If you are looking for effective eating disorder treatment, or are wondering IF you really need eating disorder treatment at all, chances are …
Hi everybody, Shan Larter here.
Thanks for joining me on my video today about
the truth behind eating disorder labels. If
you were to walk down the street and randomly
pick someone, anyone, and ask them “What
is an eating disorder” they would for sure
have an answer for you.
And that is because no matter whether it is
anorexia, bulimia, emotional eating… you
name the ‘label’ and we all have a socially
held belief or understanding about what a
person who has an eating disorder, or specifically
THAT eating disorder would: look like, behave
like, how they would think, and maybe even
what they need to do to stop.
So are those socially held beliefs correct?
Is that mental image that we hold of an eating
disorder… real? Do YOU have one, which one
is it, and how does that information help
Okay, so the first one we are going to look
at is Anorexia.
The first thing that a doctor is looking for
is are you at least 15% below the normal body
weight for your age and height? Do you have
an intense fear of gaining weight and becoming
fat (even though you are underweight)? Are
you needing to gain control? Are you feeling
out of control and looking for a way to make
up for this lack of LIFE control by exacting
control over your food? Do you have negative
body image issues? Obsession over judging
how your body looks? And are you in denial
over the dangers of your low body weight?
And finally have you been without a period,
so no menstruation, for at least 3 continuous
Physical symptoms of Anorexia include starvation,
dehydration, muscle deterioration, osteoporosis,
irregular heartbeat, slow heartbeat and heart
failure. Behavioral signs and symptoms include
going to extreme lengths to avoid eating,
lying about having eaten, making excuses to
avoid family gatherings or social functions
involving food, being withdrawn and isolated,
attempting to cover up your weight loss, and
having erratic behavior and extreme mood swings.
Okay so now that we have taken a look at the
diagnosis criteria for Anorexia, lets take
a look at another well known eating disorder,
A diagnosis of Bulimia from a medical professional
usually involves the following. They are looking
for recurring episodes of binge eating, and
by binge eating they mean within any two-hour
period or less, you have eaten an amount of
food larger than most people would eat during
a similar period under similar circumstances.
You would sense a lack of control over eating.
You can’t stop how much you are eating,
you can’t control THAT you’re eating,
and of course the telltale of bulimia would
be the recurring purging. That can be through
vomiting, laxatives, diuretics, enemas, fasting
or excessive exercise. Binge eating would
need to occur at least two times per week
for a minimum of three consecutive months
before you would be diagnosed with Bulimia.
Physical symptoms of Bulimia include tooth
decay, dehydration, stomach ulcers, esophagus
ruptures and inflammation, irregular or slow
heartbeat, and heart failure. The behavioral
signs and symptoms include frequent bathroom
trips (especially after eating), avoiding
eating because of the fear of weight gain
and also to avoid having to purge after eating.
Extreme weight fluctuations, erratic behavior,
mood swings. And a caveat to this is that
MOST Bulimics are NOT underweight, so the
disorder CAN go unnoticed for much longer
than anorexia. So there you have the clinical
diagnosis for Bulimia.
So maybe you’re thinking to yourself “Oh
Anorexia sounds more like what I do than Bulimia”
or the opposite, maybe you’re really thinking
that Bulimia sounds more like your label,
but hang on a second there are more to come.
So lets get to the next eating disorder label:
Binge Eating.
In order to be diagnosed with Binge Eating
Disorder you would have a lack of control
and consumption of abnormally large amounts
of food, and you would need to do at least
three of the following: eating rapidly, eating
until you are uncomfortably full, eating large
amounts when you are not hungry, eating alone
out of embarrassment, feeling disgusted, depressed
or guilty after eating. Then along with that
you would feel distress about your binge eating,
you would binge at least two times per week
for a minimum of six months in order to be
diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder. And
again binge eaters do not purge or restrict
to make up for their binging.
The behavioral signs and symptoms for binge
eating disorder are feelings of guilt, disgust
and depression follows a binge, and also like
Bulimics, Binge Disorder Eaters continue to
eat way past the feelings of being full.
So now lets contrast Binge Eating Disorder
with Compulsive Eating Disorder.
Compulsive Overeating Disorder is when a person
eats large amounts of food but instead of
eating it all in one sitting, Compulsive Eaters
usually have all day grazing rituals and continue
to eat and eat even when they are not hungry.
Eating usually is accompanied by joy and relief
as it helps to fill a void inside of them.
They usually obsess about food constantly,
planning their day around what, when and where
they are going to eat.
