National Eating Disorders Association

Our daughter was in high school when, in what seemed like out of nowhere, an eating disorder crept into her life and slowly took over. Gradually it strengthened its insidious hold on her and as it did, it pushed happiness away and her joyful spirit was replaced with emptiness and sadness. It stole our daughter away from us for three-and-a-half years and in so doing, it smothered our family as we grappled with the seriousness of what was happening to her.

Eating disorders can be terrifying, confusing, and, perhaps worst of all, lonely.

First comes the diagnosis, and probably some scary news from the doctor. In our case it was Anorexia Nervosa. Nothing about dealing with it is remotely intuitive. But, with the help of a good medical team, we turned the corner.

NEDAwareness Week 2015 was a huge success! In addition to events across the country, we had buildings and landmarks across the nation light up in recognition of this week. These buildings are not only a light at the end of the tunnel that is an eating disorder for many people, but also an enlightening of the world of the truth about eating disorders. The theme this year, I Had No Idea, is a way for us to all speak about Eating Disorders without fear of not understanding---it is a week dedicated to learning and spreading our knowledge.

This twitter chat focused on young people making change in their communities: spreading awareness, advocating to fight eating disorders, and promoting body positivity. Participants on the chat also explored media activism and self-care.

Missed the February 25, 2015 Twitter Chat about youth activism? Check out the transcript below:

Disordered eating and dangerous weight-loss behaviors have unfortunately become normalized in our culture. Dieting, “clean eating” and compulsive exercise are often precursors to full-blown eating disorders. This discussion will shed light on how our understanding of "health" has gotten so warped and what we can do to reclaim a more balanced perspective. Stacey Rosenfeld, Ph.D., CGP, @drstaceyla; Cristin Runfola, PhD, @crunfola; Jenni Schaefer, Author and NEDA Ambassador, @JenniSchaefer were featured in this important discussion.

February 22-28, 2015 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Nationwide, advocates are paving the way for eating disorders awareness and assistance. In the United States, over 20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from an eating disorder at some time in their life. With these incredible numbers, it is encouraging to know that federal, state and local officials are working hard to gain eating disorders recognition.

Anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge eating disorder affect up to 5% of young women, are associated with high use of medical resources, but often go unrecognized in medical settings. Men with eating disorders are even more likely to elude detection. All physicians should be alert to signs and symptoms of these relatively common behavioral disorders. Most cases respond to specialist treatment, although rates of medical morbidity, functional impairment and mortality are high, especially for anorexia nervosa, which has the highest mortality of any psychiatric condition.

It’s 2015 and dieting is officially passé.  

Instead of counting calories and fat grams, the next generation of disordered eating includes going raw, eating clean, or going gluten-free. Few self-identify as dieters; by now everyone knows that “diets don’t work.” Instead, new and even more draconian methods of food restriction fly under the radar as healthy “lifestyle changes.”

Athletes are at a heightened risk for developing eating disorders. This raises awareness about the unique challenges this population faces and offer tools and advice for athletes,coaches and other fitness professionals.

The internet can be a scary place. I love social media but I also know that it can be full of photos of unattainable bodies, ads for products to make us fit society’s beauty ideals, and people more interested in making hurtful memes than spreading body positivity. It’s easy to get mired in negativity and to feel like there isn’t a place for you in the Kardashian-dominated media landscape that we find ourselves in today.