The Mighty Logo

6 Simple Ways to End Eating Disorder Stigma

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

As a therapist who specializes in eating disorders, I am always grateful to see others who are just as passionate about bringing awareness to the disorder as I am. Whether it be through sharing personal stories, posting articles to social media or becoming involved in organizations such as National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), the large strides I often see being made toward ending the stigma are admirable.

However, there are a variety of small steps we can take to effectively bring an end to eating disorder stigma and diet culture, many of which can easily be carried out on a daily basis. These steps require us to begin opposing anyone or anything that may promote or reinforce disordered thoughts around food, exercise, and body image.

1. If your friend tells you she needs to go to the gym to counteract pizza night last night, tell her that exercise should never be a punishment, and any and all food is OK in moderation.

2. Those magazines that give unrealistic depictions of what the “perfect” body looks like? Don’t buy them.

3. If friends make flippant comments about how they “wish” they had the willpower to have anorexia, tell them that similar to other medical conditions, eating disorders are not a choice.

4. That store that makes you feel as though your worth is based on the size of their clothing? Quit shopping there.

5. Start educating yourself on the difference between experts in the fields of fitness and nutrition, and “experts” who play or look the part.

6. Instead of praising our kids for their looks, let’s remind them how smart, funny, kind, helpful, brave and fun they are.

While these examples include seemingly small acts, it is these seemingly small acts that will eventually lead to the bigger picture of eradicating the stigma surrounding eating disorders, and the toxic diet culture that can lead to them.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Originally published: October 8, 2019
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home