It’s time to change the mental health game! Adam Nugent and Kate Strong welcome Tiffany Roe to the podcast. She’s a licensed clinical mental health counselor and owner of Mindful Counseling in Provo, Utah. They talk about helping women navigate recovery, and how important it is to love yourself and make peace with your mind, your body, and your relationship with food.How can you break through the myths about mental health and feel empowered? Find out on today’s episode.
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What’s the difference between eating disorders and disordered eating? In this podcast excerpt, Tiffany Roe explains both and sounds the alarm about the danger of diet culture.
KS: Adam mentioned eating disorders and disordered eating as though they’re two different things. Will you explain the difference and describe how those are different?
TR: Yeah, for sure. So most of us know what an eating disorder is. It’s a diagnosed mental illness, right? Something like binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa. I had an eating disorder when I was younger and recovered well over 15 years ago. So, I’m out here trying to help other people do the same thing in my recovery. And in my education, what I found was there’s this whole group of people who don’t have a full-blown diagnosed eating disorder, but they really struggle with their relationship with food.
So that’s what we’re talking about when we say disordered eating. Now ready for a little controversy? Our culture that we live in—we call it diet culture—really focuses on weight loss, and getting thin praises and normalizes disordered eating. So, what most of us think is normal behavior around food is actually disordered—obsessively counting calories, weighing yourself, restricting food, fasting, bingeing—this chaos around food. We’re going to call it disordered. Even though most people relate to food that way, it is problematic. And there’s a better way. We want to have a healthy, flexible relationship with food. That’s how we would differentiate.
KS: What percentage of people would you say fall into that category of disordered eating or more?
TR: Most people have a disordered relationship with food. I don’t have a statistic because when I say the diet culture we live in, you know, it’s really hyper-focused on weight and weight loss and fitness but claims it’s about health. But really, we all know what it’s about—just be thin by any means necessary. Right?
So, when I say most people have that, it’s because the culture praises that and reinforces that, and diet after diet and rebrand after rebrand, it’s just about getting skinny. One in four dieters will go on to develop a full-blown eating disorder. What we need to recognize is that eating disorders are the second-highest killers of mental illnesses. Opiate dependence is number one. Number two is anorexia nervosa. This is why I’m blowing the horn on these topics. It’s really serious. And most of us have really messed up relationships with food because of our culture.
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