Did Shane Dawson have an eating disorder? (5 symptoms of body dysmorphia)

In this blog post we shall answer the question “did Shane Dawson have an eating disorder?” and discuss who Shane is, define eating disorder and explore in detail what body dysmorphia is. We will also look at ways to spread awareness about eating disorders and self-help tips for managing eating disorders.

Did Shane Dawson have an eating disorder?

Yes, Shane had an eating disorder. In 2014, he opened up about having a severe case of body dysmorphia. He did this to encourage other people who were going through the same not to feel alone in the journey.

A tweet from him on October 5, 2018, read “I suffered from Bulimia, body dysmorphia and depression for the last 15 years. I would 100% consider the feeling I have when talking about those things to be ‘creepy’ ‘gross’ and ‘icky’. it’s not me that’s icky. it’s the feeling I get when describing them…”

The YouTuber had also been on a weight loss journey after his graduation. This is after he was kicked out of a roller coaster for being too big and on his graduation, his gown would not fit and two graduation gowns had to be put together. He was able to lose 150 pounds using ways that we will discuss later.

Who is Shane Dawson?

Shane Lee Yaw, popularly known as Shane Dawson is a YouTuber from the US. he is among the first YouTubers to become famous. He began making videos in 2008 when he was 19. By the age of 21, he had over half a billion views.

He has over 22 million subscribers and is among the most influential social media moguls globally. He has also used his platform to educate his viewers about issues affecting society. He boldly talks about eating disorders and does not hide the fact that he is also on the journey of recovery.

He also made a documentary with fellow YouTuber Eugenia Cooney, who was also in treatment for anorexia. He reached out to Eugenia for the purpose of educating people about eating disorders and encouraging them not to be afraid of asking for help. In the video that was published on July 19, 2020, Shane says, “My hope and her hope is that this could help a lot of people, so that’s why we’re doing this.”

In 2016, there was a petition filed to YouTube to remove Eugenia from the platform and allow her to seek treatment. Though she was reluctant, she agreed to step away from the limelight and focus on her health. Later on, she spoke candidly on Shane’s platform about her struggle with anorexia and shared about her recovery journey.

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

BDD is obsessing, hiding or trying to correct “flaws”, and it affects people of all ages and starts as early as the adolescent stage. Research shows that one in fifty people have BDD. Shane was able to open up about his struggle with body issues and bulimia.

People with BDD feel there’s a big disparity between how they perceive themselves and what their friends or family tell them. This means that it does not matter how many times they hear the words “you are beautiful the way you are” “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” “it is the inner beauty that matters”. These words make no difference in how they feel about themselves.

For Shane, his body image issues and bulimia started after being kicked off a rollercoaster for being too big and also not being able to fit in his gown. These triggers are enough to cause an eating disorder.

While you know objectively your family and friends are right, this does not elevate the feeling of stress and anxiety your body image causes you. BDD is a psychological disorder like any other and can be treated through treatment and other self-help tips.

Common features people with BDD focus on;

  • Facial features like the nose or lips
  • Size and shape of genitalia and breasts
  • Body hairs and facial hairs
  • Skin, i.e. moles, freckles, acne or scars
  • Muscle size or tone

Signs and symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Hiding so that others cannot see the offending body part

This is isolating yourself by avoiding work, social gatherings, school and public places so that others may not see you or leaving the hours during odd hours when people are unlikely to see you. Back in 2014, Shane, in a tweet, admitted that at some point, he did not want to leave the house because he thought he was fat.

Repeatedly spending a lot of time on the mirror or avoiding mirrors altogether

You check yourself on the mirror compulsively, especially when you are alone or you avoid mirrors because seeing your reflection causes distress.

Avoiding your picture from being taken

You avoid gatherings where photos will be taken or police pictures to make sure people don’t post your flaws for the world to see.

Undergoing plastic surgery to correct the perceived imperfection

Undergoing procedures, thinking they will fix your problems, but even after it is done, you don’t get satisfied with your results. One of the weight loss routines Shane went through is a fat reduction surgery.

Spending a lot of time camouflaging or hiding the perceived ugly body part

You use makeup, accessories, or clothing to cover up your flaws. You might also position your body in a way that covers your flaws, wear hats or put on baggy clothes in an effort to hide your flaws. 

