National Eating Disorders Association
Blog
Recovery

I was first diagnosed with an eating disorder in 2013 when I was 19, but my deadly eating disorder and terrifying habits had begun long before then. They started when I was 14 and progressed for five years until I was so deep in my eating disorder that I didn’t know how to get out.

Throughout my life I have been bigger than my peers, and that seemed to be a constant topic among everyone in my life: the bullies, family, and friends. However, no one acknowledged that my unhealthy eating habits were symptoms of a larger problem.

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When I came forward for help with my eating disorder, I was given incredible support from concerned friends and family, as well as a dedicated team of professionals on my college campus ready to set me on a path towards recovery. It felt as though all these hands were being extended out to hold me up and keep me steady as I wandered into what would no doubt prove to be difficult terrain.

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From fear of judgment at the gym during “resolution season” to fear of failure when asking for a raise, all of us deal with fear every single day. One of my big goals at this time in my life is to live fearlessly.

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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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We’re over a week into the new year and you've likely encountered a plethora of diet ads telling you that happiness can only be achieved through weight loss. I'm calling BS on that idea. 

So often, the prospect of the new year is poisoned by notions of creating a “new and improved” you, as if the person you were on December 31st at 11:59pm was not worthy. Well, you are, and everyone has different desires for the new year, as we should!

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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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“Dear Melody” is a monthly 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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The holidays can be a difficult time for anyone. Amidst the busyness and changing of routine and weather, it’s easy for us to struggle to maintain that holiday cheer we are expected to embody every single day. It’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to set aside time for yourself. Enjoying the holiday season begins with you and your well-being.

We asked members of the NEDA community to share their words of hope and encouragement for those who are struggling this holiday season. Here's what they had to say:

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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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