Did Meghan Trainor have an eating disorder? (+3 types of stigma)
In this page, we shall answer the question, “did Meghan Trainor have an eating disorder?” and look at who Meghan Trainor was and what she said about eating disorders. We shall also look at what eating disorders are, their types and symptoms. Finally, we shall look at the stigma people with eating disorders face and how we can prevent eating disorders.
Did Meghan Trainor have an eating disorder?
No, Meghan Trainor did not have an eating disorder. She, however, mentioned in an interview with Entertainment Tonight that she wasn’t strong enough to have an eating disorder. She said, “I wasn’t strong enough to have an eating disorder… I tried to go anorexic for a good three hours. I ate ice and celery, but that’s not even anorexic. And I quit. I was like, ‘Ma, can you make me a sandwich? Like, immediately.”
She got a lot of backlash for the comment, even from her fellow singer and songwriter, Demi Lovato, who also is very vocal about her struggles with body issues. Before we discuss Meghan’s comment, let us first look at who she is.
Who is Meghan Trainor?
Meghan Elizabeth Trainor is an American singer, songwriter and television personality that rose to fame after her debut song, All About That Bass, that sold 11 million copies worldwide. She signed with Epic Records in 2014. She has released four studio albums and has received the 2016 Grammy award for best new artist.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, she revealed that she grew up being a “chubby girl” in school and even got rejected by her crush because of her weight. When asked of whether she had an eating disorder, she dismissed the idea.
The way she dismissed the idea of having an eating disorder did not sit well with some people. Her statement implying that to have an eating disorder required strength caused outrange especially among people who have struggled with eating disorders and body issues.
Demi Lovato took to her Twitter account and said, “Having an eating disorder doesn’t show “strength.” Strength is when are able to overcome your demons after being sick and tired for so long. There’s a wide misconception that anorexia and/or bulimia is a choice and you often hear people say things like, ” Why doesn’t she just start eating?’ Or even ‘just stop throwing up.’ It’s the ignorance and lack of education on mental illnesses that continue to put mental health care on the back burner to congress even though this is an epidemic that is sweeping our nation, and causing more and more tragedy every day.”
Before we look at how Meghan’s comment implied stigmatization of eating disorders, let us look at what eating disorders are and their types.
Types of eating disorders
According to the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders fifth edition (DSM-5), there are six types of eating disorders. Obesity is no longer included as an eating disorder since it results from long-term excess energy intake relative to energy expenditure.
A range of genetics, physiological, behavioural, and environmental factors that vary across individuals contribute to the development of obesity; thus, obesity is not a mental disorder. (Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders fifth edition 2013).
The six eating disorders are;
Pica is a feeding and eating disorder characterized by eating non-nutritive non-food substances such as ice, clay, soil, paper and stones. Can be caused by nutrition deficiencies, pregnancy, stress and cultural factors.
Rumination is an eating disorder characterized by spitting up digested or partially digested food from the stomach, re-chewing the food and either re-swallowing or spitting it out. It tends to occur within 30 minutes of every meal. The causes of rumination remain unknown.
Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder
Formally referred to as selective eating disorder, is an eating disorder characterized by intense restriction or selection of food consumed. Unlike anorexia nervosa, people with this eating disorder are not interested in their body image, shape or size.
Is a severe eating disorder characterized by abnormal body weight, distorted body image, and unwarranted fear of gaining weight. In order to prevent weight gain, anorexic people try to control their body weight by vomiting food, using laxatives, diet aids, and excessive exercise.
Common symptoms include extreme low body weight, dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, dry skin, hair that easily falls off, preoccupation with food, skipping meals, refusing to eat, denying hunger, complaints of being overweight, measuring weight often and lying about the quantity of food taken.
Causes include; biological factors such as genes, psychological factors such as temperaments and environmental factors such as societal demands.
Usually begins during the teenage and early adulthood years. It is more common in women than in men.
Anorexia is the most deadly mental illness. One study found that people with anorexia are 56 times more likely to commit suicide than people without an eating disorder. (Eating Disorders Coalition, 2016).
Is a mental disorder characterized by binge eating (consuming large quantities of food over a short period of time) followed by calorie reducing strategies such as purging (induced vomiting), fasting or exercising excessively.