Picking your skin compulsively, leading to injury

This is also a sign of OCD, but if it is done intending to improve looks or do away with a flaw, then it is a symptom of BDD

Comparing yourself negatively to others

You compare yourself to pictures of your younger self or with celebrities and criticize yourself using those as comparisons.

Overspending on personal grooming

You spend most of your income on products that will enhance your look and after a while, you get delusion about these products and therefore look for other better treatment options.

Shane Dawson’s views on eating disorders

Shane has been very vocal about his struggles with eating disorders and body image. He has also brought other celebrities struggling with the same on his Youtube channel. He has also been a subject of online bullying because of his body weight.

When opening up about his body issues, Shane said that he was targeting many of those going through similar issues but are not able to talk about. He reassures them that they are not alone. He had also taken a break from media after admitting that some comments about his body weight discouraged him and he sought some time away to take care of his health.

When he came back, Shane hosted, Eugenia Cooney, another famous Youtuber who had taken a break to take care and recover from an eating disorder. The reason why Eugenia trusted Shane to share her story, is that both of them had a similar aim of sharing, educating and informing other people about eating disorders and their effects.

The one-hour-long video focuses on Cooney’s recovery journey and her stay at an in-patient rehabilitation facility. At the start of the video, Shane mentions that the aim of the video was to focus on the struggles and recovery of her eating disorder. Many people applauded him for bringing awareness of the issues to the public.

Many, however, pointed out that it could be so soon for Cooney to be exposed to the limelight after just a month’s recovery. They felt that even though she looked physically healthy, talking about it so soon could affect her mentally and even cause a relapse.

Before he hosts Cooney, Shane talks to Kati Morton, a Youtuber and a licensed clinical therapist, who schools him what questions to ask and which to avoid regarding Cooney’s disorder. The questions not to ask were about her appearance and what she ate before and after her treatment. He, however, asked those after Cooney said no questions were off-limits.

Shane had a huge following on YouTube and he decided to use his platform to educate people about eating disorders and the struggles those suffering go through. Media has been said to lead to the development of eating disorders, i.e., having unrealistic expectations of beauty standards or people using it to bully others on how they look. Shane proves that media can also be used to spread awareness of eating disorders, prevention methods and treatment.

People also have a platform for sharing their personal stories and encouraging those facing the same problems that they are not alone. We, just like Shane, can help stop the stigmatization and spread awareness about eating disorders. We shall discuss methods to spread awareness in detail.

How to spread awareness about eating disorders

  • Avoid commenting on people’s appearances
  • Attend local events promoting awareness of eating disorders
  • Share your own story like Shane did
  • Educate yourself about eating disorders
  • Check in with friends and family
  • Promote body positivity
  • Sponsor advocacy organizations

Follow on the National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and join people globally in spreading awareness of eating disorders.

Self-care tips for managing eating disorders

  • Stay focused on your goals
  • Join a support group
  • Do not become isolated
  • Write in a journal
  • Take care of yourself
  • Use relaxation techniques
  • Don’t make important decisions when you are feeling distressed


We have discussed who Shane Dawson is and his struggle with eating disorders and body dysmorphia. We have also looked at what body dysmorphia is and the symptoms and discussed how media can be important in stopping stigmatization and instead, spreading awareness about eating disorders.

Finally, we have looked at ways of spreading awareness about eating disorders and self-help tips for managing eating disorders. If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comment section below.

Frequently asked questions: Shawn Dawson eating disorder

What is Shane Dawson addicted to?

Shane revealed that he was into bling and bedazzled things. 

What is Shane Dawson’s net worth?

His worth is approximately $12 million as of 2022. 

What qualifies as having an eating disorder?

An eating disorder is a serious mental illness that is characterised by an unhealthy preoccupation with one’s own body weight, shape, exercise and what one eats.

What are the three warning signs of anorexia?

Extreme weight loss, not meeting the developmental milestones and having abnormally low blood counts.


Cacich A., (July 17, 2020). YouTuber Shane Dawson Tackles Eating Disorders in Emotional Video With Eugenia Cooney. Retrieved from https://www.distractify.com/p/did-shane-dawson-have-an-eating-disorder

PsychReel,(March 24, 2022). Does Shane Dawson Have An Eating Disorder? Retrieved from https://psychreel.com/does-shane-dawson-have-an-eating-disorder/

Shake Jump, (September 21, 2020). How Did Shane Dawson Lose Weight? Retrieved from https://shakejump.com/how-did-shane-dawson-lose-weight/

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