I’m not underweight, so I can’t have an eating disorder.
Weight is an unreliable indicator of eating disorders. People with eating disorders range from severely underweight to obese, and everything in between.
Only teenage girls have eating disorders.
Anyone of any age, race, income level, educational achievement, or career success may experience eating disorders. It is true that most cases of anorexia and bulimia develop in late-adolescent females. But eating disorders cut across all cultural and age lines.
I don’t have bulimia because I don’t vomit or use laxatives.
Self-induced vomiting and laxative abuse aren’t the only ways to purge calories. People with bulimia may also engage in compulsive exercise. Or they may binge and then fast.
I can never exercise too much.
We all need exercise, and engaging in physical activity usually boosts mood while doing good things for your body. But too much exercise coupled with too little calorie consumption hurts your body. It can cause chronic pain, menstrual cycle disruptions, or osteoporosis.
An eating disorder won’t kill me.
If an eating disorder is not treated in time, it can kill. Short of death, eating disorders can cause long-lasting health problems.
I eat when I need to. Therefore, I can’t have anorexia.
Not all people with anorexia stop eating. Some restrict certain types of foods, eating only what they perceive as “safe” or “free” foods while keeping calorie consumption below normal. Other people with anorexia fast for a specified number of days followed by relatively normal eating for a few days. Then they begin the cycle again.
This is only a phase. I can quit anytime I want.
It’s not “just a phase.” Eating disorders are serious mental, emotional, and physical health issues. People with anorexia and bulimia often think they can stop anytime they want. But the compulsion that drives an eating disorder can’t be tamed easily. Eating disorders take on a life of their own. In many cases, the desire to stop isn’t enough and professional help is needed.
My child can’t have an eating disorder, because the whole family eats together every night.
A person with an eating disorder can appear to go through the rituals of eating normal meals with loved ones. But they may be hiding or throwing away food or purging through vomiting, laxatives, excessive exercise, or fasting.