In time for Eating Disorder Awareness Week, we got in touch with Registered Dietitian Andie Grange. She shared her own experience with an eating disorder and gave us a few pointers on first steps and common misconceptions. Listen in and learn from her about how we can help our communities better address eating disorders.
What do you think is the most misunderstood part of eating disorders?
I think it’s the fact that people often tend to think that A) it’s about food, which it is but it is very much not and B) that it is all about being skinny and looking pretty or different. An eating disorder, while they manifest in that way are much more about psychological, mental and emotional struggles and the food is how it manifests but it is not necessarily about the food.
Are there some common warning signs of eating disorders?
One of the biggest ones is people tend to isolate themselves. People don’t want to come out or do things that they normally do, or they don’t enjoy activities they normally enjoy. Obviously, sometimes you can see it in their food, but people can be very tricky in hiding it, I know personally I used to do things to hide that I wasn’t eating very much. If you can see a big shift in their personality and how they act around others is different to what they normally are this is a common warning sign I have noticed.
What causes an eating disorder?
It's super complicated. Usually, it’s just the perfect storm of different things, genetics is a lot of it, if you have family history of eating disorders you are more than likely to develop one. Also, personality type, people tend to be very type A, organized, motivated people. Also, just circumstance. I know when I developed mine it was a very difficult time of my life and it was my way to gain control, or at least that’s what I thought at the time. When people are struggling and out of control it can manifest in an eating disorder.
What can I do if I’m suffering from an eating disorder?
The biggest thing I can say is just get help. I know it’s hard, I know you don’t want to, I know you are embarrassed or scared, I understand all those feelings but getting help is so important. Luckily, I had parents that were super supportive, and I had good friends and family that made me go to therapy even when I didn’t want to go. I was in denial at first, just like most are. If you know you’re struggling or think you might be reach out to whoever it may be, your parents, your friends, your family, your teachers, anyone you feel like you can trust reach out and ask for help, you will not regret it.
How can I best help and support someone who has been diagnosed with an eating disorder?
Just be there for them. If they want to talk, if they don’t want to talk just helping them know that you love them and you are there to support them through it. The “pushing them to eat” stuff doesn’t really help that’s what the dietitians and therapy are for but from a family and friend perspective just be there and support and love them.
If you want to know more about Andrea Grange find her at her instagram as @the_baking_dietitian.
Eating disorders awareness with RD Andie Grange was first found at Tastermonial.