National Eating Disorders Association
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Recovery

Dr. Lesley Williams is a certified eating disorder specialist, family medicine physician, and positive body image advocate. She co-owns Liberation Center, an eating disorder treatment facility, in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Williams is dedicated to ensuring that all women and men who struggle with eating and body image issues receive the help that they need to overcome and live happy, healthy lives.

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Everyone faces obstacles. No matter who you are, what you look like, or where you live, we all face road blocks while moving forward in life. Some of us get through them very easily while others struggle through each one, hanging on by the smallest of tree limbs. Most of us have one thing that has really affected our life. For me, that one thing was my eating disorder.

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The use of food for emotional comfort is often normalized in our culture. It’s very common to see TV shows or movies portraying actresses drowning their sorrows after a breakup by eating a tub of ice cream or an entire box of chocolates. That tells us that it’s acceptable to use food to cope with difficult emotions. For some people, that may be effective and not seem problematic, but it’s far more complicated for someone with an eating disorder. 

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En el mundo de hoy, nos encontramos bombardeados con información sobre cómo debemos cuidar nuestros cuerpos. Constantemente vemos los últimos ejercicios, diferentes tipos de planes de comidas, opciones de alimentos, rutinas de ejercicios, etc. y, a veces, es difícil mantenerse al día.

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In today's world, we find ourselves bombarded with information about how we should take care of our bodies. We constantly see the latest exercises, different kinds of meal plans, food options, workout routines, etc. and sometimes it’s hard to keep up. 

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For many of us, the holidays can be a difficult time. Whether you are visiting your family for winter break or you live with your parents, the hyper-focus on food and body image during this time can be hard to navigate.

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Many people look forward to the winter holiday season for time off to relax and be with loved ones. For others, this time of year brings an influx of complicated feelings. For those of us struggling with body image and an unhealthy relationship with food, already aggravated by how central food becomes during the holidays, the pressure to spend time with family can be overwhelming. 

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The holiday season is my favorite time of year. I know I’m not alone in that. Who wouldn’t love home, hearth, and family all bundled together in a peppermint-scented haze of love and gratitude?

But ever since I was diagnosed with anorexia, the beloved season has also become a huge challenge.

Just a few years ago, right before Hannuka (I’m Jewish), I was in treatment. Preparing us for the upcoming holiday, the hospital brought us all pies as a snack.

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Melinda developed an eating disorder while she served in the military from 2003-2008. When she met her husband Jim several years later, she was still battling binge eating disorder and bulimia. They’ve coped as a couple as Melinda began her recovery for her eating disorder.

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I am enough. These three words appear in memes and on social media. We fling them around in the recovery community and silk screen them onto shirts. While in treatment, therapists repeated them and encouraged me to apply them to myself. With a flip of a pronoun, they altered the phrase and turned it into a mirror directed squarely at me. “You are enough,” they said. “You are enough.”

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