Why It's So Important to Talk About Eating Disorders Past and Present: "It Can Save a Life"

Why It's So Important to Talk About Eating Disorders Past and Present: "It Can Save a Life"

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Kyle Richards opens up about her own struggle.

By Marianne Garvey

Lisa Rinna’s daughter Amelia Gray Hamlin opened up about her battle with anorexia in the hopes that she may help others. Following an all-too-real episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the teen explained to fans on Instagram Stories that she was not in a good place during an uncomfortable dinner scene with her family.

"During that time, one year ago — I was not in a good place at all," she wrote. "I may have looked like I was recovered, but I was definitely not. Within the scene you will see me lashing out due to my fear of food. The person displayed in tonight's episode is not the person I am. It was the person anorexia made me. I hope you guys can take this and relate to it."

She continued, "I'm sure I'm going to get thousands of horrible comments in regards to how rude I was to my father. I just wanted everyone to know why I acted out the way that I did. I was a vegetarian because I was AFRAID of eating meat. If you watch it you'll understand. I'm just hoping this experience will make me stronger and appreciate how amazing it truly feels to be 100% RECOVERED and HAPPY!!!!!"

Amelia also shared some raw photos from when she was struggling. "Sadly I feel the need to remind people what anorexia looks like. And there is not just one type," she said.

Hearing about Amelia’s struggle allowed Kyle Richards to open up about her own eating disorder. She revealed to the ladies that when she was 17 she weighed just 99 pounds and was in a bad place.

“I never talked about my eating disorder, I’m not saying this is the right choice, but I have four daughters, I just was so terrified that they would ever have one, I didn’t even want them to have that in their head,” Kyle explained on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills After Show. “But sitting in that moment with Lisa Rinna talking about Amelia, they were talking about all these things that I knew and experienced… It felt like the right thing to do. I’m always gonna be a person who’s, I’m very structured with my eating… I’m fine now, but yeah.”

“Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate out of all mental illness, which is why it is so important that women (or men) who have had an eating disorder in the past share their stories if they are ready,” Nicole Avena, PhD. and assistant professor of neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, told Personal Space.

“It helps others who are struggling to know that they can get better, get help, and get connected to the resources that they need to start their recovery. It is also important for the individual who has a history of an eating disorder to be open about it with their family and friends. There is no shame in it, and since there are genetic factors associated with some eating disorders, it can save a life,” Dr. Avena, who authored Why Diets Fail, added.

As for assuming that someone has an eating disorder, be careful, she says.

“Just because someone is thin, or has lost a lot of weight recently, doesn’t mean that they have an eating disorder,” Dr. Avena said. “There are lots of medical conditions that can lead to weight loss, and it is important to remember that not all individuals who have an eating disorder are underweight (many are actually normal weight or overweight).”

She said the best way to approach any concerns you may have if you think someone may have an eating disorder is “to let them know that you are there for them and concerned about their health and want to help them.”

“Telling someone that they don’t need to be on a diet or that they look great isn’t going to help, in most cases, and it might even make things worse," she explained.

If you are suffering or know of someone who is suffering from an eating disorder, help is available at the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline: 1-800-931-2237.

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