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What are Body Image and Eating Disorders, Really?

What are Body Image and Eating Disorders, Really?

Dear reader, 

Did you know that according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), approximately 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from an eating disorder, and 95% are ages 12-25 years old (2014)? 

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is another particularly prevalent disorder affecting around 0.7% to 2.4% in the general population as reported by Bjornsson, Didie, and Phillips (2010). 

Everybody knows somebody, and it's time to talk about it. 

So what are what are body image and eating disorders, really? 

That is a great question and place to start. Well, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) eating disorders are one category of disorders and  Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is in another category. BDD falls under obsessive-compulsive and related disorders. And both BDD and eating disorders are under psychiatric disorders. Click the underlined words to follow the links to the sources for more information. 

BDD is characterized as overly concerned or obsessed with body image wherein the person suffering will see flaws in their appearance which significantly affects them socially, mentally, behaviorally, and emotionally. To find out more about Body Dysmorphic Disorder, visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America for more information about the disorders specifics. 

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) defines an eating disorder as, “…  an unhealthy relationship with food and weight that interferes with many areas of a person’s life”(2014). Eating disorders actually consist of a few different disorders: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating DisorderOther Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED), and additional eating or feeding disorders. Click the links to find out specifics about these different disorders provided by the National Eating Disorder Association.

The important idea to keep in mind is that the word “disorder” may have a negative connotation, but it is a medical term, and there is no shame in discovering that you or someone you know may have one. Let me quote an amazing article and title by Brittney Moses, Struggling with Mental Health Doesn’t Make You Less of a Christian. 

Disorders do not discriminate, and those suffering are not alone. CLICK TO TWEET

These disorders affect not only the lives of those who suffer from them directly but also the lives of others indirectly.

Eating disorders affect lives, directly and indirectly, CLICK TO TWEET

Disorders can be treated, and those suffering can find hope, happiness, and a fulfilling life. The first step is to learn and become knowledgeable about these disorders.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the development of eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder. As part of this blog, I would like to showcase resources which can help to understand these disorders, what contributes to them, the signs and symptoms of them, the treatment of them, the prevention of them, and hope that comes from developing and sustaining a positive body image.

A great podcast that explains the eating disorders of Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder is Examining The Reality Of Eating Disorders by Bill AndersonMatthew Long-Middleton & Kate Baxendale with Guest Dr. Bruce Liese, professor of Family Medicine at KU Medical Center.

Also, a useful podcast on Body Dysmorphic Disorder is Overcoming Body Dysmorphic Disorder with Brian Cuban hosted by Dr. J. Renae Norton with guest Brian Cuban.

What are Body Image and Eating Disorders, Really?

I hope to aid in awareness and help eliminate these disorders because, at our core, we are all humans created in the image of God ~ Genesis 1:27, formed by God ~ Psalm 139: 13-16; loved by God ~ Romans 5:8, and are much more than a physical body Proverbs 31:30 and 1 Peter 3:3

Yours Truly, LeNae

P.S. Don't forget to subscribe to my exclusive monthly newsletter and gain access to the Members area which includes free resources! Also, let's be dear friends. Follow me on all my social media. Leave a comment below; I'd love to hear from you. 

Health Disclaimer 

All information provided on this Blog, social media, or any other material issued should not replace seeking professional help or substitute professional guidelines. I am not a health, mental, nutritional, or fitness professional. The FDA has not approved any advice or statements made on this Blog, social media, or any other material issued. Any information found on this Blog, social media, or any other material issued is not meant to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any condition. Please consult a professional before engaging in any activity suggested on this Blog, social media, or any other material issued. 


American Psychiatric Association. 2017. What Are Eating Disorders? Last reviewed by Ranna Parekh, M.D., M.P.H. January 2017. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/eating-disorders/what-are-eating-disorders

- 2017. What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? Last reviewed by Tristan Gorrindo, M.D.
Ranna Parekh, M.D., M.P.H. July 2015. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ocd/what-is-obsessive-compulsive-disorder

Bjornsson, Andri S., Elizabeth R. Didie and Katharine A. Phillips. 2010. ” Body dysmorphic disorder” Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience 12, no. 2: 221-232. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181960/pdf/DialoguesClinNeurosci-12-221.pdf

J Psychosom Res. 2015 Mar;78(3):223-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2015.01.002. Epub 2015 Jan 9.

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD). 2014. “Eating Disorder Statistics.” Accessed April 13. http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/.

National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA). 2014. “Get The Facts.” Accessed April 29, 2014.  http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/get-facts-eating-disorders.

The Professional Counselor. 2017. The Expansion and Clarification of Feeding and Eating Disorders in the DSM-5. Accessed April 1, 2017. http://tpcjournal.nbcc.org/the-expansion-and-clarification-of-feeding-and-eating-disorders-in-the-dsm-5/

Image credits IvoryMix and Graphic created on Canva

Body Image and Eating Disorder Resources

Body Image and Eating Disorder Resources