An eating disorder is a psychological condition that convinces those who suffer from it that they must lose weight. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. People with eating disorders might drastically limit the calories they consume. They also may over-exercise to burn off calories or engage in other “purging” behaviors.
Eating disorders cause serious physical consequences, from dental problems to damage to internal organs. They can even be fatal. They can also cause deep emotional and psychological damage.
The good news is that eating disorders can be overcome. Many of these videos can help people who have eating disorders, as well as their loved ones, by providing information and inspiration.
'5 Ways to Help Someone with an Eating Disorder'
If you love someone with an eating disorder, you probably feel frightened and helpless. Kati Morgan, a family therapist, is here to help. She emphasizes knowledge and patience. Learning as much as one can about eating disorders will help make clear how strong the grip of their condition is. She also reminds friends, family, and caregivers to take care of themselves so that they can be strong enough to care for others.
'Anorexia: A Boy in a Girl's World'
Charles is a 17-year-old boy with anorexia. This BBC news segment explores what it feels like to be a boy with a problem overwhelmingly associated with girls and women. When we meet Charles, he's been in a program for anorexia for two years. As part of his healing, Charles courageously returns to his former school to reconnect with old friends and openly discuss anorexia and his road to better health.
Carrie Hope Fletcher is no wallflower. Over half a million subscribers regularly tune into the actress-singer-songwriter's YouTube channel to view her heartfelt and lively videos. “Body Shaming” is a spirited monologue on the damage caused by insulting people because of their body shape. Fletcher cites recent body shaming of celebrities like Kim Kardashian, as well as her own experiences with being told she's too big, and the effect those comments had on her.
'Champion: Uphill battle'
This video from the NCAA covers long distance runner Megan O'Grady's struggle to beat her eating disorder. As a college freshman in competitive sports, Megan obsessed about her body image. But just before the next cross-country season, Megan decided put her health first and dropped out to seek help. Megan's recovery and winning at track championships show that determination can lead to regaining health.
'A Day in the Life of a Bulimic'
Shanny began suffering from eating disorders at the age of 5. She's in recovery now, but has shot a startling and realistic video to show what a day in her life used to be like. Watch Shanny go through her multiple daily binge and purge cycles, and experience secrecy and self-hatred.
This inspiring short film marks the first steps to recovery from anorexia. It describes the struggles of coming to terms with anorexia through a letter written by a young woman to her disease. She describes how physically and mentally tiring it is to live with anorexia, and while reading, realizes that anorexia doesn't have to be what defines her self-image. Completing and mailing her letter, she comes to accept herself.
'Dying to be thin'
This TEDx Talk, Su-Mei Thompson explores the media's influence on how we value thinness. She argues that images of perfect models and dieting advertisements have led to a rise in eating disorders. Thompson, who leads the nonprofit Women's Foundation, argues for focusing on young women's achievements instead of looks. The video shows how eating disorders are a large-scale social problem and points to how people can address it.
'Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified'
Eating disorders are learned through every day experiences. The main character in this video begins to believe hateful things said at school. As a result, he diets and exercises to compensate for his low self-esteem. To change this, society needs to teach people to have a positive self-image.
'Eating Disorders: Jo's Story'
Jo Thompson's anorexia caused such distorted thinking that she would hold her nose while walking past a fast food restaurant because she thought she might gain weight from food fumes. A series of hospitalizations both frightened her and helped her get well. This brave young woman is now a healthy mother of two who wants to help others.
'I (Don't) Have A Problem With Food: My Anorexia Story'
Gemma Edith describes her journey with anorexia and her recovery. In 2012, the dance teacher began to quickly lose weight as she obsessed over personal fitness. Starvation, self-isolation, and constant exercise led to dramatic weight loss. Finally, she sought help for her disease. She now sets an inspirational example of healthy relationships to food through her cooking blog.
'Kitty on Body Dysmorphia, Anorexia, Bulimia & Recovery'
When she entered college at 16, pressure and feelings of self-consciousness led Kitty to focus on perfection. This mindset ultimately led her to develop eating disorders anorexia, bulimia, and body dysmorphia. However, Kitty found the courage to get treatment with support from her music fans. Kitty's story sends the message that self-acceptance is possible for others as well.
'Let's Flip the Golden Rule'
In an emotional TEDx Talk, Lauren Bagwell describes her suffering as a binge eater. After being diagnosed as a college freshman, Lauren struggled to love herself again. Lauren inspires the audience to embrace self-love by sharing the Five Truths she learned on her journey to recovery.
'Life Inside an Eating Disorder'
The binge and purge cycle of eating disorders thrives on secrecy. Alexa Petropoulos uncovers the secret of her eating disorder in this insightful TEDx talk. Petropoulos movingly addresses how she began her eating disorder by indulging in strenuous exercise. She also talks about the things that brought her toward healing, such as photography, time with loved ones, and learning how to be alone.
What does a person with an eating disorder look like? In this video from the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), people from many different backgrounds – including race, nationality, and sexuality – talk about how feeling marginalized, overlooked, or discounted has negatively impacted their ability to recover from an eating disorder.
'One Word: Fat'
This video explores the simple concept of what the word “fat” means to different people. Some interviewees talk about how they feel about the word as it relates to them. “Fat on me feels like a failure,” says one young man. A woman remarks, unhappily, “That's pretty much what I've been all my life.” But other speakers fight back against the notion that “fat” should have a negative connotation.
'What If You Stopped Eating?'
How does our body digest food, and what does our body do to itself when there is no food going into it? This whiteboard video illustrates how humans experience organ failure within just a few days of not eating, providing critical insight into the dangers of eating disorders.
'What It's Like Living With An Eating Disorder'
This video provides a quietly affecting interpretation of life with an eating disorder through dance. Two dancers, male and female, play out the internal psychological drama someone with problematic eating experiences. Voiceover narration brings up possible roots of anorexia, bulimia, and other disorders, such as childhood experiences and media representations.
This video offers a motivational message for all who are living with an eating disorder. It may take every ounce of strength but in the end, it is possible to overcome an eating disorder. “You are stronger than this illness,” says Kelly Klump, a professor at Michigan State University. “Every fiber in your being is strong enough to overcome this.”