National Eating Disorders Association

It was only once I recovered from my eating disorder that I began to understand its gravity. I kept some journal entries, various gems left to be uncovered in the margins of my planner, nuggets of wisdom to be siphoned from my notes app of those years. I was in college, but it probably started before that. It’s no coincidence that I don’t actually know what came first: my eating disorder or my queer awakening. I revisited those archives: the journal entries, notes, nuggets, and scrawls, and tied them together into this list.

This week, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is celebrating National Volunteer Week. We are highlighting the importance of volunteerism by celebrating the individuals and families who come together to support NEDA throughout its different programs and services.

The Yoga and Body Image Coalition (YBIC) has been a long-time Partner in Change. This blog round-up, in honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness (#NEDAwareness) Week 2022, highlights how the practice of yoga can be an integral component in the effective treatment of and ongoing recovery from eating disorders and disordered eating.

Our field is Seeing the Change because of the collective action taken over the last twenty years by many individuals and organizations. In celebration of the organizations that have helped pave the way for eating disorder treatment, research, and advocacy, and who strive to push the field to continue to grow and change for the better, we have gathered some reflections and perspectives from just a few of the many organizations who have played a role:

ANAD (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders)

Black girls don't have eating disorders. 

That lie reverberated throughout my adolescence and young adulthood. There were no words for one's struggle with purging. Or to name and discuss the excessive nighttime eating that comforted after the stress of a longtime day was done. Or to describe my relationship with food when my desire is not to be thin, just to carry a little less of me. There is no way we could have an eating disorder. That was reserved for White girls. 

Editor's Note - CW: Physical/Mental Abuse 

I have debated back and forth about writing this because it could be shared with thousands of people. I have always been ashamed of my story but I think it’s now the right time to share it. I hope even a single part of this will spark someone else to own their story as well. 

Preventing eating disorders is of the utmost importance. This is because not only are eating disorders incredibly impairing, but there is also a very wide treatment gap that exists once individuals develop these problems.

On behalf of the NEDA Board of Directors and staff team, thank you for joining us to celebrate, share, and raise awareness during NEDAwareness Week 2022!  

Looking back on when I first received treatment for my eating disorder as a teenager, my memory is riddled with thoughts of “I’m not sick enough” and "Is my struggle not as bad?”. I was unaware of the paradoxical twist of worries that I was not struggling enough, and therefore did not deserve help, even though I "followed the demands" of my eating disorder. I followed the eating disorder so much that I refused help for long stretches of time and deeply suffered during my many self-exiles.

From endless conversations around food and diets, to seeing family members who may invoke unpleasant emotions, Thanksgiving and the holiday season can be an incredibly difficult time for people struggling with body image and eating concerns.