6

votes

Do vegans suffer from body dysmorphism?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 22, 2012 at 10:13 PM

I ran into someone online using Bill Clinton as an example of someone who looks "fit and healthy" after converting to veganism and I was kind of surprised because I've felt that he looks gaunt and drawn these days (I'm not making any judgments about whether this is because of his diet or the serious medical problems he had several years ago). Many vegans that I've known are also extremely skinny, although they think they are the paragons of health and just consider themselves thin and fit. I know that there are obese vegans, but the abnormally skinny ones are the ones that are always held up to show how healthy their diet is.

So is there an epidemic of body dysmorphism in the vegan community? I think this question is important to paleos as we try to make the case for the health benefits of our diet and argue against the militancy that some vegans have about their diet.

EDIT: Another example of this is when vegan women try to convince themselves and others that it's healthy to stop having periods. This has always boggled my mind.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 24, 2012
at 05:13 PM

Recent (last few centuries) preferences in curviness is more of a factor of fashion. The last few millenia have been about survivability. Our current frame of reference has been changing rapidly in the flabby direction.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on April 23, 2012
at 02:58 PM

"What was normal, now is bordering on skinny." I disagree 180 degrees. What was normal is now considered fat. Look at paintings, not just from the previous century, but going back 1000 years. By today's standards, all of the the women in those paintings would be considered on the heavy side. Yes, there is more obesity today (both men and women), but today's standard of "thin and fit" is significantly thinner than it has been throughout most of history.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 22, 2012
at 11:03 PM

Of course there is. The size of a person's waist and arms has no direct relevance to their health. Now I chose to lose weight because I wanted to but not for health. I was 450lbs but had good blood pressure, no problem blood sugar issues, normal cholestrol and regularly walked 6-10miles a day. Would I stay healthy? I don't know, and didn't want to find out. Still....

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on April 22, 2012
at 10:50 PM

"This is what I've observed. Has anyone else observed the same?" This seems like a completely reasonable question to me.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on April 22, 2012
at 10:42 PM

As much as I love bashing vegans I voted to close this question, as this is a Paleo site not an anti-vegan conjecture discussion board.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on April 22, 2012
at 10:36 PM

I never said, nor do I think, that there is no dysmorphism among paleo eaters (although I do like to see people on this website point out when another user's goals for leaning out are extreme, which happens fairly regularly, especially among women who are trying to get unhealthily skinny). And, yes, when I see some guy with a 26 inch waist and no muscles whatsoever tell me how healthy he thinks he is, I am going to call BS on it. There's no relativism going on.

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3 Answers

3
78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

on April 22, 2012
at 11:22 PM

It has little to do with veganism itself. Preferring and believing in eating a diet without animal products doesn't lead to body dysmorphia. I would say that the health they are speaking of comes from a mental place as well...probably feeling cleaner, without processed foods and the psychological thrill of eating what they think is right. And body dysmorphic disorder affects those of all sizes, including those who are obese.

Finally, I'm pretty sure there is plenty of body dysmorphic disordered people here because of the emphasis many place on physical fitness and leanness that doesn't exist in the vegan/vegetarian world. People here on paleo tend to be into cross-fit and a more physical activity compared to vegans, because the agenda is just happens to be focused on optimal living moreso than "animal rights/welfare" (which many vegans tend to focus more on). Your idea of "healthy looking" may just be skewed towards having some abs, lots of lean muscle, etc.

I think I have to stop there before I rant too long and get carpel tunnel.

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 22, 2012
at 10:25 PM

I'm gonna have to burst your bubble. Who's to say they're abnormally skinny? Our society has had its reference point changed for what is fit and trim. We're, as a society, so used to seeing folks overweight that what's normal has changed. What was normal, now is bordering on skinny. You must think pretty highly of paleo so that it's free from body dysmorphism.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on April 22, 2012
at 10:36 PM

I never said, nor do I think, that there is no dysmorphism among paleo eaters (although I do like to see people on this website point out when another user's goals for leaning out are extreme, which happens fairly regularly, especially among women who are trying to get unhealthily skinny). And, yes, when I see some guy with a 26 inch waist and no muscles whatsoever tell me how healthy he thinks he is, I am going to call BS on it. There's no relativism going on.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 22, 2012
at 11:03 PM

Of course there is. The size of a person's waist and arms has no direct relevance to their health. Now I chose to lose weight because I wanted to but not for health. I was 450lbs but had good blood pressure, no problem blood sugar issues, normal cholestrol and regularly walked 6-10miles a day. Would I stay healthy? I don't know, and didn't want to find out. Still....

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 24, 2012
at 05:13 PM

Recent (last few centuries) preferences in curviness is more of a factor of fashion. The last few millenia have been about survivability. Our current frame of reference has been changing rapidly in the flabby direction.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on April 23, 2012
at 02:58 PM

"What was normal, now is bordering on skinny." I disagree 180 degrees. What was normal is now considered fat. Look at paintings, not just from the previous century, but going back 1000 years. By today's standards, all of the the women in those paintings would be considered on the heavy side. Yes, there is more obesity today (both men and women), but today's standard of "thin and fit" is significantly thinner than it has been throughout most of history.

0
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on April 22, 2012
at 10:49 PM

I think they may have body dysmorphia, or they just may have some really twisted sense of what attractive is. Lean is the new skinny.

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