Most of us have heard of the widely-known eating disorders: anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
While anorexia is about restricting food, bulimia is about binging and purging.
Both are damaging, serious and difficult to live with, but they don’t encapsulate the full spectrum of eating disorders out there.
Jennifer Rollin, eating disorder therapist and the founder of The Eating Disorder Center in Rockville, Maryland is spreading awareness about the eating disorders we often don’t hear about.
Other eating disorders like orthorexia, body dysmorphic disorder, binge eating disorder, selective food eating disorder, OSFED and ARFID go vastly underreported in the media, and it’s not by accident.
Rollin, who works with clients in her clinical practice has noticed that because the thin ideal is so pervasive in our society, the media has glorified and glamorized eating disorders at times.
“There’s this fascination with showing images of people at their lowest weights,” says Rollun.
Because of this, anorexia has received the most publicity. On the other hand, eating disorders that don’t lead to significant weight loss have for the most part have gone under the radar.
Outside of her clinical practice, Jennifer Rollin has taken to her Instagram account where she shares information about overcoming eating disorders.
Not only does she share about the lesser-known eating disorders, but she also shares posts about body positivity. She wants people to begin to cultivate healthier attitudes about food and their bodies.
Instagram is a useful platform for Rollin to reach new audiences, and it’s an important one as well. A lot of misinformation and unhealthy messaging is delivered through social platforms regularly, and she is helping break through the noise.
“We need to have more positive messaging around eating and food,” says Rollin.
It was only last year when CNN reported on Instagram accounts that were promoting extreme dieting.
Instagram has rules that prohibit accounts from promoting extreme dieting, but they often fall through the cracks.
Pages called “I have to be thin” , “Eternally starved” and “I want to be perfect” all appeared on Instagram’s algorithm, promoted to teens.
This goes to show that not only does Instagram sometimes fail to crack down on these accounts, but that their algorithm actively promotes them to young people who are susceptible to that form of messaging.
At the time a spokesperson for Instagram said, “”We do not allow content that promotes or encourages eating disorders and we removed the accounts shared with us for breaking these rules.”
Despite their efforts however, young people are still targeted by this form of negative messaging every day.
Jennifer Rollin says that there needs to be more content out there that targets young people with healthier messaging and helps them cultivate more positive relationships with food.
It’s also important to note that eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes, and somebody can have an eating disorder no matter how they look.
“A lot of people assume that men don’t have eating disorders
Jennifer Rollin challenges us to think about the wider implications of eating disorders and the people they affect.
“I think we can start to focus on expanding and acknowledging other aspects of ourselves outside of our bodies and recognize that ultimately our body is the vehicle that enables us to move through the world.”
For more information about Jennifer Rollin, you can visit The Eating Disorder Center’s official website.