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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Chivers

Can you be diagnosed with an eating disorder when you’re overweight?

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

YES! Absolutely you can. I guess one of the problems though that people experience is that they go to the doctor and their doctor might miss the diagnosis because they're a higher weight, so the doctor doesn't actually see them as having an eating disorder because of these common stereotypes. So the problem with this is that people who have a higher weight often experience a delayed identification of their eating disorder, which then results in them getting inappropriate and inadequate treatment.

Eating disorders in people of a higher weight are actually increasing in their prevalence these days, so it will eventually become more widely recognized and less stigmatized to be overweight, or even average weight (according to BMI), with an eating disorder. I was always an average weight, and I definitely had an eating disorder, and that eating disorder was still serious and life-threatening. So, regardless of your weight, if you have an eating disorder, the risks are the same, and there are still a lot of negative consequences.

One other interesting thing to note is that a lot of people have an eating disorder but they don't realize they have an eating disorder, e.g. some people that frequently go to different types of weight loss treatment. So if that's you, and you think that you do have some kind of disordered eating pattern that you might need to address, then go and seek support now!

Remember also that your diagnosis isn't everything, there are a lot therapies that you can get where you don't need a diagnosis to get treatment, and these treatments are very, very effective. A diagnosis is just a label - what's more important is how you feel, and how the problem is impacting your life - and then, what you plan to do about it - diagnosis or no diagnosis. Everyone is deserving of equitable, safe, and accessible levels of care and levels of treatment, regardless of their diagnosis.

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