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Plus-size model Tess Holliday reveals she is anorexic

Tess Holliday reveals she is anorexic: Plus-size model says she is ‘healing from an eating disorder’ after years of ‘punishing her body’

  • Tess, 35, opened up about her eating disorder on social media over the weekend in response to her growing frustration with people commenting on her weight
  • The plus-size model and a positivity activist said she is ‘not ashamed’ to say that she is ‘anorexic and in recovery’ anymore 
  • She added that she is now able to ‘care for’ for the body she ‘punished’ her entire life and is ‘finally free’ 
  • Tess explained in an Instagram post that she lost weight while healing from her eating disorder and people have been encouraging her to lose more  
  • The mother of two urged them to stop, saying it’s ‘triggering as hell’

Tess Holliday has revealed that she is ‘anorexic and in recovery’ after decades of struggling with body image and backlash over her weight. 

The 35-year-old, who found fame as a plus-size model and a positivity activist, took to social media over the weekend to open up about her eating disorder in response to her growing frustration with people commenting on her weight and health. 

‘I’m anorexic and in recovery. I’m not ashamed to say it out loud anymore,’ she tweeted. ‘I’m the result of a culture that celebrates thinness and equates that to worth, but I get to write my own narrative now. I’m finally able to care for a body that I’ve punished my entire life and I am finally free.’

Opening up: Tess Holliday, 35, has revealed she is ‘anorexic and in recovery’ 

Candid: The plus-size model said she is 'not ashamed' to say that she has an eating disorder out loud anymore

Candid: The plus-size model said she is ‘not ashamed’ to say that she has an eating disorder out loud anymore

Honest: Tess tweeted about her eating disorder on Saturday, saying she is the 'result of a culture that celebrates thinness'

Honest: Tess tweeted about her eating disorder on Saturday, saying she is the ‘result of a culture that celebrates thinness’

The body-positivity activist explained in another post shared on Instagram that she has lost weight while healing from her eating disorder and has been inundated with people encouraging her to lose more.   

‘To everyone that keeps saying “you’re looking healthy lately” or “You are losing weight, keep it up!” Stop. Don’t. Comment. On. My. Weight. Or. Perceived. Health. Keep. It. To. Yourself. Thanks,’ she wrote.  

‘I’m healing from an eating disorder and feeding my body regularly for the first time in my entire life,’ she noted. 

‘When you equate weight loss with “health” and place value and worth on someone’s size, you are basically saying that we are more valuable now because we are smaller and perpetuating diet culture… and that’s corny as hell. NOT here for it.’

Triggering: The plus-size model explained on Twitter and Instagram that she lost weight while healing from her eating disorder and people have been encouraging her to lose more

Triggering: The plus-size model explained on Twitter and Instagram that she lost weight while healing from her eating disorder and people have been encouraging her to lose more

Happy: The body-positivity activist said she is now able to 'care for' for the body she 'punished' her entire life and is 'finally free'

Happy: The body-positivity activist said she is now able to ‘care for’ for the body she ‘punished’ her entire life and is ‘finally free’

The mother of two added that people’s positive comments about her weight loss are triggering to both her and others.  

‘For folks like me that are trying to reframe our relationships with our bodies and heal, hearing comments about weight is triggering as hell,’ she said. 

‘It sets us back in our progress — and when people working on themselves see you commenting to me that way, it hurts THEM, not just me. I can take it (I shouldn’t have to, but I can) but they didn’t ask for that trauma, ok?’

Tess ended her post with a warning, saying: ‘If you can’t tell someone they look nice without making it about their size, then baby, please don’t say nuthin at all.’

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss, a fear of gaining weight, and a distorted body image, according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

People with anorexia generally restrict their calories and types of foods they eat. They may also ‘exercise compulsively, purge via vomiting and laxatives, and/or binge eat.’ 

While anorexia is typically associated with low body weight, studies have found that people with larger bodies can also have anorexia. 

Atypical anorexia nervosa was formally recognized in 2013 and is diagnosed in patients who don’t have the usual low body weight synonymous with the disorder. 

NEDA noted that larger-bodied individuals struggling with the eating disorder ‘may be less likely to be diagnosed due to cultural prejudice against fat and obesity.’ 

WHAT IS ATYPICAL ANOREXIA?

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss, a fear of gaining weight, and a distorted body image.

People with anorexia generally restrict their calories and types of foods they eat. They may also exercise compulsively, purge via vomiting and laxatives, and/or binge eat.

When people think of anorexia, they normally think of a person of extremely low weight. However, a person with atypical anorexia nervosa does not have this symptom of the disease.  

Studies have found that people with larger bodies can also have anorexia. 

In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association added atypical anorexia nervosa to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

The DSM is used worldwide and contains sets of diagnostic criteria to help clinicians diagnose mental health problems. 

Atypical anorexia has all the criteria of anorexia met, except significant weight loss. The individual’s weight is within or above the normal range.

According to the DSM-5 criteria, to be diagnosed with either atypical anorexia or tradition anorexia, they must have:

  • Persistent restriction of energy intake (in the case of anorexia, leading to significantly low body weight)
  • Either an intense fear of gaining weight or of becoming fat or persistent behaviour that interferes with weight gain (even if significantly low weight)
  • Disturbance in the way one’s body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body shape and weight on self-evaluation, or persistent lack of recognition of the seriousness of the potentially low body weight

Sometimes atypical anorexia is considered an ‘other specified feeding or eating disorder’ (OSFED).

Source: National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

HOW CAN YOU BE A NORMAL WEIGHT AND HAVE ANOREXIA? 

When people think of anorexia, they normally think of a person of extremely low weight. 

However, a person with atypical anorexia nervosa does not have this symptom of the disease.

In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association added atypical anorexia nervosa to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

The DSM is used worldwide and contains sets of diagnostic criteria to help clinicians diagnose mental health problems. 

Atypical anorexia has all the criteria of anorexia met, except significant weight loss. The individual’s weight is within or above the normal range.

According to the DSM-5 criteria, to be diagnosed with either atypical anorexia or tradition anorexia, they must have:

  • Persistent restriction of energy intake (in the case of anorexia, leading to significantly low body weight)
  • Either an intense fear of gaining weight or of becoming fat or persistent behaviour that interferes with weight gain (even if significantly low weight)
  • Disturbance in the way one’s body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body shape and weight on self-evaluation, or persistent lack of recognition of the seriousness of the potentially low body weight

Sometimes atypical anorexia is considered an ‘other specified feeding or eating disorder’ (OSFED).

Like any other eating disorder, OSFED is a very serious mental illness that is not only about the way the person treats food but about underlying thoughts and feelings, the eating disorder charity Beat states. 

Dr Andrea Garber, study lead author from University of California-San Francisco, said more research is needed to identify a weight considered healthy for those patients recovering from atypical anorexia nervosa.

She said: ‘If a patient was obese, the goal is not to have them regain all the lost weight.

‘If someone gains a bit of weight, regains menses, and is doing well socially, emotionally and cognitively, that might indicate that they are in a place of recovery.’

 

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