National Eating Disorders Association
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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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Last Tuesday, we hosted a #NEDAwareness Twitter chat to hear from marginalized members of the body positive and pro-recovery community. The goal of the chat was to gain insight into how food, exercise, and body image issues impact different people in different ways and emphasize the necessity of creating inclusive communities. Here are some of the most important messages from the chat:

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In the grocery store checkout line in suburban Orange County, Calif., my mom looked at me and said, “watermelon.”

It was our code word for “stand up straight.” I was a preteen, taller than all my friends, and was constantly slouching. The reminder was so constant my mom decided a code word would make it less embarrassing to hear in public.

Each time I would heed my mom’s advice and stand up straight, I would instinctively look down at my chest, where my breasts were just beginning to take shape. 

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When I first started writing this post, my intention was to highlight how eating disorders affect the Muslim community in ways that differ from people of other faiths (or no faith). However, the more I looked into it and the more I thought about what I’ve been through, I realized that I would be doing you, the reader, a disservice. Instead, I want to delve deeper into the Muslim community (a rare occurrence in this context) and explain how Muslims deal with facets of eating disorders that we don't think that they do. 

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Gloria Lucas is a self-described “chubby warrior, DIY punx educator, and eating disorder survivor” dedicated to increasing the representation within the body positive and eating disorder community. After struggling with her own eating disorder, Gloria felt the impact of cultural differences with the difficulty she felt about speaking out. Now, she hopes to fulfill her mission with Nalgona Positivity Pride, an organization that centers the diverse backgrounds of community members and gives back to her own community. 

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We are shaped by our experiences and our perceptions. Our views of the world are defined by what we see and what we hear and the media has always played a role in that. Throughout history, the media and arguably, our immediate environment, has controlled our self-image, and in the age of technology, we are becoming increasingly aware of the negative impact of what our eyes and ears consume.

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NEDA and the Trevor Project teamed up on a national survey to better understand how LGBTQ+ youth are affected by eating disorders. We found that a majority of those surveyed have been diagnosed with an eating disorder and more than 75% suspect they have an eating disorder. And, of those diagnosed with an eating disorder, 87.5% have considered suicide.

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During my teenage years, I was very confrontational. I was also very angry and embarrassed to be in my body. This anger and shame, encouraged me to yell at and hate the strangers I caught staring at me in public places. 

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Mollee Gray is an actress and dancer most recognized as Giggles in Disney films Teen Beach and Teen Beach 2 and as a finalist on season 6 of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance. She currently tours nationwide teaching master classes and dance workshops, and serves as a celebrity ambassador for Breaking the Chains Foundation.

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My journey to diagnosis for anorexia started when I was 20. I’d had enough of feeling the way I did and being controlled by emotion and intrusive thoughts. During this time, we discovered it had started at 10 years old due to issues at school and weight-related family traits. 

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