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No Diet Day is May 6, 2019. It is a day for us to celebrate our bodies just exactly as they are without criticism or judgement. It is a day I hope can turn into many days, free to believe we are enough despite our size, despite what we eat. No Diet Day is a day I hope we can put aside our food judgements, a day we can enjoy and savor ANYTHING we choose to eat. As I’ve been told many times, food is food. It sounds like it should be that simple, but is it? I wish I could say yes, but we live in a diet-focused culture that shames us for what we eat. It shames us of our size.

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Diet Culture is dangerous and harms people of all sizes, including by perpetuating eating disorders and making a full recovery almost impossible. But when it comes to identifying Diet Culture in a world that is sadly rife with it, there can be plenty of confusion. If we truly want to prevent eating disorders and create a culture where full recovery is possible, we need to learn to identify Diet Culture and speak out against it. While this list certainly isn’t exhaustive, it covers some of the main tenets of Diet Culture, as well as some options for fighting back. 

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Fitness is a state of health and well-being. Influence, by definition, is the capacity to affect the character and behavior of another. Having the ability to influence means you’ve earned credibility. You’ve earned respect. You are trusted. Sometimes, this incredible responsibility gets lost in the day-to-day. In fact, sometimes it’s forgotten entirely. 

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The NEDA Network, a collaboration between NEDA and other like-minded eating disorders organizations, is working to promote No Diet Day, taking place on May 6, 2019.  Network organizations are supporting No Diet Day to encourage the rejection of diet culture and the elimination of shame associated with society’s standards of beauty and respect for all body shapes and sizes.

May 6th will mark the NEDA Network’s first national #NoDietDay social media campaign. We encourage you all to mark the day on your calendars and plan to participate! 

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As National Eating Disorders  Awareness Week (NEDAwareness Week) comes to a close, I reflect on how the 2019 theme, Come as You Are, highlights NEDA’s movement towards inclusivity in the greater eating disorders (ED) community, and the goal of unifying the ED field. In particular, Come as You Are sends a message to individuals at all stages of body acceptance and ED recovery that their stories are valid. We hope that message continues beyond this week.

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When I began my recovery journey from an eating disorder 13 years ago, I had a certain set of expectations about how the recovery process would go. Healthcare professionals told me to expect several things. They reassured me that as I learned to eat a broader variety of foods that my anxiety around eating would go down. What?! They said the more I faced my fears, the more comfortable I would feel.

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Recovery from binge eating disorder (BED) is a long haul. The ride is bumpy, frightening, rewarding, and ultimately incomplete, just like all human healing. As a psychotherapist, I have treated BED for over 30 years. I have worked with literally thousands of people who have tried to understand their binge behaviors, and to find some kind of peace with food and the body in which they live. While people at any size can have BED, for those with the disorder who live in bigger bodies, "successful" recovery is often assumed to include weight loss.

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This week, during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I have contemplated a lot about my eating disorder and recovery. I had the honor and pleasure of speaking to more than 450 people over three days and at three public Iowa universities. Many discussions about access to treatment and recovery from eating disorders occurred during this trip.  

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The Yoga and Body Image Coalition is a 2019 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. Check out these articles they are highlighting:

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As a young girl, I never believed it was ever okay to just “come as you are.”

I became really used to wishing I was different and hoping that I could shrink my personality, my mind, and my body to a stature that would be loveable. Little did I know, I was always worthy of being loved.

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