National Eating Disorders Association
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Yoga, with its tenets of peacefulness, self-compassion, mindfulness, and self- empathy, both empowers and enhances recovery from eating disorders and body image despair. Yoga promotes harmony within and strengthens the relationship with the body through physical poses (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), non-harmful self-care (ahimsa), and meditation,

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.

The biggest lie that Tumblr ever told me was that an androgynous body is a thin body.

As a genderqueer person, someone who doesn’t strictly identify as a man or a woman, I had always craved a more “androgynous body.” I wanted to be a mish-mash of masculinity and femininity, so that when people looked at me, they could not immediately categorize me.

And so I clung to the beautiful photo sets on Tumblr, the ones with impeccably genderless bodies… which all just so happened to be thin.

As someone who engages in community-based radical mental health work, I believe in the power of narratives in the fight against mentalism. Although not everybody has the privilege, capacity, or desire to share their narrative, the narratives that are shared re-shape the social perception of psychological disorders. These narratives force those who are unaffected to view mental illness from a humanizing and empowered perspective.

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.

Conversations surrounding eating disorders, body image, and beauty standards are generally centered on the narratives of straight, cisgender* women. However, these conversations often exclude the experiences of many LGBT people who also struggle with body image concerns and disordered eating.  

We as individuals and as a community have unique needs and concerns, and we often face a multitude of barriers in terms of accessing treatment and feeling at home in a recovery community that should include us and yet often does not.

When I first sought treatment for an eating disorder, I had no idea I was transgender.

When I tell people this, I’m usually met with incredulity. How could you not know you identified as a boy? That seems like something one usually has a pretty good handle on. In my case, I didn’t have the words to express what I was feeling internally. I didn’t know there was such a word for someone whose gender identity doesn’t agree with the gender they were assigned at birth.

The following blog post is sponsored by HealthSherpa.

 

20 million women and 10 million men suffer from an eating disorder at some point during their life. Eating disorders are serious but treatable illnesses that can affect anyone. In 2014, it became less challenging for someone with an eating disorder to access care.

Small waist, long legs, voluminous hair, big breasts. I was programmed to believe these were the ideal traits a girl must have to be deemed valuable. As a child, I was frequently exposed to Barbie, Victoria’s Secret advertisements and novellas —all of which repeatedly perpetuated the same beauty ideal.

It is important to have awareness of disordered eating behaviors (including dieting) because they can be precursors to eating disorders. Disordered eating may include (and is not limited to) a rigid food and exercise regime; feelings of guilt or shame when unable to maintain said regime; a preoccupation with food, body, and exercise that has an impact on quality of life; compulsive eating; compensatory measures to ‘make up for’ food consumed (i.e.:  excessive exercise, food restriction, fasting, purging, and laxative or diuretic use); and weight loss supplement use.

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