Dear Katie: I Think I Have an Eating Disorder. What Should I Do?
In our Dear Katie series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
I think I have an eating disorder. My eating habits have been getting worse (binging and purging, fasting, all that) since I moved away from home to study dance. I know it's bad for me, but I haven't had any physical side effects that've affected my technique. I'm worried that if I tell someone, I'll be forced to stop dancing so I can recover. What should I do?
First of all, know that you are not alone. Many dancers struggle with some form of disordered eating. It's often a side effect of dance's intense focus on the physical body.
The most important thing to think about is your health. Even if you're not noticing any negative consequences right now, your eating habits might be damaging your body in ways that could affect your life for years to come. That includes your future dance career. Ballet companies want to hire strong, healthy dancers, but disordered eating makes you weak and prone to injury.
As scary as it feels, I'd strongly encourage you to tell someone. Your awareness of the problem is a good first step, but this is something that needs to be addressed in a concrete way as soon as possible. Please take care of yourself!
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