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How do you explain to those you love that eating disorders are not about vanity?

12 Answers
Last Updated: 11/26/2018 at 4:18pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Monique Bivins, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I have a real passion for helping my clients to overcome life's obstacles . My work with clients is nonjudgmental, supportive, and interactive.

Top Rated Answers
January 30th, 2015 9:13am
Eating disorders are often not really about food or physical appearance. Oftentimes they are more strongly related to factors of control. When someone is feeling like their life is becoming unmanageable or that someone else has more control of their life than they do, they may feel that something as basic as food is the one thing in their life that they're actually in charge of.
April 27th, 2015 5:23am
Eating disorders are not about vanity, instead those who are suffering from an ED are incapable of seeing themselves as the wonderful human being they are. They painfully find flaw in themselves no matter how they look at themselves in mirrors and they cannot stop. They are uncomfortable in their own bodies and constantly strive for the perfection that no matter how hard they try, they can never achieve.
July 11th, 2015 8:27pm
Id start by getting together some information to help assist you. The internet is a wonderful way to start. Print it out. So as you start to talk to friends or family you can get them to read the information.
September 7th, 2015 11:06pm
Put them in front of evidence. You are not only suffering for your psychological "issues", but you are also trying to explain it to the people you love. Make them understand by knowledge. And if they still don't understand it by your words, give them the mean to do it in other ways (internet, books, etc)
October 4th, 2015 7:47pm
Tell them the truth. Be honest with them and remember that even if what you say causes them some pain, they would rather feel the pain--pain caused by their love for you--than not be allowed to because you're keeping something from them. Tell your loved ones about the way you feel about yourself, and explain what you can about the reasons you have this disorder and explain that there are certain things you can't explain quite yet but need them to respect anyways. Your loved ones love you back, and they'll understand.
November 17th, 2015 8:44pm
Everyone who suffers from that disorder have different reasons for their struggle. Most disorders are not about appearance, some people use it as a form of self-harm. Some people will use self-injury as a coping skill as others will use an eating disorder.
February 1st, 2016 4:39am
they're a mental disorder, a distorted view on what is beautiful. They are in now way shape or form about vanity. The person who has the disorder, needs professional help.
February 1st, 2016 11:05pm
when i broke the news to my friends that i had an eating disorder, i tried to frame it as a control issue- because that's what it was for me! i couldn't control a lot of what was going on in my life so, as i put it, my brain routed that need to control elsewhere. namely, to how much or how little i put inside of me. i hope this helps a little bit!
June 13th, 2016 2:25am
Try to tell those that you love that it is more of a battle mentally and that it is something you can not control.
September 12th, 2016 10:17pm
I think that it is important that you know what your eating disorder is about, possible a control issue. When you want to talk to your loved ones about the eating disorder you can explain the reasoning to them, because since they are not living with it they will never understand fully but you can explain it to them so that they can understand it isn't about vanity.
October 10th, 2016 3:01am
Eating disorders are not about vanity, they aren't beautiful, you are much more than a weight scale.
November 26th, 2018 4:18pm
Many people believe that sufferers are vain, beauty-obsessed brats that could easily recover if they’d simply stop looking in the mirror and get over their need to look good. That is not true at all. I suffer from EDNOS. There are many days that I barely even glance at the mirror or take a look at my reflection. I'm not arrogant and self obsessed. To many sufferers, ED is about self control and directing their attention to something that they control. was so rare among my peers for someone to be satisfied with their looks and to truly love their body but I loved mine. It was doing the best it could to support me. Eating disorder is not about being self-entitled. Even though many people aim for a better image of themselves, it's not selfish.