National Eating Disorders Association

“Dear Melody” is an advice column by Dr. Melody Moore, a clinical psychologist, yoga instructor, and the founder of the Embody Love Movement Foundation. Her foundation is a non-profit whose mission is to empower girls and women to celebrate their inner beauty, commit to kindness, and contribute to meaningful change in the world. Dr. Moore is a social entrepreneur who trains facilitators on how to teach programs to prevent negative body image and remind girls and women of their inherent worth.

Halloween is right around the corner. While the smell of cinnamon and carving pumpkins can be exciting, costumes are sometimes a cause of offense. In previous years, Halloween costumes have had a tendency to veer more toward offensive than fun by parodying race, religion, mental illness, gender, and disabilities. As you start to pick out your costume, keep these things in mind.

When I think back to my high school years, it was a series of rituals. The same foods, the same habits, the same clothes; everything was a routine because in my mind, that’s when things were in control. The truth is, I was anything BUT in control. 

Today marks PACER’s 2017 Unity Day! Now is a time to unite for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion, and pledge to create a world without bullying. When we stand together, no one stands alone!

Below, three of our writers shared their experiences with bullying, as well as tips on how to protect yourself. 

Three out of my 16 years of life were spent in my eating disorder. It was a silent battle—I appeared as smiley as ever, even through the weeks of being too nauseated to eat, let alone function properly. It wasn’t that I was unloved; I’ve always had a loving, supportive family and solid friends around me. It was for this very reason that I couldn’t share my struggles. I loved and cared for them so deeply that I was willing to keep my pain to myself instead of bringing pain to them.

Leon Silvers is a psychotherapist, founder, and director of Silvers Psychotherapy, a group therapy practice in NYC. He specializes in working with clients with eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, and LGBT issues.

I've noticed a tremendous inconsistency throughout my years of eating disorder treatment. When I was in treatment for anorexia nervosa purging type, one of the first parts of my recovery was weight restoration. I felt like before I even got into the work of dissecting how/where my eating disorder started, I was required to gain weight.

People often assume that dance training is at odds with the ideals of body positivity. I can understand why – at the professional level, dance has a longstanding reputation of requiring a very narrow ideal body shape and size and dance class can often focus on physical shortcomings. That said, I am a dance teacher, and I believe in the power of body positivity. I believe in its power to inspire young people and to train better, stronger dancers.

Eating disorders disproportionately affect members of the LGBTQ+ community and bullying can serve as one factor in the development of an eating disorder. As a whole, LGBTQ+ young people are more likely to experience bullying at school, sexual harassment, cyberbullying, and property damage. 

The value of relationships cannot be understated. The relationship the patient has with their bodies and their health care providers are two of the most crucial. So many have felt isolated and ashamed and being able to step into a truly "judgment-free zone" with a provider can be life changing. When a patient leaves the office with an inclusive, engaging care plan, there is a visible lightness about them! With that lightness comes long-term positive changes in health. 

Here are four ways that you, as a provider, can create a safe space for patients: