For those that don’t know- the week of February 21st-27th is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
Over the past 7ish years this has been something that has a direct effect on myself, my family and my friends. This year, I hope, will be the first year I participate in a NEDA walk in the area- something that I would like to make a tradition. I feel like people in general are getting SO judgemental about others body’s, and it’s even worse when looking at the way people judge themselves. Nobody eats real food anymore and fad diets are basically just eating a normal meal plan instead of things from a box for every meal. “Low-fat” and “Lo-Cal” is plastered against everything in the store and there seems to be some unspoken rule that people should feel ashamed if they have a day of unhealthy food intake. In a time where laziness and crappy food eating is something to brag about I fit in absolutely nowhere. I hate eating at restaurants, going out for dessert, and most of all the looks I get when I say I don’t want a cookie from the tray in the break room or I’d rather eat an apple than a candy bar.
The message I want to send to the public (young, old, middle-aged…) is that what you say to other people about their body is nothing that they haven’t thought themselves before. It makes no difference to you if you judge someone for being overweight or if you choose not to- but to them it could be the one statement that pushes them over the edge. This isn’t true solely for negative comments either; someone that is actively engaged in disordered eating will devour any hint of weight loss or aesthetic appeal. This doesn’t mean I think it’s fine to be overweight, or that we should all just excuse sedentary lifestyles- but rather that it’s our responsibility to focus on ourselves and not on anyone else. Eat well, be active and feel good about yourself. Don’t worry about what anyone else looks like or how you compare athletically to the person next to you in the gym.
For this one week I hope to be able to actually educate some people on the mental battle of eating disorders, and if possible help someone struggling with body image realize that falling into extremes isn’t the answer and will absolutely not make anything better. You’ll end up weak, gaunt, exhausted, depleted of nutrients and load yourself with a lifetime of after effects to deal with.