National Eating Disorders Association

“To the people who love you, you are beautiful already. This is not because they’re blind to your shortcomings but because they so clearly see your soul.” — Victoria Moran, “Lit From Within: Tending Your Soul For Lifelong Beauty

While Valentine’s Day has been celebrated in various ways for centuries, no one knows exactly how it started. One popular account credits St. Valentine, a man who was imprisoned for performing forbidden marriages in ancient Rome. During his imprisonment, he became a healer.

Once again, the Biggest Loser is drawing criticism after the announcement of season 15 winner, Rachel Frederickson. According to the show, Frederickson lost nearly 60% of her body weight over the course of the season. Now fans and critics alike are taking to the internet to sound the alarm that her extreme weight loss is a dangerous example of the show's unhealthy promotion of excessive weight loss and exercise.

In 2010, the family of a 14-year-old girl who was suffering from anorexia filed a complaint against health insurance giant Cigna for denying coverage for the nutritional counseling her doctors deemed necessary. This complaint, and many others like it, prompted the New York Attorney General’s office to launch an investigation into some of Cigna’s practices.

Dr. Thomas Insel has been shaking up the world of mental and behavioral health for over thirty years. He has had an eclectic career and has studied everything from drug therapy for OCD to the biology of bonding in rodents. As the longest-serving Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Insel has outlined new priorities for the field and updated the infrastructure of the organization to emphasize neuroscience and genetics research.

When you’re struggling with an eating disorder and body dysmorphia, you and your body literally live on two different planets, you’re so far apart, so disconnected, so estranged.

You probably believe your body is ugly, repulsive, basically just a thing that’s connected to your head. A thing you don’t like or want and would give away in a heartbeat.

I’ve been there. I know exactly how it feels.

When I want to spice up my writing, I turn to Kathleen Adams'  Journal to the Self: Twenty-Two Paths to Personal Growth.  Adams writes in the preface, “...this book approaches journal writing from the standpoint of techniques—different ways to write that will not only add variety but can also help maximize the clarity and effectiveness of the journal.”  Using the List of 100 technique islike taking an elevator a few layers down inside me, where the doors open into surprising new ideas. 


Reprinted, with permission, from Judy Avrin of Someday Melissa. Originally posted January 9, 2014

It is with great peace that I share the news that the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is now the exclusive distributor of Someday Melissa.

This week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged several weight-loss companies with fraud and, to be honest, it’s about time. The products in question – Sensa Products, L’Occitane, HCG Diet Direct and Lean Spa – are just a handful of the hundreds of these types of companies that are peddling products that can contribute to the development of an eating disorder. 

About ten years ago, I got intensely interested in the complex world of eating disorders after reading a newspaper article about a teenage boy with anorexia—which shocked me, because I’d had no idea boys or men could even get eating disorders.  Of course, this was only my first shock.

I dove into the subject and read everything I could get my hands on—novels, nonfiction books, articles; I watched personal accounts on YouTube, and met with doctors and their former patients.  What I found was something that kept coming up again and again:

The voice in your head.

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” — Maya Angelou

Merriam-Webster defines resolution as determination or a course of active decidedness. When struggling with an eating disorder, self-destructive behaviors can sometimes be mistaken for resolve. However, once you decide to turn toward recovery, resolution and determination shine like brilliant stars, illuminating steps worth taking and the truest form of existing beauty: the authentic, empowered you.