National Eating Disorders Association
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Recovery

Surviving the holidays when you have an eating disorder is not always easy. If you are like many of my clients, you are so not looking forward to the holiday parties, events, dinners, and plans.

For most, this is overwhelming because you know there will be food involved and fear is what causes you anxiety. You are worried that people will judge what you are eating, make comments about your body, or someone will say something to upset you.

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My name is Hannah and I am recovering from anorexia nervosa. It's been about six years now and here I am, sharing my story for the first time. My general motto is, “Go big or go home,” which is kind of what I am doing here. 

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The holidays can be a challenging time of year for many people. Some get stressed out because they’re hosting, some are anxious because of the time with family or being around a lot of people. Others may have a really hard time being around so much food or alcohol since both of those tend to be cultural aspects of the holiday season. 

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Lacy Davis is a writer, podcaster, lifting coach, and gym owner. An unabashed feminist and tattoo enthusiast, Davis wrote Ink in Water: An Illustrated Memoir (Or, How I Kicked Anorexia’s Ass and Embraced Body Positivity) to show that being punk doesn’t make you immune to eating disorders.

We chatted with Davis about her new book, the twists and turns of recovery, and the types of eating disorder stories she’d like to see in the future. Check out our interview below!   

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Eating disorders are stereotypically viewed as illnesses that plague young, upper-class, white females. This idea is perpetuated by a variety of factors, including the media, and prevents other people with eating disorders from seeking or receiving the help they need and deserve. While the research into males with eating disorders has recently begun to gain traction, many other groups are still being dismissed. One of those groups is gender nonconforming people. 

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I’ve been in recovery for my eating disorder for eight, going on nine years now.

When I typed that sentence while brainstorming for this blog post, I first felt a sense of intense pride in myself and how far I’ve come from the scared, 18-year-old girl who entered treatment those many years ago to a confident transgender man.

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It’s Transgender Awareness Week, a time meant to raise visibility and acceptance for transgender and gender non-conforming people. As one of the most marginalized groups in America today, transgender people are often denied access to basic human needs like employment, housing, public restroom access, and medical care. 

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The day I began treatment for my eating disorder was the August before the start of my sophomore year of high school. It was also the day my season of cross country track was scheduled to start. After my pediatrician was unable to sign off on the medical clearance forms, I was forced to go talk to my coach about how I wouldn’t be able to run with them this season. I was anxious when I walked into his office, expecting an angry response. 

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When I think back to my high school years, it was a series of rituals. The same foods, the same habits, the same clothes; everything was a routine because in my mind, that’s when things were in control. The truth is, I was anything BUT in control. 

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Three out of my 16 years of life were spent in my eating disorder. It was a silent battle—I appeared as smiley as ever, even through the weeks of being too nauseated to eat, let alone function properly. It wasn’t that I was unloved; I’ve always had a loving, supportive family and solid friends around me. It was for this very reason that I couldn’t share my struggles. I loved and cared for them so deeply that I was willing to keep my pain to myself instead of bringing pain to them.

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