"But You Look Healthy..."

When I shared my eating disorder story with others… I was often greeted by concerned faces and the comment, “But you look healthy..” Saying that to someone who just left recovery can actually be damaging. What does healthy even look like? Even in the depths of eating disorders, people’s physical appearance doesn't always change. It's different from one person to the next. There is no standard look or body. Eating disorders can impact anyone and everyone.

When someone struggling with an eating disorder hears, “but you look healthy…” it translates as “you are fat.” Although that wasn't the intention, someone with a mental illness cannot understand that. It actually pains us to hear it. Words have a lot of power over someone with an eating disorder. You have to be intentional and careful about how you respond to someone in this time of vulnerability. A comment like that can send them into a spiral of negative thoughts and possibly even a relapse.

If someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, I would encourage you to use your words intentionally. Try to avoid conversations centered around food and body image; it's likely their mind is already focused on it. Do something fun! Go on a walk! Take a walk in the park! Don't worry about talking about their eating disorder, but be ready to listen if they open up. You don't have to have all the answers… just love them well. See them for who they are, not the eating disorder that has grasped their heart.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016


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