National Eating Disorders Association
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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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The first time I heard about eating disorders, I was in middle school. Our health class watched a film on the dangers of extreme dieting, and the implications it could have on mental and physical health. I watched intently as the film portrayed the typical narrative of a middle-class Caucasian girl who was on a dangerous path toward starvation. At the time, it was inconceivable to me that I could ever develop an eating disorder. I was just an average sized African-American girl who loved food. 

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In honor of Black History Month, we are applauding some of the incredible members of the Black community who spread positivity one Instagram post at a time. Their messages of hope and love are inspirational to all people, regardless of skin color. 

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The beginning of February also marks the beginning of Black History Month, a time to remember pivotal events and people that helped shape the Black community. The countless accomplishments of the community would not have been possible without the unwavering efforts of many persistent and courageous individuals. Here are some examples of Black community members who are continuing to work towards making the world a more equal place through their words of hope and positivity.

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Eating disorders have historically been associated with heterosexual, young, white females, but in reality, they affect people from all demographics and they are not caused by any single factor. Misconceptions about who eating disorders affect have real consequences, leading to fewer diagnoses, treatment options, and pathways to help for those who don’t fit the stereotype.

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Not long ago, I was sitting in a hospital room by myself wondering how I had once again let myself end up in the situation I was in. It definitely wasn’t my first “rodeo” with anorexia nervosa. You see, I knew what was going to happen. I knew where restriction led me, yet somehow my pattern of behaviors kept repeating themselves. 

It was during this short admission that I started to question why I was still sick and why I wasn’t getting better. 

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At NEDA, we know that eating disorders don’t discriminate against gender, sexuality, class, race, or physical ability. We also know how important it is to hear from a variety of individuals in the eating disorder and recovery community, which is why we have partnered with The Trevor Project on a survey designed to give a voice to young LGBTQ+ people. The Trevor Project is a leading non-profit focused on crisis intervention and suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ youth.

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How much time do you have left here?

By “here,” I mean on Earth.  

Don’t be alarmed. 

I am simply asking you this in existential kind of way, a way that I hope will make you realize that the greatest gift you and I both have is time. 

Think about it. 

We each have only a certain amount of time here on earth. A certain amount of time to live out our best lives, to find out who we were created to be, and to tap into the beautiful gifts bestowed upon us to positively impact the lives around us and the greater world.

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Even if you haven't read any of her novels, you've probably heard of Margaret Wolfe Hungerford’s most famous quote, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” It’s a very simple way of explaining aesthetic relativism after all.

We see aesthetic relativism in modern society, like when a celebrity or classmate from high school is praised for being a great beauty but you don’t find them attractive at all.

In a broader context, countries experience this idea by developing their own beauty standards instead of following the same definition.

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