National Eating Disorders Association

From a young age I was taught to believe that thinner equaled better, and larger equaled lesser. My dance teachers reinforced this, my father reinforced this, and the media reinforced this. Eating disorders are typically associated with thinness, and while that can be some people’s experience, it is not everyone’s. Those of us who may not appear to have an eating disorder still have a valid struggle and it is important to talk about. It is important for our eating disorders to not be dismissed simply because of our size or the number on a scale.

The first time I heard about eating disorders, I was in middle school. Our health class watched a film on the dangers of extreme dieting, and the implications it could have on mental and physical health. I watched intently as the film portrayed the typical narrative of a middle-class Caucasian girl who was on a dangerous path toward starvation. At the time, it was inconceivable to me that I could ever develop an eating disorder. I was just an average sized African-American girl who loved food. 

I want to begin by introducing you to my ex best friend, the scale. During my struggle with an eating disorder, the feeling of being alone was masked by my new companion, someone who would never lie to me—or so I thought. I spent morning, noon, and night checking in with my best friend. If anyone was going to reassure me and tell me I was doing a “good job,” it was my scale. 

In honor of Black History Month, we are applauding some of the incredible members of the Black community who spread positivity one Instagram post at a time. Their messages of hope and love are inspirational to all people, regardless of skin color. 

The beginning of February also marks the beginning of Black History Month, a time to remember pivotal events and people that helped shape the Black community. The countless accomplishments of the community would not have been possible without the unwavering efforts of many persistent and courageous individuals. Here are some examples of Black community members who are continuing to work towards making the world a more equal place through their words of hope and positivity.

Eating disorders have historically been associated with heterosexual, young, white females, but in reality, they affect people from all demographics and they are not caused by any single factor. Misconceptions about who eating disorders affect have real consequences, leading to fewer diagnoses, treatment options, and pathways to help for those who don’t fit the stereotype.

My inspiration for this poem came from a variety of sources. First and foremost, to educate others on how eating habits and body image perspectives can start from a very young age. Most people tend to forget that the mind is constantly shaping and changing itself year after year. Yes, this even means it’s developing for a five-year-old. The surrounding environment and role models that children place themselves with are very important to a long lasting healthy lifestyle as they grow. 

Not long ago, I was sitting in a hospital room by myself wondering how I had once again let myself end up in the situation I was in. It definitely wasn’t my first “rodeo” with anorexia nervosa. You see, I knew what was going to happen. I knew where restriction led me, yet somehow my pattern of behaviors kept repeating themselves. 

It was during this short admission that I started to question why I was still sick and why I wasn’t getting better. 

Whether the kitchen is familiar territory or unmarked terrain, this space may be a minefield for someone in recovery from an eating disorder. While cooking may be challenging, the results go far beyond the dinner plate; empower your recovery and make some yummy food on the way with these five restorative reasons to cook through your recovery!

Empire State BuildingFrom the famed Empire State Building in the east to Los Angeles International Airport’s stylish, 100-foot, glass pylons in the west, more than 90 iconic landmarks in dozens of cities were lit in the signature blue and green colors of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) to put a spotlight on the seriousness of eating disorders.