National Eating Disorders Association

Marcela Sabiá is a 26-year-old Brazilian illustrator who loves dogs, astrology, and creating art that makes the world a better place. She first started creating art professionally in 2015, and now, nearly three years later, she boasts an Instagram following of over 20,000. We chatted with Marcela about her art, her feminist awakening, and what she’d tell young women who are struggling with body image issues or eating disorders. Check out our interview below!

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In kindergarten, my mother helped me put together an elaborate project about butterflies. When my turn arrived to present to the class, I cowered behind my teacher, absolutely terrified of the dozens of pairs of eyes on me. This pattern continued throughout school—even during my college years. I was so afraid of my perceived flaws that I kept my ideas to myself and starved my body in the futile quest of achieving perfection. 

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As a teenager, I’d often be in a group with other girls when the subject of our bodies would come up. My friends traded anecdotes on which aspects of their body they loved least, and what was wrong with them. Because I didn’t chime in, most people assumed I had fantastic self-confidence.

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There’s been no lack of speculation about the effects of social media on body image and eating disorder recovery. On one hand, social media has fostered a diverse and vibrant body-positive and recovery community. On the other, social media often serves as a platform for anonymous bullying and face-and-body-altering filters. 

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I have been practicing psychotherapy for close to 18 years now. In this time, I’ve focused most of my work on the treatment of eating disorders. Having suffered with an eating disorder in high school, prevention, education, and treatment have become my passion. 

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"Dear KJ" is a monthly advice column by Dr. Kjerstin "KJ" Gruys, sociologist, author and body image activist. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology with a focus on the politics of appearance and is the author of Mirror Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body By Not Looking at It for a Year (Avery Press, 2012).

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to take up space - literally and figuratively.

I am a therapist, and I specialize in women’s issues; therefore, this topic leads me to think about women and the cultural messages we receive about claiming space in the world. I use female pronouns and refer to women as a result, but rest assured that anyone could relate to this concept. 

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A picture is worth a thousand words, but what about the words themselves? For people who have struggled with an eating disorder, words can play a huge role in whether or not they engage in ED behaviors. Words and language are such critical elements of our relationships and interactions, and it sucks when they continually chip away at our psyches. 

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“Monthly Matters with 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.

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Five years ago, my body image was terrible. I was in the midst of completing my undergraduate degree, living in Canada and eating out or ordering in a LOT. I wasn’t doing any self-care; I didn’t even know what self-care was back then. 

My life was so full of drama and I was going through a pretty significant depression. I lacked the energy to cook, so I ate out three to four times a week. School ended, seasons changed and I was doing a little better emotionally, and by summer of 2011, I launched into full diet mode. I was obsessively counting points and calories. 

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