Bulimia is a severe, life-threatening eating disorder. Symptoms include; binge eating, vomiting, self-harm, fatigue, dehydration, avoiding food, irregular and absence of menstruation, constipation, heartburn and guilt.
Causes include genetic factors, psychological factors such as personality, dieting and societal pressure.
Binge eating disorder
Binge eating is an eating disorder characterized by consuming large amounts of food over a short period of time, and feelings of being unable to stop eating even when full. It is the most common eating disorder with a prevalence of 5.5%.
Symptoms include; eating large amounts of food over a short period of time, eating even when not hungry, feeling that your eating behaviour is out of control, eating until you are uncomfortably full, eating in secret, eating alone and feelings of depression and guilt.
Unlike people with bulimia, binge eaters are not concerned with weight reduction through vomiting, using laxatives or excessive exercise and can thus suffer from other physical conditions such as obesity.
It is more common in women than in men and usually begins during early adulthood. Causes include dieting and psychological issues such as depression and low self-esteem.
The stigma around eating disorders
Meghan’s comment came out as stigmatization of people with eating disorders. It implied that those with the disorder have it by choice and they can stop by just eating or stop to throw up. It is also a common fallacy that eating disorders only affect women and youth and that it does not have life-threatening consequences.
Stigma happens everywhere, including in workplaces, at school, at home, in social gatherings and in public. This makes people suffering from eating disorders not speak out or seek help and isolate themselves from other people. This affects their physical and mental health and may lead to suicide.
Research has shown that people with eating disorders receive more criticism than those with other mental illnesses. Lack of awareness of eating disorders makes people believe that it is the fault of the individual.
Research conducted showed that 70% of people with eating disorders believe that they should be able to hold it together and feel they are responsible for their condition. Other studies showed that most of them feel judged, socially marginalized, and dismissed. They also see their illness as flaws and weaknesses.
The types of stigma experienced include;
The stigma-induced secrecy compromises the individual by lowering their self-esteem and increasing the symptoms and the duration of the disorder. They conceal their illness due to shame or from fear of being judged and ridiculed.
Stigma in the healthcare context
Research done showed most eating disorder patients feel misunderstood by healthcare workers. They felt like their issues were not taken seriously and did not take their severe distress with the emergency required. There was also evidence to show that some received quality healthcare.
Stigma in families
Not only does society judge people with eating disorders but also their own families. This could be caused by a lack of understanding of the illness. They also feel like a disappointment and shame to the family and fear judgement from them.
This causes relationship strains, causes tension and conflicts and affects the well-being of all family members.
In this blog post, we have looked at who Meghan Trainor is and whether she had an eating disorder. We have also looked at the types of eating disorders and their types. Finally, we have looked at the types of stigma related to eating disorders.
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comment section below.
Frequently asked questions
Is not eating a coping mechanism?
Yes, not eating partly acts as a coping mechanism. Many people who feel that they have no control over their lives can end up restricting their diet so as to have a sense of control, reassurance and security.
Is an eating disorder (ED) a coping mechanism?
Yes, eating disorders can be coping mechanisms for some people. It is, therefore, important for family and friends of an afflicted person to know how difficult recovery from ED can be and also have realistic expectations of the progress and pace.
Does Demi Lovato have Bulimia Nervosa?
Yes, the singer revealed that she had been struggling with Bulimia on her pre-teen years after beginning to binge at the age of 9.
Stern B. (November 12, 2014). Meghan Trainor Says She Wasn’t “Strong Enough” To Have An Eating Disorder, Demi Lovato Responds. Retrieved from https://www.idolator.com/7570286/meghan-trainor-eating-disorder-demi-lovato?chrome=1
Fetters K.A., (November 14, 2014). Demi Lovato Speaks Out After Meghan Trainor’s Comments About ‘Not Being Strong Enough’ to Have an Eating Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/a19948246/demi-lovato-response-meghan-trainor-eating-disorder-comment/
Collins L., (December 20, 2019). Stigma and eating disorders: theory and practice. Retrieved from https://www.nationalelfservice.net/mental-health/eating-disorders/stigma-eating-disorders-theory-practice/
Amour A., Please apologise for your comments on eating disorders. Retrieved from https://www.change.org/p/dear-meghan-trainor-please-apologise-for-your-comments-on-eating-disorders