National Eating Disorders Association
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Parents & Caregivers

Plastic surgery is not a game - unless you’re a young child with access to a smartphone. Hundreds of cosmetic surgery apps featuring child-friendly, animated characters are available for download via Google, Apple, and Amazon. Using medical tools like scalpels and syringes, children can slice apart the bodies of cartoon princesses and mermaids until they are “perfect.”

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NEDA’s first Regional Conference will take place Saturday, May 12 at Drexel University. #NEDACon is designed to bring together individuals and loved ones who are experiencing eating disorders or wanting to learn more about eating and body image issues.

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Siblings are our longest relationships. Often, a sibling is our first best friend. We love them deeply, hate them at moments and know both their strengths and weaknesses.

When a sibling has an eating disorder, there is an impact, but what is it exactly? 

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Two and a half years ago, I arrived in sunny San Diego, not knowing a single soul in the area and certainly not knowing what I would experience over the next few days. 

I was in town for the annual NEDA Conference, the first one I had ever attended. I remember feeling exceedingly nervous -- would I find people to talk to? Would I learn anything? I had no basis as to what I would experience. Luckily, I had an amazing time, and consider the conference one of the most valuable experiences of my personal and professional life to date. 

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The value of relationships cannot be understated. The relationship the patient has with their bodies and their health care providers are two of the most crucial. So many have felt isolated and ashamed and being able to step into a truly "judgment-free zone" with a provider can be life changing. When a patient leaves the office with an inclusive, engaging care plan, there is a visible lightness about them! With that lightness comes long-term positive changes in health. 

Here are four ways that you, as a provider, can create a safe space for patients: 

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Everyone has something good inside. Some hide it, some neglect it, but it is there. -Mother Teresa

I still think "self confidence" is one of the most important life skills. Self confidence means that I know my worth and innate goodness even if I've disappointed myself or others. And even if genetics, culture, personal experiences, and environment test me, I'll focus on being good to my self because it matters.   

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I will never forget when, as a young teen, I was told by my mother’s friend, “You have legs just like your dad’s.” Many decades later I can still hear her voice and feel the sting and confusion her comment stirred in me.

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I came from a dysfunctional family. My mom was a prescription drug addict, an alcoholic, and sick all of the time. She was also a compulsive overeater. My father was a very violent man. When I was just a little five-year-old, I witnessed his violence in a really traumatic incident. After this event, I can consciously remember the start of my eating disorder when I was a child. Throughout my early life and into adulthood, I had issues with food.

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My best friend and I have always been candid about our eating disorders. We've known each other for 20 years, and when we met, we were in the midst of anorexia. Our eating disorders were similar: there was no magic moment when either of us announced we were in recovery, not even when I went to in-patient treatment. 

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“Dear Melody” is an advice column by Dr. Melody Moore, a clinical psychologist, yoga instructor and the founder of the Embody Love Movement Foundation. Her foundation is a non-profit whose mission is to empower girls and women to celebrate their inner beauty, commit to kindness, and contribute to meaningful change in the world. Dr. Moore is a social entrepreneur who trains facilitators on how to teach programs to prevent negative body image and remind girls and women of their inherent worth.

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