National Eating Disorders Association

A few years back, I read The Paris Wife, a fictionalized account of Hadley Richardson’s marriage to the famous American author Ernest Hemingway, by Paula McClain. I’ve been in love with Paris ever since visiting that magical city for the first and only time (so far) in 2010. Admittedly, I was much more interested in reading about Paris than Hadley or Hemingway. This book offered me an escape to the beauty, charm, and poetic existence I imagine of Paris. Never did I expect, however, to find the essence of what would become my personal “Recovery Call to Action.”

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When I was younger, I knew I was different from other people. I never understood why, and this led me to try to amend myself to “fit in.” I mirrored appropriate reactions and behaviors and ended up trying to “look like” everybody else. I changed my appearance in ways involving weight and style, becoming obsessed to a level where I made myself sick, counted calories extensively, and exhibited restrictive behaviors. 

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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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My first diet was in second grade, and I remember the day clearly. I had overheard a family friend urge my mom to take me for regular, brisk walks in the neighborhood. Her message was clear: I was chubby and needed to lose weight. I felt embarrassed and internalized her words to mean that I was not good enough. That marked the beginning of my issues with food. 

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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 that struggle with eating and body image issues receive the help that they need to overcome and live happy, healthy lives.

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Recovery from an eating disorder takes a team. That’s why we’re working with Instagram and Project Heal on the #RecoveryHeroes campaign to celebrate all of the people who make recovery possible.

So, we want to hear from you! Who supported you on your journey to recovery? Who do you want to thank for all of their love and inspiration? Join the conversation and help us celebrate the people behind the scenes who make healing possible!

How to Participate:

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I was 15 years old, the sun was shining, and I had just come home from school when my sister told me that she had an eating disorder. The memory remains vivid in my mind. I remember how saddened I was that I had not realized she was suffering. I remember the tears of relief she cried that she was no longer carrying this secret on her own. I remember the fear in her eyes as she contemplated treatment. Most of all, I remember my shock when she told me that she had been experiencing symptoms for more than three years. And no one knew.

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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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After I left treatment, I felt like a misfit. I remember standing in the cereal aisle at the grocery store, completely frozen, unable to think or speak. My eyes slowly moved from box to box as I desperately tried to pick a cereal that didn’t scare me, that wasn’t a threat, that didn’t feel like “too much.” The harder I tried to decide, the more scared and nauseous I became. 

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Chase Bannister is the founder, senior vice president and chief strategy & clinical integrity officer for Veritas Collaborative, a specialty hospital system for the treatment of eating disorders in a gender-diverse and inclusive environment. He is credentialed as a certified eating disorder specialist by the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals and is a licensed clinical social worker.

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