National Eating Disorders Association
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We don’t have to tell you that our toxic consumer culture is a major driver of our society’s obsession with weight. You know it. We know it. And the $66 billion diet industry knows it. What the diet industry does not want you to know, though, is that most of what they sell is at best useless junk -- and that could not be truer than for diet pills. Almost all the over-the-counter (OTC) diet pills and powders on the U.S.

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Most of us have heard this before: recovery is not a linear process.

As I graduated from treatment in November 2017, I kept that message in mind. My outpatient team and my family continue to remind me that I don’t have to seek perfection in my recovery; ups and downs are to be expected. In my early months of recovery, as I adjusted back to the “real world” with less structure and less clinical support, I typically took two steps forward and one step—sometimes three steps—back.

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This past National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, advocates and educators came together to bring about many firsts for the state of Pennsylvania. It was the first year that a governor declared a proclamation recognizing National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, February 25th to March 4th, 2018. Also, the first eating disorder seminar, led by Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine and the Department of Health occurred on the same day. It was an exciting day for eating disorder advocates!

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In recognition of the critical needs of military members and their families suffering from eating disorders, the Department of Defense's (DOD) Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) will once again dedicate funds for eating disorders research for prevention, intervention and treatment programs.

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When someone mentions Ohio, my home state, they usually think football, the Midwest, and buckeyes, but from personal experience, mental health and eating disorder awareness/prevention do not always come to mind. As a kid, a close relative of mine struggled with her eating disorder and still does. It is due to that personal experience that my mother taught me about positive body image and loving one’s self. Unfortunately, often others do not always have those conversations. 

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In countrywide recognition of the need for research, prevention programs, and treatment options for the 30 million Americans who will experience an eating disorder, the United States Senate has passed Senate Resolution 419, officially designating Feb. 26 – March 4 National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAwareness Week) for the first time.

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Twice a year, advocates come together in Washington, D.C. to influence federal policy, push for change, and educate representatives of Congress about those affected by eating disorders. NEDA has served as a collaborative partner with the Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) on these efforts throughout 2017. 

On October 5th, I along with many other advocates shared our own personal journeys and the impact eating disorders have had on our lives. On that day, we represented the voices of the 30 million Americans who suffer from an eating disorder.

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On August 24, 2017, the State of Illinois enacted Public Act 100-0305, which amends the Illinois Insurance Code to afford greater protection to individuals suffering from eating disorders by expanding the mandatory health insurance coverage available to treat such conditions. The law was introduced as HB 1332 by State Representative Laura Fine (Glenview); and after passage in the Illinois House of Representatives, was sponsored in the Illinois Senate by Senator Jule Morrison (Deerfield).  

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As you may have heard, the Department of Defense (DoD) recently released the announcement for the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) that permits funding for eating disorders research!  

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In 2014, I was in the early days of my recovery from an eating disorder, and although it is a very personal experience, I wanted to share my story to help provide hope to others that recovery from an eating disorder is possible. I chose to work with the National Eating Disorders Association’s advocacy program to lead a legislative campaign in my home state of Pennsylvania because I believe that advocates and those in public service can foster change by working creatively to communicate the needs of individuals.

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