National Eating Disorders Association
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It all started with a letter. Early fall 2019, Ruby Jo Lubarsky, a grandmother, sent a letter to her State Senator, Julie Raque Adams. Ruby Jo shared her frustration about the limited treatment options in Kentucky, how inconsistent insurance coverage is for both inpatient and outpatient services, and in general how uneducated our society is regarding eating disorders. All Ruby Jo was trying to do was find the care her granddaughter desperately needed. But her letter struck a chord.

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ATTENTION EATING DISORDERS RESEARCHERS 

Call for proposals for eating disorders research through the Department of Defense. Pre-application deadlines are approaching!

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NEDA Walks are inspirational, community-building events where passionate walkers raise money to fund eating disorders education, prevention, and support, as well as advocacy and research initiatives. They are a celebration of hope and strength, filled with body-positive activities, motivational guest speakers, and a short walk to symbolize unity in the fight against eating disorders.  

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Organizations from across the country have joined together in partnership to advance the field of eating disorders and build a community of support and hope.  This collaboration has served one fundamental purpose: to provide a unified voice for the individuals and families we support.  Mobilized around our missions to advocate, to educate, and to heal, the NEDA Network is a community of eating disorders organizations connecting national, regional, and local communities with critical resources.   

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On behalf of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), I want to thank everyone for a meaningful and empowering National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDAwareness) Week 2020.

At the beginning of the week, we posted a question on Instagram Stories asking, “What advice would you give yourself and others this NEDAwareness Week?” As those responses were coming in, I had the honor of kicking off NEDAwareness Week with a few pieces of advice from the NEDA team:

1. No Before and After Photos 

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The Yoga and Body Image Coalition is a 2020 Featured NEDAwareness Week Partner. YBIC’s mission is to work with all of the ways yoga and body image intersect to create greater access and dignity for all. As part of NEDAwareness Week, YBIC invited its community members to “share their stories about how the practice of yoga has played an integral role in their healing and recovery from eating disorders” for its blog.

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Eating is emotional. Food is used to celebrate special occasions and to comfort us during sadness and loss. We associate specific foods with certain holidays, and smelling foods that are familiar to us from childhood can bring up special memories or feelings. As babies, we used eating as a way to soothe us when upset and we are often given food as a reward for an accomplishment. Eating and food are emotional. And yet, when it comes to what we have defined as “emotional eating” it is almost always talked about in a negative way. 

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Like most people who received graduate training in psychology, I received limited information about eating disorders. I was taught that eating disorders afflicted only white, college-educated, cisgender, straight women. My experience told a different story—I was wrestling with my own eating disorder, one in which I was preoccupied with restriction, nutrition, and exercise, but did not meet full criteria for any diagnoses in the DSM.

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I am happy to learn about NEDA’s First In-District Advocacy Day taking place today. Over 400 advocates signed up to meet the district staff of their Member of Congress to raise awareness and effect policy change for eating disorders. That’s a lot of people who care about eating disorders using their voices to promote the need for better federal eating disorders policy! 

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Editor's note: CW for behaviors, etc.

 

 

 

This time last year, I’d really only just begun to accept the fact that I have an eating disorder. Not a “weird food thing,” not “disordered behaviors,” not a “strong dislike of food” — I have an eating disorder, and with it, a long road ahead to repair my relationship to food and to my body. 

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