February 26th -- March 4th: National Eating Disorder Awareness Week
Happy NEDA Week!
The purpose of this international awareness week is to not only raise awareness about the reality of eating disorders but to fight the myths and misunderstandings that surround them.
According to NEDA, 30 million Americans will struggle with a full-blown eating disorder and millions more will battle food and body image issues that have untold negative impacts on their lives.
This is a universal issue.
Regardless of your age, race, gender, sexual orientation or background, eating disorders can affect anyone. They also cannot be easily compared to one another – each case is different and unique to that individual. What is communal, however, are the feelings or thoughts that one can experience. Feelings of never being enough. By increasingly raising awareness about this issue and having open conversations this week, those struggling can start their journeys to healing and realize they are enough.
There are two ongoing themes for NEDA Week this year through Project HEAL and NEDA - NEDA’s theme is “Let’s Get Real” and Project HEAL’s theme is “#MyHealthyBodyCan.” Both of these themes serve to expand online conversation, highlight stories you don’t often hear and challenge society’s traditional definition of the term “healthy.” Both of these themes overlap with my experience and the #FuelYourWhyProject.
I had to get real about recovery. I had to change the internal narrative. I had to redefine my purpose - my why.
It took me a while to realize recovery was possible, but it is. Unfortunately the process isn’t linear and there will be a number of setbacks and obstacles, but it’s truly all a part of the process. However, learning from those setbacks and continually pushing forward is the way you will see progress and success.
Along this recovery process, I not only had to overcome the behavioral issues I was facing, but I also had to challenge my mindset and mentality. When I was in the depths of my eating disorder, I always referred to the term "healthy" as a body that was fit or thin. Now being recovered, I refer to that term as a body and mindset that is capable, appreciated and cared about. Instead of defining my body’s purpose for what it looked like, I had to redefine my body’s purpose of what it does for me.
My healthy body can help me walk effortlessly.
My healthy body can help me run – and run a full marathon, nonetheless.
My healthy body can withstand the intense workload I face on a daily basis.
These statements may sound elementary to some, but to others these tasks may not be easy things to do. Making these realizations and acknowledging these affirmations made all the difference in my recovery. Take care of your body, it's the only place you have to live.
Some days it shines, some days it pours but that is how flo(we)rs grow.
If you're struggling or know someone struggling, visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org to learn more about resources that you can utilize online or in an area near you.