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Eating disorders are surrounded by myths, stereotypes, and stigma, which can make talking about them feel like a challenge. One in 10 Americans will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their lives. Yet despite their prevalence, those affected often experience deep feelings of isolation. Friends and loved ones can feel lost and unsure about how to help. 

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Social media has such a defining impact on our society, despite only increasing in popularity within the past few years. This is particularly true when it comes to young adults and eating disorders.

A study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine revealed that young adults who use social media a lot are more likely to develop negative body images and eating disorders.

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From eighth to tenth grade, I struggled with anorexia, and eventually I began struggling with bulimia. A significant factor in the development of my eating disorder was a lack of exposure to the social world in the early stages of my life, while I was home schooled.

I longed to feel included and I would beg my mom to let me go to public school. Being home schooled is vastly different from being educated in the public school system. In eighth grade I was finally able to live the life I wanted, and I began public school. 

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It’s a social media phenomenon. It’s in our faces every day. But for those of us with body image struggles, does it help or hinder? “Love your body!” So cries social media, preaching a shiny gospel of body positivity to all of us. At first glance, this seems a welcome oasis amid the onslaught of shaming advertisements and fitness and diet posts.

The “body-posi” movement can be beneficial in so many ways, but we need to have a bigger conversation about it—which aspects of the movement are actually beneficial, and which parts can, themselves, be triggering and harmful? 

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In honor of World Eating Disorders Action Day, NEDA is hosting a Twitter chat to explore the relationship between body shaming, bullying and eating disorders. Join us Thursday, June 2nd at 1PM ET and follow #WeDoAct

Body Shaming, Bullying and Eating Disorders

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For years, my body didn’t belong to me. It was my disorder’s. Signed and paid for with my own self-hatred; countless hours at the gym on almost zero food; a scrap of paper I kept in my calendar to proudly mark the number of calories I’d burned, far greater than what I’d consumed. My anorexia had had her brittle hands on me for years, and I didn’t want to admit it. She was with me when I tried on wedding dresses, forcing me to choose the one I felt least fat in. She would whisper in my ear every time I bought groceries.

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Note: This article was originally written for and published on the Proud2Bme site.

The Internet has a bad reputation. With the click of a button, we can easily hurt one another, whether it be in regards to race, sex, religion, or appearance.

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For the week of April 27th–May 1st, the CSU Northridge Proud2Bme On Campus team has created a 5 Day Photo Challenge activity on social media. The idea came about after a successful week of campus events during NEDAwareness week.

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 The holidays can be an especially tough time for people who are affected by eating disorders. But we in the eating disorders community can all act as resources for one another by sharing hope and support! That’s why we’re asking you to share short videos (no more than one minute long) about the unique challenges – and joys – that  are part of the holiday season for those working toward recovery. 

Need some ideas of what to talk about? How about posting…

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 The Internet has played a complicated role in my battle against an eating disorder.

In the depths of my illness, I used to scour the web to learn how to become a “better” anorexic. I was a slave to it. With every year that I lived with it (twelve in all), anorexia consumed increasingly more of my mind and body, until its goals fused completely with my own. I wanted—I needed—to lose weight, and the Internet, a vast fund of information and pro-eating disorder communities, seemed to hold the key.

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