Did Emma Chamberlain have an eating disorder? (3 ways acceptance helps in treatment)

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In this blog post, we shall answer the question “did Emma Chamberlain have an eating disorder?” and look at the various eating disorders and their symptoms, causes of eating disorders, and the influence of social media in the development of eating disorders as well as treatment options available.

Did Emma Chamberlain have an eating disorder?

Yes, Emma Chamberlain had an eating disorder. Though she was not clear on which eating disorder she was suffering from, she confessed to having struggled with an eating disorder and also confessed to having body dysmorphia.

In an interview with ‘Cosmopolitan’, she says “I’ve been fully not at a healthy weight and I thought I was obese multiple times. It’s awful…My whole family was telling me I looked terrible. They were like, ‘You look like you’re dying.’ I was like, ‘I think I look great.’” She also refused to talk about it, endorse or have brand deals with companies that promote weight loss i.e., teas, gums, etc. “Like, your grind is your grind, and I’m not going to get in the way of that. I just think that growing up on social media gave me eating issues as a kid…I literally have struggled with that my whole life. Almost every person I’ve met has had some form of an eating disorder. I mean, I’ve had…I don’t want to trigger anyone, but so many.” 

Before looking at the causes of Emma’s eating disorder and how she dealt with it, let us look at who Emma Chamberlain is.

Who is Emma Chamberlain?

Emma Frances Chamberlain is a 22-year-old American internet personality, especially on YouTube. In 2018, she won the Streamy Award for Breakout Creator. In 2019, she was included in the list of ‘the 25 most influential people on the internet’ and on the ‘Time next 100 list’ of Times magazine.

She launched her first weekly podcast series ‘anything goes’ which was formerly known as ‘stupid genius’ and for this, at the 12th Shorty Awards, she won the award for best podcast and has also been an ambassador of Louis Vuitton since 2019. 

Apart from the fame and accolades that she has received, Emma also confessed to struggling with eating disorders and body dysmorphia since childhood. She attributes these issues, to growing up on social media which has a lot of scrutiny on how people view you and your body. Before discussing the effects of social media on the development of eating disorders, let us define what eating disorders are, and the types.

What are eating disorders?

Eating disorders are mental illnesses characterized by abnormal eating habits, and complex and damaging relationships between food, exercise and body image that impairs physical and mental health.

Eating disorders are also known to cause death. According to the Eating Disorder Coalition, about one person dies every hour because of an eating disorder.

There are many eating disorders but the main ones are;

  • Pica
  • Rumination
  • Binge eating disorder
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder

Signs and symptoms of eating disorder that Emma Chamberlain presented with

Many people have been watching Emma’s YouTube videos ever since she was young.in those videos, there are some observations that could point out some signs and symptoms of eating disorders that Emma Chamberlain was presenting with. They include;

  • She works out even when she doesn’t want to
  • She is obsessed with cooking shows
  • She is constantly cooking at all times but rarely eats what she’s making (eats just a small portion)
  • She spends time walking aimlessly around New York for hours so that she reaches a target of 20k steps
  • She has a Lookbook that has photos of her being skinny
  • Takes coffee frequently (probably to decrease appetite)
  • She takes two meals a day (contain vegetables and eggs)
  • Frequently has stomach problems
  • Goes to the supermarket but doesn’t buy food

These observations could be telltale signs and symptoms of eating disorders and especially anorexia nervosa.

What are the causes of eating disorders that Emma presented with

There are no definite causes of eating disorders but there are factors that can lead to the development of eating disorders. Emma Chamberlain disclosed that growing up on social media sparked her eating disorder. It also gave her body image issues that worsened her eating disorder. Other common factors that lead to the development of eating disorders include;

  • Genetic factors. If an immediate member of a family has an eating disorder, chances are that others are predisposed to suffering from the same or another type of eating disorder.
  • Psychological factors. Factors such as demanding personality types that seek perfection can trigger eating disorders later in life. Factors such as low self-esteem, depression, and self-respect can also cause eating disorders.
  • Social factors. Social factors such as poor relationships, bullying, societal demands and views on body image, size, weight and shape are often attributed as one of the major causes of eating disorders.

Influence of social media on eating disorders

Media is a very powerful tool since it is able to reach and unite people across all countries. The media has both positive and negative influences on our lives. We will discuss both in relation to eating disorders.

Negative influence

Emma said that growing up on social media triggered her eating disorder and body dysmorphia. Being famous made her hyper-aware of her body and ‘flaws’. She talked about the all-night video editing to make her perfect and how it affected how she viewed herself. 

