Obesity and Eating Disorders: How Are They Linked?

Jan 02, 2024
Obesity and Eating Disorders: How Are They Linked?
Weight gain and eating disorders are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the pressures involved with being overweight can lead you down the dark path of disordered eating. Understanding this link can help you start to heal

Society today often takes a cold approach to those who are overweight. It seems to regard people in this group as having low self-control and an inability to simply lose the weight. 

In many cases, this attitude is focused more on conventional attractiveness than health. But what is the truth behind obesity, and for some, can it really be linked to disordered eating? 

At Black Onyx, we offer a number of treatment options for both physical and mental health problems, including weight management. Our psychology-first approach to weight loss is bound to offer you more insight into the reasons for weight gain and how best to manage it in a way that is holistic and healthy.   

Our providers — Peter Pham, PMHNP-BC, and Diana Bush, PMHNP-BC — want to help you manage your weight safely and effectively. And one of the best ways to do this is to recognize any underlying factors associated with your weight, including a possible eating disorder.  

The link between obesity and eating disorders

Eating disorders and obesity are often comorbid, meaning they occur with and intensify the effects of one another. 

What’s more, those who do have comorbid eating disorders and are overweight are also more at risk for developing other issues — such as depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  

But how do obesity and eating disorders become linked in the first place? 

For many, an eating disorder develops as the result of being overweight. Society has a harsh message for those who are overweight: Lose the weight at any cost. This can start a pattern of disordered eating that can be very hard to break. 

But eating disorders can be associated with weight in other ways. Many people develop eating disorders at a young age. Sometimes, this can be a response to a life that is changing — or even a body that is changing — too rapidly for the individual. 

Restricting or binging on food is often a way for the adolescent experiencing these issues to feel more in control. 

The common misconception is that all people with eating disorders are thin, and although this can be true of some individuals, obesity can often play a role in the development of an eating disorder. 

How to deal with an eating disorder 

One of the first things you can do is talk to a friend or family member. If you have someone who’s close to you and will provide a non-judgmental ear, it may be time to open up and get the kind of support you need. 

On the other side, if someone in your life is dealing with an eating disorder, the last thing you want to do is shame them. Weight loss is very difficult, and humiliation is never an effective tool to help someone determine what is best for their health. Avoid being simplistic, show that you care, and always offer your love and support.

How we can help you better manage your situation

If you feel that your eating disorder and obesity are too much to handle alone, you don’t have to worry. At Black Onyx, we offer help that involves managing all your mental and physical health care needs as part of one treatment plan. 

Our weight management program utilizes nutritional counseling, meal planning, medication, and more to help you lose weight safely and effectively. But the program also involves therapy that targets your eating disorder and any underlying issues that may be contributing to or stemming from your weight gain. 

You are not alone 

Navigating an illness like an eating disorder can feel very lonely. And for those who also carry excess weight, the stigma and misunderstanding around these conditions can make it even harder. But you aren’t alone. 

To learn more about our treatment programs, call today or visit us online to make an appointment. We have offices in Los Angeles, South San Francisco, Orange, and San Diego, California, where you can get the help you need to start healing.