National Eating Disorders Association

I am a volunteer Navigator with NEDA. What’s great about being a volunteer with NEDA is the freedom to bring ideas to them on how to spread awareness of eating disorders. An initiative I have undertaken is lighting landmarks and buildings around the world blue and green to kick off National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAwareness). Of course NEDA’s home base in NYC has gotten the Empire State Buulding lit for the past three years, but I wanted to take the lightings to cities across the country.

My Inspiration


For a holiday that surrounds itself around a feast, it can get pretty overwhelming. But I know that I can get up, take a breather, call my therapist or dietician and leave a message, or do some other skill that I’ve learned during my journey towards recovery.  This year will be one of the first holiday seasons in a long time where I - Ashtyn- am at the table, around the Christmas tree, singing at Church…and not my eating disorder. There will be no compensating and “saving up” for the feast; there will be no forced eating.

Our country has set aside holidays for giving thanks, exchanging gifts, bringing light to a dark time of year. I cherish these ideals. But the actual experiences of the winter holidays often revolve more around food and complicated relationships, busyness and loneliness. Gratitude can seem far away.

Last week, my Pinterest account beckoned me with an alluring collection of pins under the heading, “Thanksgiving goodness without the guilt.” Featured were holiday “clean plates,” a virtual smorgasbord of vegan, raw, and gluten-free meals. 

Part and parcel with Thanksgiving is the inevitable diet talk that ensues. Often, it starts days or weeks before the holiday, as careful eaters strategize about how to conquer the feast with their diets intact. 

Body image. We all have one. We all have an idea in our heads of how we look, in other words, our own body image. We also have thoughts about how attractive or unattractive we perceive our body image to be. How do we come up with our body image? What standards of beauty do we compare our body images to? For our American society, the answers to those questions can be found in the media we consume on a daily basis. 

1. Costumes aren’t such a big deal
Halloween can get stressful trying to figure out what to wear. Focus less on how you look and more about enjoying the festivities! If you don’t like dressing up DON’T! Wear what is going to be comfortable so it does not get in the way of you having a good time!

Yesterday, the internet noticed that Walmart was selling plus-sized costumes under the name “Fat Girl Costumes.” Wow…just wow. The retail giant has since changed their website listing, but the aftershocks of the glaring error continue to be felt. (Thanks to Jezebel for flagging this shameful marketing technique.)

NEDA is incredibly honored and proud to announce the 2014 NEDA Award Winners, presented to individual for their outstanding contributions to the field of eating disorders:

Family members play an integral role in supporting their love one's recovery. During the Friends & Family Kick-Off Dinner to open the NEDA Conference last week in San Antonio, TX, this idea was thoroughly explored through a "Friends & Family" panel discussion.

The event was emceed Thomas P. Britton, DrPH, LPC, LCAS, ACS, CCS  from CRC Health Group and the panel was moderated by NEDA Ambassador and author, Jenni Schaefer, and featured individuals in support and treatment roles:

NEDA is proud to announce the winners of the Feeding Hope Fund grants, whose innovative research projects will also make progress in the ways we treat eating disorders.