National Eating Disorders Association
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The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is committed to providing help and hope to those affected by eating disorders (EDs). The Feeding Hope Fund (FHF) for Clinical Research was established in 2013 in order to support projects that will improve the lives of those affected. Over $1 million in research grants has been awarded for innovative treatment and prevention. In 2018, we received an enormous increase in the amount of applications from 2017, which we believe is a good indication of increasing awareness of this very unique ED funding opportunity. 

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With a few days until the end of the year, New Year's resolutions are on the forefront of many people's minds. I've seen countless lists focused on weight loss, exercise, and huge life changes (I WILL NOT hit snooze! I will call my grandparents EVERY SUNDAY! etc.), and I wanted to create a list that was a bit different. These are my five New Year's resolutions for people in recovery:

1. Start a gratitude list

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This New Year's Eve I had some flashbacks.

When most people think about New Year's Eve, they think of attractive people laughing in glee, throwing pink streamers in the air and making out. They think of rom com fantasies of meeting the love of your life in Times Square and crying over how, like, cute this moment totally is. But most of my New Year's Eve memories do not fall in this category. Most of my memories connect to my rigorous resolutions and my hope for a more perfect new year of follow-through.

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Eating disorders have always played a central role in my life. For so many years, an eating disorder dominated my every thought and feeling. No matter what I did or where I went, it accompanied me like an unwanted shadow, turning every life event into a battle against food and my body. I longed for the day when my mind would be free from the struggle, when my relationship with food could be sustainably controlled, when my body would finally look like I always wanted it to and when I could be sure it would stay that way forever.

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For most, the holidays are the most magical, joyful time of the year. For those recovering from an eating disorder, however, this time of year can be the most anxiety-filled. Although the focus around food is the most obvious culprit, what’s less known is that certain gifts—that are well-intentioned—can evoke negative emotions, or even be triggers. Here’s a little holiday help in buying for someone in recovery. A little extra sensitivity goes a long way. 

GIFTS TO AVOID.

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When I first stumbled across NEDA on their Instagram page, I was sitting in a psychology lecture in my university. The name had popped up a couple of times before, but when I started to actually research what the organization was all about I knew immediately: I had to apply! I had never known such a thing existed, a non-profit organization of that size specifically tackling the topic of eating disorders, neither in Germany nor anywhere else in the world. When, a few weeks later, I officially got accepted to become a NEDA Helpline intern, I knew my internship was going to be special.  

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I was in my junior year of college when I decided I needed some more hands-on professional experience. Having witnessed two of my closest friends struggle with body image concerns and eating disorders, I was naturally drawn to apply to become a NEDA Helpline volunteer. 

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It’s the holiday season! In New York, it’s the time of year where bright lights twinkle and greet you as you walk down the street. Crowds of people gather to look at the stunning tree in Rockefeller Center. After walking a few frigid blocks, you dip into a cute coffee shop to grab a hot chocolate. Cradling your own little heater, you head over to Bryant Park to enjoy the offerings the cute shops provide, and maybe a little ice skating, if you aren’t a total klutz like me. The atmosphere, energy, and the bright lights bring the city alive during this time of year. 

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At 10 years old, I lost my mom to cancer. My dad moved us from where we’d lived for almost five years back home to be closer to relatives who could help, since he was now a single dad. I didn’t know how to process my mom’s death or the move. I don’t think anyone expects a kid or an adult to know how to process losing a parent, and my dad did the absolute best he could. Unfortunately, as the youngest child, I got preferential treatment during the grieving process. My dad would often tell my older brother and sister to go easy on me.

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Why do I do karate? I’ve wanted to do a martial art since I was a kid, but my mother’s strict no-violence policy wouldn’t allow it. In college, decreased parental supervision enabled me to finally live the dream. At least, that’s what I tell people. It’s not untrue, but it’s not the whole truth either.

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