“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha
Today marks the fifth day of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This week, I ask everyone to do just one thing to help raise awareness and provide accurate information about eating disorders. What can you do to make a more body positive world?
—— 2014 NEDA Week Theme: “I Had NO Idea”
Why do so many people say “I didn’t know that they had an eating disorder”? Probably because they were never taught that anyone can develop an ED, and that they are actually rarely visible.
When we learn about ED’s in middle school health class, we are only shown whatever stock photos the teachers could find of emaciated women when they search “anorexia” or “bulimia.”
That makes it so easy to not realize that a girl of healthy weight may die from cardiac arrest due to her bulimia;
that someone overweight could be starving themselves to death;
that men, of any sexual orientation, can be obsessed with needing to obtain a certain shape, work out excessively, restrict their diets, and use laxatives/diuretics;
that binge-eating disorder is a real disorder and an addiction;
that on the off chance someone knows what EDNOS is, rarely do they understand the severity of the diagnoses and high mortality rate.
You see, we accept cleanses, skipping breakfast, and cutting out entire food groups as a part of our culture. When a friend loses weight, we congratulate them. These are all seen as successes. We accept these dietary fads as the norm, so it isn’t shocking when we can’t easily distinguish who has an eating disorder and who doesn’t.
So look around you, at people you know and strangers passing you by on the street. Realize that no matter what shape, ethnicity, gender, personality, sexuality, or age they are, they could possibly be battling an eating disorder. I believe that by educating people, we can help tear down this pre-conceived notion that only a select kind of people get ED’s. Help spread the word, and keep fighting the good fight.
Get in the KNOW:
“We urge you to talk about the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape these disorders with your family, friends, colleagues and community. Your participation will 1) raise awareness that eating disorders are serious illnesses, not lifestyle choices; 2) provide accurate information to medical, educational and/or business communities, and 3) direct people to potentially life-saving information and resources about eating disorders.” – nedawareness.org
I can’t express how important it is to raise awareness, to speak openly about eating disorders and to learn the facts instead of the misconceptions many people believe. If you know or even think you or somebody you know has a problem, please please speak up. Talking will save lives.
1. Take a quiz made by the National Eating Disorders Association to test your knowledge and educate yourself!
2. Debunk popular myths about ED. This list names some common ideas and what the real truths are.
3. Read this tumblr post about the many, many misconceptions.
4. Get involved in the #CAPTUREHOPE Instagram campaign.
5. Post a Facebook status, a tweet, or upload an instagram photo and raise awareness. Maybe even share one of my blog posts or a blog post from another source.
Accept who you are ——