National Eating Disorders Association

“Dear Melody” is a monthly advice column by Dr. Melody Moore, a clinical psychologist, yoga instructor and the founder of the Embody Love Movement Foundation. Her foundation is a non-profit whose mission is to empower girls and women to celebrate their inner beauty, commit to kindness and contribute to meaningful change in the world. Dr. Moore is a social entrepreneur who trains facilitators on how to teach programs to prevent negative body image and remind girls and women of their inherent worth.

The holidays can be a difficult time for anyone. Amidst the busyness and changing of routine and weather, it’s easy for us to struggle to maintain that holiday cheer we are expected to embody every single day. It’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to set aside time for yourself. Enjoying the holiday season begins with you and your well-being.

We asked members of the NEDA community to share their words of hope and encouragement for those who are struggling this holiday season. Here's what they had to say:

En el mundo de hoy, nos encontramos bombardeados con información sobre cómo debemos cuidar nuestros cuerpos. Constantemente vemos los últimos ejercicios, diferentes tipos de planes de comidas, opciones de alimentos, rutinas de ejercicios, etc. y, a veces, es difícil mantenerse al día.

In today's world, we find ourselves bombarded with information about how we should take care of our bodies. We constantly see the latest exercises, different kinds of meal plans, food options, workout routines, etc. and sometimes it’s hard to keep up. 

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is proud to announce its fifth annual Feeding Hope Fund for Clinical Research grant recipients. Aiming to close the gap in the severely underfunded field of eating disorders (ED) research & treatment, NEDA has awarded $1.3 million to date. Funding for ED research is severely lacking despite having the highest mortality rate of any mental illness but, with these grants, NEDA is making progress towards the advancement of treatment options and prevention projects. 

As a dancer, I am acutely aware of the comments that are thrown my way regarding dancers and weight. While these comments no longer faze me, as they seem to have unfortunately become a norm, they are still disheartening to hear because they are unnecessary. And that’s just it: these comments are made simply for no reason other than to make a joke at the expense of someone else, and to jump to conclusions about the generalized size and lifestyle. 

For many of us, the holidays can be a difficult time. Whether you are visiting your family for winter break or you live with your parents, the hyper-focus on food and body image during this time can be hard to navigate.

Many people look forward to the winter holiday season for time off to relax and be with loved ones. For others, this time of year brings an influx of complicated feelings. For those of us struggling with body image and an unhealthy relationship with food, already aggravated by how central food becomes during the holidays, the pressure to spend time with family can be overwhelming. 

Planning a wedding can be stressful at times—says every person I’ve ever met. The details, the pressure to please everyone, and the expectations we create are things that cause us to stress out at moments. Yet, for me, planning a wedding brought along an entirely different set of worries on top of the common ones. I had to plan a wedding with one goal in mind: to stay strong in my eating disorder recovery. 

Even if you haven't read any of her novels, you've probably heard of Margaret Wolfe Hungerford’s most famous quote, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” It’s a very simple way of explaining aesthetic relativism after all.

We see aesthetic relativism in modern society, like when a celebrity or classmate from high school is praised for being a great beauty but you don’t find them attractive at all.

In a broader context, countries experience this idea by developing their own beauty standards instead of following the same definition.