Let’s Talk About It: Eating Disorders

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and the theme is “It’s Time to Talk About It.” I find this extremely appropriate because isn’t that one of the reasons why eating disorders are so dominant in today’s society? Because people don’t talk about it enough. Eating disorders is a taboo subject and it shouldn’t be.

Living in a college environment, I’ve noticed that eating disorders are a lot more prevalent than one might think. After all, more than 10 million women and one million men are struggling with anorexia and bulimia. There’s the terror behind gaining the “Freshman 15,” stress from a typical college student life that doesn’t always let kids learn about how to live a healthy lifestyle, and the pressure to please others. But with movements like Operation Beautiful, Fat Talk Free Week and National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, students are starting to realize that it’s okay to talk about the shady subjects. People need to understand that eating disorders are illnesses — not choices people make — and movements like these help foster that knowledge. 

This does not determine how awesome you are. Image via Flickr user Wader

I try to provide outlets to those who have been affected by an eating disorder as well, so I’ve opened up my blog space a few times for my friend, Mike, to talk about his battle with anorexia. One of the hardest parts for him was not always having the support he needed, so it turned into a mental battle that consumed his daily life. By talking about it, he helped relieve the inner tension and remember how amazing he really is.

Mike = talented writer and fantastic friend.

I’ve also spotted Active Minds at Oswego State various times across campus this week, providing educational material for students along with bookmarks and inspirational boxes. I filled mine with a ton of messages that remind me of why I love myself, so I can look through whenever I feel negative thoughts bombarding me.

Pretty nifty, huh?

Not to mention Operation Beautiful is beginning to take over this campus. I’ve walked in on quite a few Post-It notes the last few months and can’t help but smile whenever I see one. I’m hoping a few ladies have gotten some joy out of the message I’ve left for them, too.

Capture it, remember it.

If you’re looking for a few good reads pertaining to eating disorders, I recommend:

I read each book after having them recommended from a friend who struggles with bulimia and another who suffered from anorexia. Both say they’re on-point and help nourish understanding, and I found them to be very helpful in my personal understanding of an eating disorder as I have not struggled with one myself.

I strive to be healthy from the inside out every day and hope that anyone who reads this blog will do the same. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Are you talking about eating disorders this week?


Posted on February 23, 2011, in Exercise, Food, Mental Health, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. “People need to understand that eating disorders are illnesses — not choices people make.”

    This is so true. Having lived with anorexia and bulimia for 10 years, hearing and reading so many things suggesting that EDs are “diets gone too far” or “choices” we can “snap out of” is frustrating. It increases the stigma attached to EDs and compels suffers to stay silent.

    Thanks for speaking out!

  2. I loved when you talked about what inspired you and showed us the Operation Beautiful project. I’ve never heard of it before and think it is a great movement. And the idea of your box is fantastic. Sometimes it seems like we are our worst critics and that’s a great way to remind ourselves in a split second that we are important and loved. I like how you are showing all sides off the issues when it comes to fitness: how to get fit and what it means to not be fit, including eating disorders.

  3. I also think it is great that you bring up the fact that being skinny is not being healthy. These eating disorders are not a way for one to become fit, rather they are a sickness. This is an important point to stress because those who do not eat, or have a calorie intake high enough to sustain an active life, cause negative effects to their bodies and minds. It is sad to think that so much pressure exists for every one to fit into the tine ideal of what beautiful and fit really are.

  4. I, too, have seen many of the Operation Beautiful post-its around campus (in particular in the campus center). I smiled when I walked by them because, let’s face it: it is hard to feel good about yourself when you are bombarded by images and ideas in the media that say, hey, beautiful girl, guess what–you’re not as beautiful as you thought, but these 105 lb. girls are!! And we are taught to not only be jealous, but to do whatever we must to strive to be the same! If half of those girls were healthy, it wouldn’t be an issue. If that “beauty” wasn’t backed by illness, depression, and isolation, it wouldn’t be an issue. But this is a truth we must confront in this society: that skinny isn’t the only type of beautiful!! I think it is great that you have posted your support and outlets for people to not only realize their potential, but seek the help they need. Great post, Sam.

  5. It’s wonderful – all that you are doing here. I appreciate your notion of an ED being a medical issue. We don’t talk about ‘it’ enough because apart from changes in physical health (that, more often than not, those who are unfamiliar with EDs will account to something other than the ED itself) ‘it’ is virtually invisible. It makes me sad, knowing that there are sufferers out there (admittedly, like myself) who have no outlet. We all need to vent – ED or otherwise – and unless people BELIEVE us (I don’t care if you understand me), than our cries go unheard. Thanks for speaking out on behalf of the observers who truly try to understand.

  1. Pingback: Operation Beautiful Covers Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ « The Pulse

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