February 3, 2017 12:26 pm
Updated: February 24, 2017 11:15 am

3 myths about eating disorders

WATCH: Registered Dietitian Casey Berglund joins Global Calgary to debunk three myths about eating disorders.

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In honour of Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb 1 – 7) registered dietitian Casey Berglund joined Global Calgary on Friday to debunk three myths about eating disorders.

Eating disorders only affect white teenage girls

FALSE. Eating disorders affect men and women of all ages and ethnicities.

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“Sometimes in our minds we have this vision of what someone with an eating disorder looks like,” Berglund explained. “We really want to bust that myth because it can contribute to the stigma around eating disorders and prevent people from getting support and help.”

You can tell just by looking at someone if they have an eating disorder

FALSE. People of all sizes can struggle with an eating disorder. It’s not often visually obvious.

While Berglund acknowledged that eating disorders do have an effect on people’s bodies, she said it’s not always visually apparent that someone is suffering.

“You can have someone who’s small in size who’s struggling from an eating disorder, [or] someone who’s larger in size that’s struggling from an eating disorder.”

READ MORE: Binge-eating and bulimia have more in common than doctors realize

Berglund added that because eating disorders include more than just food intake issues, anyone can be impacted.

“There are a wide array of eating disorders, from anorexia to binge eating disorders, to even some that are being explored like orthorexia, which is an unhealthy obsession with healthy food,” she said.

“People of all sizes can be struggling.”

Having an eating disorder is a choice

FALSE. Though dieting (which is a choice) is thought to be the No. 1 predictor of developing an eating disorder, once one has an eating disorder it not a choice.

Berglund said eating disorders can begin with specific behaviours like dieting, but they are not a choice.

“It’s really not a choice,” she said. “It’s a serious brain-based illness that requires ulti-disciplinary support for treatment.”

Need help?

The National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) is a Canadian non-profit providing resources on eating disorders and weight preoccupation.

If you need help, call 1-866-NEDIC-20 (toll free) or visit www.nedic.ca for more information.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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