National Eating Disorders Association
Blog

In my job as a fat activist, people like to fling links at me that they think disprove the things I am saying. 

When the planets align in just the right way and the whim strikes me, I’ll dig into their links and see if there’s anything there. I haven’t been flung a worthwhile one yet, but I’m open to new experiences. And I want to teach you how to do it too so you can have a better idea of how to sort out the good information from the bad. 

My journey with NEDA began after my daughter and I attended our first NEDA Walk in St. Louis shortly after she was discharged from her first treatment stay.  I remember the joy in knowing that all the people there knew exactly how I felt.  I was trying to learn all I could about eating disorders when I discovered NEDA and the Walks.  I decided I wanted to be a part of a Walk in Indianapolis.  

I decided to test out my theory that the world can be changed through conversation. I sent out one hundred letters to one hundred different people who have positively impacted this world. In each letter, I simply asked for them to chat with me over coffee about the change they have made. Claire Mysko, the CEO of NEDA was an obvious choice because of her inspiring work with body positivity! 

I’ve wanted to talk about my body image struggles and my blindness in a correlating way for sometime now. Many people don’t realize that just because I can’t see well, doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with what I do see or feel. I don’t blame my blindness for my past eating disorder, but it has played a role in my body challenges. 

Thank you to Alsana for sponsoring this blog post.

What was it like to be me growing up?  Eye-opening.  

It all started around age fourteen, when I began feeling self-conscious about my body. I was always the tall, lanky kid that was horrible at sports but a great talker and an even better writer. I guess you could say, I was a good observer. 

So, what did fourteen-year-old Makaila observe? That she was losing sight of herself. 

One of my professors, on the first day of class, pulled up on the projector a list of 50 words. Authenticity; Justice; Integrity; Inner Harmony; Productivity; Independence; Love; Family.  

Core values. Values that highlight what we stand for, that guide our behaviors and our decisions and our actions. Values that guide our lives.   

“I want you to take a few moments,” my professor said, “and read over these words. Think about them and what they mean to you; what they evoke in you. And then write down your top ten.” 

NEDA is excited to share how NEDA Network member, Ophelia's Place, thinks outside the box to raise awareness around eating disorders and body image issues in its community, while at the same time finding a means of sustaining the organization so its important work can continue. We would love to hear how others are building community and sustainability, and hope this post prompts some other great ideas!

 

30 Million Americans will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their life and 10 million of those are men, a number that I think is extremely underrepresented due to the stigmas that surround mental health and men. Eating disorders in men is something you hear far too little about, but it’s something I am far too familiar with. And thanks to NEDA taking steps to spread awareness of not only eating disorders in general but men in particular, the word is beginning to spread.

I was 22 when I was a diagnosed with an eating disorder, although my eating disorder tendencies began long before then. Like many other courageous individuals, I sought treatment, even though I was in complete denial. Unlike many others, I did not have a family circle filled with support; people with whom I could speak openly and candidly about the difficulties, fears, and sorrows of the recovery process. 

And, as I recover, I am learning that my story is different. And that is SO okay. 

Pages