“I’ve been fully not at a healthy weight and I thought I was obese multiple times. It’s awful…my whole family was telling me I looked terrible. They were like, ‘You look like you’re dying.’ I was like, ‘I think I look great.” Emma also mentions that living in LA gives people pressure on how their bodies should look like. She calls it a ‘bloodbath’.

Unrealistic beauty standards have made it possible for people to edit pictures of themselves so that others can deem them perfect. There are also pages that share images and messages that promote eating disorders.

Positive influence

In the quest to promote awareness about eating disorders, social media now has content promoting body acceptance and encouraging people to be themselves. Emma is one of those advocates and always reminds people in her interviews to accept themselves the way they are. Emma went a step ahead and refused to work with brands that promoted slimming products.

Healthy messages promote a healthy relationship with food and its “imperfections.” There are many support hashtags for people with eating disorders and online communities that give them a safe space to discuss what they are going through and offer encouragement. The media has also allowed people to access free mental health care for those suffering.

Just like Emma, many celebrities with huge followings are encouraged to use their pages, websites and vlogs to continue spreading awareness about eating disorders. If you have a loved one with an eating disorder, approach them and support them from a non-judgmental point of view. We all have a role to play in doing away with the stigma of those suffering from eating disorders.

We will now look at the importance of self-acceptance for those struggling with eating disorders.

How self-acceptance helps in the treatment of eating disorders

Emma Chamberlain never denied her struggle with eating disorders and body dysmorphia, in fact, she refused to use editing software on her pictures and videos. “I refuse to do that because nobody needs to think I look like that…I look the way I look.”

While most celebrities use curated content to their fans and give a wrong impression of how they look, Emma refused to go down that road. She even refused to work with brands that promote slimming products. 

Self-acceptance of how we look not only helps us to avoid developing eating disorders or body dysmorphia, but it is also the first step in recovery for those struggling with the illnesses. It avoids

  • Low self-esteem worsens or makes people maintain an eating disorder. They become so preoccupied with how they look, that they don’t focus on anything else. Developing high self-esteem on how your body looks will help you get comfortable in your own skin and you can make rational decisions on how to improve your physical health.
  • Difficulties coping with negative thoughts and emotions also contribute to the maintenance of eating disorders. Emma was not worried about what people would say about her body. In fact, she affirmed that she looked beautiful when her family and followers mentioned that she was obese.
  • Perfectionism. Setting unrealistic expectations of how you look worsens eating disorders. You get preoccupied with trying to maintain these unrealistic standards that you have set for yourself. Emma decided to break free from this by refusing to use filters and editing that would make her look perfect.

There are many risk factors that contribute to the worsening of eating disorder symptoms.  As you look for a professional to help you in your journey of recovery, remember sometimes the solutions are with us and self-acceptance is just one step towards recovery.

Conclusion

We have discussed Emma Chamberlain, her struggle with eating disorders, the types of eating disorders and their symptoms. We have also looked at the dangers of social media in the development of eating disorders. Finally, we have looked at the three main points self-acceptance helps in the treatment of eating disorders.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comment section below.

Frequently asked questions; Emma Chamberlain eating disorder

What does Emma Chamberlain suffer from?

Emma chamberlain opened up about suffering from anxiety since pre-school and she was getting separation anxiety from her parents and inanimate objects.

What is it called when you are too skinny?

Someone who is dangerously skinny and skeletal looking is said to be emaciated

What weight is too skinny?

Women with a BMI of 18.5 are considered to be underweight. The average height of a woman is 5 feet and four inches and a healthy weight is considered to be 108 to 145 pounds

Does anorexia damage the brain?

Anorexia and bulimia are believed to reduce the white and grey matter in the brain. The type and duration of an eating disorder affect the brain in different weighs. A full treatment of an eating disorder helps in the regrowth of the brain structure.

Citations

Bernadini G. (February 10, 2021). Emma Chamberlain Opens up About Her Struggles With an Eating Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.distractify.com/p/emma-chamberlain-eating-disorder

PsychReel,(March 24, 2022) Does Emma Chamberlain Have An Eating Disorder? Retrieved from https://psychreel.com/does-emma-chamberlain-have-an-eating-disorder/

NEDA, feeding hope. What are eating disorders? Retrieved from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/what-are-eating-disorders

The recovery village, (May 9, 2022). Social media and eating disorders. Retrieved from https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/social-media-and-eating-disorders/

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