National Eating Disorders Association
Blog
Recovery

There are too many stereotypes today about eating disorders; specifically, the widespread myth that they can only affect younger women. But in reality, 13 percent of women over the age of 50 have eating disorders. And until very recently, I was one of them.

It’s not surprising, because in our culture fat translates to negative feelings about ourselves. In our culture, “being perfect” is seen as attainable. 

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Since I can remember, I have always been critical about the way my body looked. As a little girl and growing adolescent, I began to compare myself to the "ideal" shapes and sizes of women in my culture, seen in magazines or T.V., and even my friends and classmates around me. When I was a junior in high school, I lost someone very close to me to leukemia, and this became the tipping point of developing my eating disorder. 

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My eating disorder (”ED”), anorexia nervosa (AN), emerged when I was 12. Over time, like others, I learned to personify and separate the voice of “ED” from my own. “ED” constantly yelled at me, told me that I wasn’t enough, that I needed to count/restrict my calories, over-exercise, weigh myself, and sacrifice everything else in my life for the goal of being thin. EDs run in my family, and along with other disorders, genetically predisposed me to develop one. 

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Something monumental happened on April 5th, 2017: for the first time in my life, I spoke openly with my mom about my eating disorder. I had returned home after advocating on Capitol Hill for eating disorder parity and called my mom to recap the day. 

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With Easter can come some inevitable holiday stress. Whether it be interacting with difficult family members or remaining calm around the dinner table, managing self-love can be difficult for many. Here are seven ways to reduce stress and sit back and enjoy Easter and the memories that come with it. 

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Ciara Rae, an up and coming country artist based out of Nashville, expresses her strengths and self-love through her powerful lyrics. Having struggled with an eating disorder, she hopes to help others in the process of healing with music. At a young age, she began her music training with just piano and voice, but has now extended her talents to songwriting and guitar playing. Her talents range from jazz, pop, blues, country, and classical.

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While some of us may share an eating disorder diagnosis, every person’s eating disorder is different. Each one has different contributing factors. Each one started at a different time in our lives. Some people’s eating disorders go on for a long time before being diagnosed. Some people do not go to treatment for a long time if at all. So if every person’s process of developing an eating disorder, and having an eating disorder are different, then it’s understandable that every person’s recovery will look a little different as well.

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“Be sure to eat your vegetables.” For me, this saying was an everyday staple of my childhood, and although it has been nearly half a decade since I last lived with my parents, I still try my best to follow a healthy diet and lead a healthy lifestyle. During my freshman and sophomore years in college, though, I entrapped myself in this philosophy to the point that I was becoming withdrawn from my friends and creating a relationship with food that was devoid of enjoyment at both the social and sensory levels.

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BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! … It’s 5:30am and the alarm is going off. It’s Tuesday morning. My stomach does a flip when I realize what day it is. However, I’m not anxious about the dreaded morning weight circuit, like most of my teammates are, I’m anxious because it might be weigh in day. 

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For all of my childhood, I was considered "overweight." Whether it was my food choices or just genetics I'm not sure, but I was okay with it. I was a happy kid and I enjoyed life and everything it had to offer. As I started to get older, people like family friends, coaches, and peers would say things to me or my parents about my weight. 

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