Binge Eaters and Compulsive Overeaters DO
SHARE identical physical signs and symptoms
of weight gain (often leading to obesity),
high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney
failure, osteoarthritis, diabetes, stroke,
complications during pregnancy, gallbladder
disease, irregular menstrual cycles and skin
The behavioral signs and symptoms are also
the same and include eating in secret, eating
alone, often at night, and many hoard their
food in their bedrooms or other hidden places
throughout the house.
Confused? So am I and I have researched this
to death. It seems like so many of the behavioral
symptoms and diagnosis criteria overlap each
other, there is way more grey area than there
is black and white, and the medical community
has now created a ‘catch all’ to preserve
their credibility with a new diagnosis: Eating
Disorders Not Otherwise Specified.
Ahhh, Phew! As if you weren’t confused enough
already. Let’s look at Eating Disorders
Not Otherwise Specified (or EDNOS as they
are known in the eating disorder community)
and see if maybe THAT speaks to you.
If you have EDNOS that means that you probably
have negative body image issues. You fast
regularly and are losing weight but still
have your period. You are purging after meals
but not as frequently. You are binging on
food but again not AS frequently. And of course
you falsely believe that you are fat. The
medical community contends that this is simply
a pre-diagnosis, the stage before things get
completely out of hand and you become an official
Anorexic, Bulimic, Binge Eater or Emotional
Okay Phew! Now you have all the specifics
you need. All the information that the medical
community uses to tell you which eating disorder
you have and that is REALLY HELPFUL in order
to find freedom from your eating disorder…
“Right! So I’m Anorexic then… or hmmmm
wait a minute… I still have my period.”
‘Oh okay so then I’m Bulimic right?! Or
wait, do my binges last less than two hours
or more than two hours? And how long have
I been doing this for exactly? I don’t remember…”
“Well I am purging a lot but I’m not really
binging on food, I’m sort of purging ANY
food so what was that disorder again?”
“I’m so confused, I don’t seem to fit
any eating disorder criteria. Maybe I don’t
have an eating disorder! Maybe I’m just
on a long-term diet right? I mean everyone’s
on a diet. I mean for Pete sake, being on
a diet is normal!”
“Oh! It seems like THOSE symptoms are pretty
serious. I don’t have any of those symptoms
yet so I must be okay to deal with this on
my own. Phew! Good thing I don’t need any
“What if I go in to get treatment and they
laugh at me. What if I don’t ‘pass the
test’ of having an eating disorder. Then
what? I know, I’ll ramp up my binging and
purging to make sure that when I get there
I look sick enough, my story is bad enough,
and I make the cut to get treatment. Then
I’ll be able to get some help, then someone
will take me seriously, then someone will
care enough to help me.”
“Actually my eating disorder is different
than all those other girls. I mean I choose
to binge and purge. I could stop anytime I
“I don’t need eating disorder treatment
because I’m in control of what I’m doing.”
“The girls with these labels are way worse
than I am. I mean I’m different. My eating
disorder is…”
Any of THAT sounding familiar?
And even if you do manage to be that perfectly
round peg in a round hole and match a diagnosis
criteria for one of these specific eating
disorders perfectly, NOW what? SO WHAT!
Where is the power in that? Where are the
answers in a label? Who wants to be a label
anyway? NOT me.
I didn’t need anyone ELSE to help me focus
on all the things that were wrong, bad and
disordered in my life. I didn’t WANT to
be fixed. And I didn’t NEED to be fixed.
The real me was great. The real me just got
covered up, it got poured over, by all the
crap that got piled on top of me. THAT is
the problem! Not me and not you. I needed
to find ME. All this toxic crap, it wasn’t
I resented the label, I didn’t want to be
labeled, and finally I just had to say ‘Enough
is enough. Don’t label me.’
This eating disorder was NOT part of my DNA
and it’s NOT part of yours. So stop trying
to look for a label. Stop trying to fix yourself.
You are not broken. You have been covered
over. I say screw that! It is time to be YOU
again. Label-free.
Say it! Don’t label me. Don’t label me.
Come on, who cares, say it out loud, do it
with me. Don’t label me. Don’t label me.
I am not a label.
Okay so now lets do something to find YOU.
Yes YOU! That crazy, funny, exciting, sexy,
powerful, creative, amazing person that you
actually are. YOU. My friend. My soul mate.
YOU . I want to know you. The world wants
to know you. The world needs you!
Make sure you visit my blog at www.shanlarter.com
and post your comment below this video. I
answer every comment personally that is made
on my blog, and I want to hear from you. And
say it out loud ‘Don’t label me!’
Now let’s show the world who you really

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