National Eating Disorders Association

As a young girl, I never believed it was ever okay to just “come as you are.”

I became really used to wishing I was different and hoping that I could shrink my personality, my mind, and my body to a stature that would be loveable. Little did I know, I was always worthy of being loved.

Dance has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Even before my first dance class at three years old, I often spent my days running around my house on my tiptoes in a sparkly pink tutu and tiny ballet slippers. I used my bedside rail as a ballet barre, and I wanted nothing more than to be a ballerina. 

About four years ago, I came out of a doctor’s office with my first diagnosis: fibromyalgia. It was the first of a laundry list of conditions we discovered I had during the course of my eating disorder recovery. Some of my conditions were exacerbated by my eating disorder and some (such as my thyroid issues) were a direct result of it. Two years later, I found the autistic and broader disability community and began identifying as disabled. 

“It is imperative that any education efforts around food and nutrition include eating disorders prevention and assessment for every child independent of weight status.” Chevese Turner, NEDA’s Chief Policy and Strategy Officer. 

As someone who found community and healing through documenting my mental health recovery on social media, the question  I’ve taught myself to come back to in advocacy work is, “Is this all I can do to help the cause, or can I do something more?” 

Diet culture and fatphobia perpetuate eating disorders and can make full recovery impossible. They create an environment in which we, as the brilliant Deb Burgard has said, prescribe and encourage the same behaviors for fat people that we diagnose and treat as eating disordered in thin people (which also results in missing or even encouraging eating disorders in people of higher weight).

Instagram has always been a place for exploring your passions, sharing your interests, and connecting with the people and things you love. We want you to feel comfortable to express yourself, and to feel enriched and empowered as an individual by what you experience. 

Sometimes, however, the content you see on social media can make you feel pressured to present a perfect or unrealistic version of your life — or maybe you find yourself comparing your life and body to others.

What does body acceptance and eating disorder recovery mean to me? Every day is a challenge. My old habits still linger and the hurtful thoughts are always in the back of my mind. I have to remember all the accomplishments that got me to this beautiful point I’m at right now in life. When I finally accepted my body for the beauty it is, I didn’t care if it had an embarrassing scar or an imperfection on it. I am thankful for every flaw and curve that I have!

Special thanks to NEDAwareness Week sponsor Veritas Collaborative for sponsoring this blog post.

Editor’s note: Family Based Treatment (FBT) is one of many effective, evidence-based treatments for eating disorders. Treatment is not a one-size-fits-all approach; it should be tailored to the individual and will vary according to both the severities of the disorder and the patient’s particular problems, needs, and strengths. Click here to learn more about the