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Taking a Stand Against Eating Disorder Stereotypes 

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September 27, 2022

We are often told that sharing our mental health struggles with others can help us heal and feel less alone. But what happens when we are met with dismissive, minimizing or invalidating comments or we find there are a lack of resources that represent our situation? What happens when others don’t believe us because we don’t fit the stereotype?  

Eating disorders do not discriminate and they do not have a ‘look’. Despite this eating disorder truth, misconceptions about who is affected by eating disorders are plentiful and harmful. They exist within individual and community discourse, as well as in the healthcare environment, which can impact the diagnoses, support options and access to treatment for those who don’t fit the stereotype.  

As an eating disorder Foundation, it’s important for us to speak up against stereotypes to ensure that support is available for people of all different lived experiences and backgrounds. 

It is encouraging to see the media acknowledge and start to shed light on this important topic.  We encourage you to read CBC’s recent news feature highlighting how the common depictions of people with eating disorders can have serious consequences for those who don’t fit the stereotype.

“Eating disorders don’t discriminate. You can’t always tell someone has an eating disorder just by looking at them. [The] education piece is really important so that people know that no matter what size I am, no matter what colour I am, no matter what my life experiences, if I’m struggling with an eating disorder, I deserve care, I deserve support just as much as anyone else. - Sophia Khan, Registered Dietitian, Distorted View, CBC article

Read the full CBC article here.

Stories from our Community about Navigating Stereotypes

"The CBC article by Lypny points to a mental and physical health literacy crisis in our society. By failing to account for a range of body types, and body idealizations, our clinicians are left with inadequate diagnostic tools, and many individuals who are suffering don’t have the knowledge or support to identify their disorder and seek treatment. I struggled for years to identify my own disordered eating because the resources I sought out didn’t reflect my experience as a male. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t put a name on it; I convinced myself that my problem wasn’t worthy of professional attention.   

I know first-hand the struggles that many men face in identifying disordered eating and seeking support. I also know first-hand that recovery is possible. I am proud that the Looking Glass Foundation has opened its eyes to the many diverse presentations of disordered eating and offers inclusive support for those in need." - Andrew Fullerton

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"As someone who has always been active and maintained a steady weight, I was told multiple times by friends, family and healthcare providers that there was no way I could struggle with binge eating - surely, I was exaggerating because I ‘looked well’. Although I knew these comments were rooted in a lack of eating disorder information, it didn’t take away from how disheartening it felt to have my lived experience minimized and disregarded, particularly because my eating disorder was significantly impacting my wellbeing. Despite the words I encountered and the doubts I faced because of them, I continued to advocate for my recovery and eventually found a supportive community in the Looking Glass Foundation. 

If you’ve experienced something similar to this, I encourage you to continue to courageously share your story and seek support because there are people and communities that understand – the Looking Glass Foundation community being one of them. Please know that your struggles are valid, your story is real and you are not alone.” - LGF Community Member 


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Looking to learn more or raise awareness about eating disorder stereotypes? Check out our resource page, or share this article.

Looking for eating disorder support? Read more about our programs here.

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