National Eating Disorders Association
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Recovery

When I started @iamdaniadriana five years ago, I never thought that I would amass nearly 100,000 followers on Instagram. My dream when I started @iamdaniadriana was to give a voice to those who have felt marginalized from the eating disorder community, people who have felt let down or ignored in the past as they didn’t fit the “typical” look of someone with an eating disorder. 

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Waking up at 2am thinking about food. Surfing the internet at work, looking up new recipes when you have a deadline coming up. Planning and stopping at fast food restaurants between every meal. 

This isn’t a buildup to a funny meme about loving food. This was my life until I was diagnosed with binge eating disorder (BED) at 28 years old.

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Mike Marjama currently has a successful career as an American baseball catcher for the Seattle Mariners, but he once struggled with an eating disorder that threatened his ability to play the sport he loves. As a teen, Marjama attended Granite Bay High School in California and later played baseball for California State University. While in high school, Marjama developed an eating disorder that eventually led to inpatient treatment. 

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I began my career as a psychotherapist when I was 24 years old. I was not yet a year out of graduate school. I was eager, ambitious, and ready to start this next chapter in my life. And like many social work graduates, I had grand plans to save the world. 

I knew I wanted to focus on eating disorders treatment, which was born out of my own struggle with bulimia, but at that time, it felt too soon out of my own recovery, and honestly, I felt too wet behind the ears as a clinician, so eating disorder treatment needed to take a back seat. 

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Stages of Recovery

Stages of RecoveryUNDERSTANDING STAGES OF CHANGE IN THE RECOVERY PROCESS

My journey to diagnosis for anorexia started when I was 20. I’d had enough of feeling the way I did and being controlled by emotion and intrusive thoughts. During this time, we discovered it had started at 10 years old due to issues at school and weight-related family traits. 

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When I entered residential treatment at age 21, I did not believe I deserved love. I had struggled with an eating disorder for almost a decade at that point and was tired, depressed, and frustrated. I didn't re-admit to treatment with the hopes of recovery necessarily. I didn't want to continue living in the hell of my eating disorder, but I felt hopeless about my future. 

In treatment, I listened to my dietician and put one foot in front of the other. I went through the actions of recovery because the prospect of staying the same seemed unbearable. 

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I am six years old, staring at the mirror, knowing there’s a difference between pretty and ugly. I know who’s “pretty” and who’s "ugly;” even my six year old self, learning to write e's and j's, to paint rainbows with my fingers, knew the difference.

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From a young age I was taught to believe that thinner equaled better, and larger equaled lesser. My dance teachers reinforced this, my father reinforced this, and the media reinforced this. Eating disorders are typically associated with thinness, and while that can be some people’s experience, it is not everyone’s. Those of us who may not appear to have an eating disorder still have a valid struggle and it is important to talk about. It is important for our eating disorders to not be dismissed simply because of our size or the number on a scale.

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The first time I heard about eating disorders, I was in middle school. Our health class watched a film on the dangers of extreme dieting, and the implications it could have on mental and physical health. I watched intently as the film portrayed the typical narrative of a middle-class Caucasian girl who was on a dangerous path toward starvation. At the time, it was inconceivable to me that I could ever develop an eating disorder. I was just an average sized African-American girl who loved food. 

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