National Eating Disorders Association

Just like every other human emotion and experience, eating disorders are full of color, chemicals, and different combinations. No two experiences are the same.

I am a self-described overachieving perfectionist, who has cared far too much about everything my entire life. The expectations of my generation are that you’ll be brilliant at everything and it’s terribly important to look wonderful. I have always tackled numerous projects and tasks that would prove me worthy of respect and admiration amongst my family, friends, acquaintances, and society. 

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Saturday evenings were gym evenings.

The wind of the air conditioner beat down on my bare shoulders like rays of sun, the fluorescent light glaring above. Most of the time, I struggled to eat three meals, but didn’t want to miss out on going to brunch in the East Village with friends. I worked out constantly to compensate. Still, a nagging voice in my head told me it’s not enough

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Dr. Lesley Williams is a certified eating disorder specialist, family medicine physician, and positive body image advocate. She co-owns Liberation Center, an eating disorder treatment facility, in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Williams is dedicated to ensuring that all women and men who struggle with eating and body image issues receive the help that they need to overcome and live happy, healthy lives.

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I know how anorexia makes you feel. You think she is your best friend; you think she can solve everything. She holds you in the night when you feel alone. She walks down the road with you reassuring you that you are valued. She teaches you how to miss meals and you become a team. A team with a unique bond that no one can break. A team that you believe will lead to an amazing life. A team that completes you. But no – the team will fail! 

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I was 30 years old when I started restricting. It wasn’t a choice or an attempt to lose weight. I had just found out my husband was having an affair. When I confronted him, he left to live 450 miles away and I became a single mum to our two girls, aged 2 and 4. All in the space of a day. My whole world changed and I felt out of control. I’d always lost my appetite due to stress and put my weight loss down to this. I figured it would return soon.  

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I grew up in a very athletic family. Every morning, the first thing we did was go for a run and lift weights. After that, we typically took walks and went water skiing. We were always busy working out and being active. 

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If any of you haven’t already watched Great Big Story’s video about American circus artist Kayla Dyches, “How the Circus Saved My Life,” then you need to go watch it right now! In this inspiring and unique video, Kayla talks about her struggles with anorexia and how her passion for aerial continues to pull her away from her eating disorder. Kayla’s story is one that is simultaneously relatable, empowering, compelling, and unique.

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As many of you already know, and have seen when you walk into either a Starbucks, McDonalds, Applebee’s or even Target’s café, right there next to a food item on the menu is its calorie information.

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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:

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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.

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