

Well, I’m here to tell you otherwise.

There IS hope, but first, you’ll need to know what’s true and what isn’t.

Then you’ll have the tools necessary to heal yourself.

Eating Disorders: The Myths You Should Not Believe

Myth #1 – You’ll never be cured

I’ve read some of the articles and blog posts from people who say you can never truly recover from an eating disorder.

It isn’t true, though. You can cure it.

I’ve been free of my eating disorders for seventeen years. No relapsing. It’s a thing of the past for me.

But for this to happen, I had to get angry. Angry that I felt I was a prisoner of something. Freedom had to become my ultimate goal.

To free myself and heal, self-awareness had to become a big part of my life. It required me to face my “stuff.” I had to stop judging myself and decide I was going to get better.

I wanted to be free – more than anything. When that became a burning desire, I started the journey to recovery.

Now while I state that I’ve recovered, it’s important for you to know that others have as well.

In fact, according to this study regarding the long term success of recovery, 51% of patients suffering from anorexia had still been fully recovered after a 21 year follow up.

Myth #2 – Eating disorders are all about food

Eating disorders certainly have a lot to do with food, but there’s more to it than that.

Control plays a significant role in this. At least, it did for me.

I grew up with a horrible sense of self. I was extremely depressed. I had no self-love, self-worth and I didn’t feel I belonged anywhere.

In fact, I wasn’t even overweight when I first got sick.

My eating disorders made me feel powerful. Yes, I was able to manipulate my caloric intake and experience a false sense of empowerment over doing that, but it was my ability to manipulate people into feeling sorry for me that was underneath it all.

Pity felt like love to me. So when people felt sorry for me – when they worried about me, it made me feel like I mattered.

Eventually, though, I realized that wasn’t the kind of love I wanted. It kept me sick. It turned out that what I truly wanted was to love and respect myself.

I couldn’t love and respect myself until I made well-being my priority. I then took that same level of control I dedicated toward being sick and put into healthy living.

Myth #3 – Getting help means there’s something wrong with you

I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes, we just don’t want to admit we need help. It’s almost as though it validates there’s something wrong with us.

Like we’re damaged goods.

But that isn’t true.

What is true is when you’re willing to face yourself and look your pain right in the eye, it means you have courage. And when you have courage, you can pretty much do anything else you set your mind to.

There are a variety of different methods available to help you heal from eating disorders. You may need to investigate what’s out there, but you’ll find what suits you if healing is important to you.

The idea is to decide you want to be well. It sounds simple, but that’s what it takes. Only you can make that decision. But if you want to be free – if you want to experience a life filled with inner peace and joy, you can do it.

As soon as you stop running.

Taking the First Step

As simple as this sounds, the first step toward healing yourself is just to make the decision to be well.

You’re not alone in this either. Today (unlike when I was sick), there are forums and websites designed to help you connect to valuable online resources, information and other people. You have support available as soon as you make the choice to get better.

You can cure this. I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true.

I’m living proof.

7 thoughts on “Eating Disorders: The Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

  1. Hi Dana,

    Thanks for bringing up this topic. Eating disorders are one of the best kept secrets in some circles. My step daughter had one and it was a terrible time. Anorexia and bullimia .. So I do know that it is no about food. It is something deep rooted. But when we tried to acknowledge it with her she refused. This was so difficult to watch her dwindle away to 78 pounds and have her scream at us that there was nothing wrong. We tried everything…

    What helped her was our naturopath. We ignored her disorder and just told her we were going in for a check up and we took her and all the kids too. I remember vividly, she was actually crawling in the office. But he had some magic mojo of a personality. He told her about how fats in her diet were missing and that’s why she was depressed and anxious. He never mentioned her weight. Finally she started eating then going to therapy as an outpatient.

    Thank God she is fine now. She has been over it for a number of years. So you see, eating disorders not only effect the person but also their loved ones.

    Sorry for the novella…but this subject needs to be talked about and awareness must be made.


    1. Hey Donna, thank you so much for sharing your experience. We agree that these topics do not get talked to enough. By sharing our experiences we can get stronger and learn from each other. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    2. Hi Donna,

      I know all to well that people who suffer from eating disorders keep it to themselves. I sure did, until it completely consumed my life.

      You’re so right about it affecting our loved ones. I know how my folks felt when they discovered I was dealing with this. It broke their hearts – and they were terribly worried about me.

      I hate to hear about what your step-daughter went through, but she’s lucky she had you to help steer her in the right direction. I think creativity is necessary when it comes to dealing with this sort of thing because it plays such tricks on the mind that it may require different healing modalities for different people.

      Either way, her story, much like mine, demonstrates there’s hope. It can be cured…and I genuinely appreciate you sharing your story with anyone who reads this.

  2. Hi Dana,

    Oh my, I remember back in high school and college writing term papers about eating disorders, specifically bulemia. I was underweight most of my life and was ridiculed because of it. However, I don’t remember it ever really bothering me. Some 30 years later and I am overweight. Some due to stress, some my love for food, and lack of exercise.

    Eating disorders, as you know, have a tremendous power over you. I am happy to read your story and know there is hope for those who want and need it.

    Power to you for being 17 years free of your disorder. You’re a strong women who I see can conquer anything. Thank you again for sharing your story.


    1. Hi Brenda,

      Eating disorders certainly aren’t new. They’ve been around for several generations and continue to impact our lives (and the lives of those around us). Just goes to show how much there is to learn about them.

      They are all-encompassing – and incredibly painful. I was so happy to put this post together and share some facts, along with my story. Yes, there is hope. And while I was at the mercy of this disease for SO long, it’s beautiful to be completely free of it for all these years..

      I feel it’s a matter of deciding to be a warrior. Sounds simple, but what truly helped me was taking a good, hard look at myself and not wanting to be sick any longer. I feel that when we make a decision, we are in a position to start asking some useful questions. Those questions lead to more questions and then help, in the form of answers – and those “hows” become available.

      We all have it within us to be warriors, but I feel we first need to know it’s possible. I sure hope my story lets others know it IS possible to not only heal, but to thrive.

      Thanks so much for contributing to the conversation Brenda 🙂

  3. Hi Dana,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. You’ve provided a lot of helpful resources for anyone who is currently dealing with eating disorders.

    I don’t know anyone who has dealt with this personally but I remember our health teacher talking about this in high school.

    Congrats on the 17 years – that is a major accomplishment and you make a great testimony that anyone can overcome an eating disorder.

    Have a great week!


    1. Hi Cori,

      Thank you so much!

      I sure do hope people get something useful out of this.
      I remember the ten years I lived with this and wondered if I’d ever get out from underneath this huge weight in my life – physically, emotionally (and Spiritually). Looking back on all of it, I clearly see it was a choice.
      Yes, there was work to be done and I won’t say it was always easy. But once I decided I had no interest in being a victim of my own mind and thoughts, the tools showed up and I was able and willing to use them.

      It can be done. I see the whole thing as a blessing in my life because of what I’m able to share now. We can take the things that knock us on our ass and triumph.

      I’m glad you stopped by. Thanks so much for contributing to the conversation 🙂

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