Monday, April 22, 2013

If there's one thing I know...

... It's eating disorders.

But I'm not one for "I told ya so"s so I just kept to myself.

When I started grad school about a year and half ago, one of the first classes I took was Biochemistry. It was blatantly obvious to me by her mannerisms (and the fact that she has a PhD in "food" studies) that our professor has an eating disorder.
After taking the final for that class (over a year ago) I was out for a drink with some classmates and the professor came up in conversation. I mentioned in passing that I was certain she had an eating disorder.
Every one disagreed.
No way
Yeah right, she's so smart and she is an expert in nutrition.
Her hair isn't falling out.

I explained that I didn't say it to be catty or a gossip and it made little difference to me if any one believed me. But I know eating disorders. I could tell by her personality, her perfectionist attitude, subtly (to the untrained eye) fluctuating weight, and I explained that it's very common for people with eating disorders to go into a profession that pertains to food. Might as well get paid for your obsession.

Well, a year later and we had the same professor for Nutrition. At the end of the class, we did a short topic on eating disorders, at which point, professor came clean that she "used to" have an eating disorder.

People were shocked.

Not me. I didn't even bother to glance in the direction of the classmates who didn't believe me. It didn't matter. I didn't feel any more validated than when I had made the statement a year prior. I know eating disorders and I can spot them from a mile away. I felt equally as certain about it the day I mentioned it as I did the day she decided to talk about it.


  1. I feel like I can tell by little things too and sometimes I wonder if I'm just seeing things. I know a girl in my Spanish class this semester does. Has too. The way she takes one piece of whatever is stuffed in her purse at a time, zero calorie drinks, says no to class snacks, even her hands and mannerisms. I don't know. It's weird. My boyfriend always told me that he just knows when other people are addicts, even when they look completely clean. He said it was in the eyes. Sometimes I think it's that way for people with EDs too.

  2. It's interesting that we can spot that. I definitely can as well. It's like gaydar but for eating disorders.... "ed-dar"? That's interesting that your classmates didn't believe you. When it comes out that someone used to have an eating disorder I don't feel particularly validated either. Because, like you said, you already knew it.