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But You Don't Look Like You Have an Eating Disorder



There is a stereotype that comes to mind when we talk about eating disorders -- the too thin anorexic or bulimic teenage girl. In reality anyone can have an eating disorder and many who struggle with eating disorders don’t fit this description, and as a result, those people do not get the help they need.

During this Talk of Iowa interview Charity Nebbe talks with Sarah Thompson.

Thompson is a coach, a consultant, and a writer focused on body liberation and positivity. Thompson had their own struggles with an eating disorder that started at age 16, and now they are using those experiences to spread a message of body positivity, speaking at the campus’ all three of Iowa’s state universities next week.

Thompson's eating disorder journey and recovery lasted many years. They struggled in isolation as no one suspected they had an eating disorder. To make matters worse the rapid weight loss caused by the eating disorder was met with positive reinforcement and praise.

“It’s hard to diagnose something a doctor congratulates you on,” says Thompson.

Today Thomspon continues to try and change the norms and the stigma of how we talk about weight, health, and our own feelings behind body image.

“Unless I'm quoting research, I don't use the words obese or overweight because this is a form of pathologizing and stigmatizing,” Thompson says. “In latin obese is derived from eating too much, so the meaning of the word itself implies that every person is the size they are because they’ve eaten too much, and this simply isn't true.”


Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Lindsey Moon is IPR's Digital Producer