Can Fat People Be Anorexic? The Truth About Anorexia

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Have you ever questioned your relationship with food? In this day and age, it’s believed that people suffer from eating disorders and question their food intake at least once in their lives. We see many articles and advertisements about diets, eating healthy food, and eliminating various items from our daily diet.

All those articles and advertisements impact our psyche and can lead us to develop an eating disorder. But is everyone susceptible to such disorders? Can fat people be anorexic or binge eaters thin? 

We will discuss this topic in greater detail in today’s guide, so stick around and read more! 

What is Anorexia? 

Anorexia nervosa is the name of one of the most common eating disorders. An eating disorder is a mental illness that causes a person to have a troubled relationship with food while also suffering from negative thoughts and feelings about food and their overall body image.

There are various eating disorders, including bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and so on. Anorexia nervosa, and its subtype called atypical anorexia nervosa, are the ones that we will focus on today.

Anorexic people have a mental disorder that causes them to have an intense fear of weight gain, which has them limit their food intake. They suffer dramatic weight loss but are never satisfied with their body weight or overall body image. This leads them to go into a downward spiral where they never think they are thin enough.

Atypical anorexia, however, is a similar disorder that is much harder to diagnose. People with atypical anorexia suffer from an eating disorder but are not underweight. They could be an average weight for their height or even be considered slightly overweight. Their healthy weight is what causes them to be misdiagnosed much of the time. 

Can Fat People be Anorexic?

fat woman dieting

Obese or overweight people can also suffer from anorexia, despite the general assumption that anorexia means you have to be extremely skinny. Think about it – if you are 400 pounds and lose 40 pounds in a month or two, you will still be a large person. So, people will not see you as someone with an eating disorder, but you will secretly develop one.

The biggest problem with anorexia is not only the weight loss but also the mental issues it can cause. Aside from the obvious symptom of extreme weight loss, you can tell that someone suffers from anorexia if they have body image issues, fear of eating or weight gain, intense obsession with the type of food they eat or the calories they ingest per day, and so on.

These signs can show that someone does not have a healthy relationship with food. These kinds of disorders do not discriminate – they can appear in people of all genders, ages, and weights. No matter if you are 100 pounds or 400 pounds, you could suffer from anorexia. 

What Can Cause Anorexia?

Anorexia can be caused by several things, including personal problems and stress, a simple diet, mental or physical abuse, and so on. 

Extreme Dieting

Most people develop anorexia when they start dieting. They get so wrapped up in the idea that they need to lose weight that they overdo it. What they do not understand is that you can start losing muscle tissue before you start losing fat. Losing muscle tissue can be very problematic as it can lead to a weaker heart. 

Additionally, people who diet tend to forget about the necessary nutrients they need to ingest as part of their diet. Shortage of nutrients can also lead to health problems like osteoporosis, weak blood, irregular menstrual periods, reproductive challenges, etc. 


Anorexia often develops in people who are bullied or abused at school or by their peers. These youngsters are often overweight to begin with, so they place serious food restrictions on themselves to lose weight. 

When they cross the line and go into anorexia, many people overlook the fact that it’s unhealthy and instead praise them for the weight loss and willingness to lead a “healthier life.”.

Weight Stigma

Even if you are at a normal weight, there could be a weight stigma that pushes you into thinking that you are not thin enough and that you should worry more about your food intake. Weight stigma can lead a person to develop both a distorted body image and a restrictive food intake disorder that will in no way benefit them in the long run. 

How to Treat Anorexia?

To treat anorexia, you need to seek both medical and psychiatric help. But most of all, you need to work on yourself and start loving yourself just the way you are. 

Try doing more activities that will keep you occupied, or try thinking about things other than your weight. Talk to a psychiatrist to find the root of the problem and deal with it so that you can be at peace with that problem and move on. 

With medical help, you can compensate for muscle loss or body mass while also learning what to eat and how to eat it, so it does not affect your weight negatively.

Your mindset should not be focused on being thin – it should be focused on being healthy. Once you are healthy, you will feel much better about yourself. And what better thing than being happy and content with who you are and how you look!


Thank you for reading this guide on anorexia nervosa and atypical anorexia nervosa. We hope it has helped you understand that this illness can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or size. Can fat people be anorexic? You should know that heavier people can also develop this mental illness. 

If you are someone who deals with anorexia or you know someone who does, please be gentle with yourself and others. Get help or be the one to extend a helping hand. Maybe you will be the one who helps save a life!

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