If someone asked you whether you had an eating disorder just because you’re obsessed with counting calories and working out, you’d probably say no. A lot of women are very critical about what they can eat and what they can’t, and if they do splurge once in a while, make sure they work it off diligently.
Actress Stephanie Beatriz wrote a personal essay about an easting disorder, that at first sounds like to be very typical obsession with food and exercise but is actually a rarely talked about eating disorder.
The most common eating disorders include bulimia (“an emotional disorder involving distortion of body image and an obsessive desire to lose weight, in which bouts of extreme overeating are followed by depression and self-induced vomiting, purging, or fasting”) and anorexia (“a lack or loss of appetite for food (as a medical condition), an emotional disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat”).
What the Brooklyn Nine-Nine actress opened up about is called disordered eating.
“I’d look in the mirror and pick apart my body, my face,” Beatriz wrote in InStyle. “I’d zoom in on areas I hated, like my ass or my stomach. And then I’d start the obsessive food restriction and compulsive workouts. You see, I have an eating disorder,” she continued. “But like a lot of us, mine is a bit hard to define. I don’t purge, so I’m not a bulimic. I do eat, so I’m not anorexic. I’m what I like to call ‘a disordered eater.'”
Bonnie Brennan, senior clinical director of adult services at the Eating Recovery Center in Denver, told the Huffington Post that disordered eating is not an official diagnosis separate from eating disorders.
“It is a way to describe a relationship with food and/or the body that could or is possibly becoming dysfunctional,” Brennan said. “Disordered eating may be a gateway into a full-blown eating disorder, can persist during eating disorder recovery and in treatment and is something that one would work to normalize as they work toward wellness.”
The actress is recovering but says that everyday is a struggle.
“It’s not easy,” Beatriz wrote. “Every day is f*****g hard with an eating disorder, even when you’re doing better. But it’s worth it to try and get better. Even on the hardest days, when you backslide into old patterns, it’s worth it.”
Click here to read Beatriz’s touching essay.