This week is Eating Disorder Awareness week. For those of you who haven't been diagnosed with an eating disorder, you may wonder what this has to do with you. Chances are, quite a bit. For example (and I take all of these stats from nedaawareness.org):
1. "In the United States alone, 30 million people will be impacted by an eating disorder at some point in their lifetime." - You or someone you know is likely suffering or will suffer.
2. "Research shows that 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting and of those, 20-25% continue on to develop partial or full-syndrome eating disorders." - while dieting is often considered an innocent attempt to improve health, many ignore the damage to physical health, and more importantly, mental health.
3. "For example, 46% of 9-11 year-olds are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets and 35-57% of adolescent girls engage in crash dieting, fasting, self-induced vomiting, diet pills, or laxatives." - eating disorders are already on the rise, and have steadily increased since the 1950s. They are no longer uncommon, in fact they are all too common. That's go to stop. While the causes are many, positive body talk with our young children while modeling healthy behaviors and thought processes with food and exercise is essential.
In my experience, disordered eating is possibly even more common than clinically diagnosed eating disorders. There is a spectrum of behavior here ranging from food fear, dieting to full-fledged and life threatening eating disorders...all of which lead to giving our power away to food. Let's take that power back. We all deserve a life free from fear or anxiety about food. So wherever you are on that spectrum, please know that a full recovery IS possible. It's hard, like REALLY hard, but the effort is so very worth it. Never settle for a partial recovery.
The theme for this week is "I didn't know..." which I feel COULD NOT BE MORE APPROPRIATE. Eating disorders usually start innocently enough, so awareness is key. That's why I'm here. I'm passionate about making peace with food and building self-trust. I really hope you will share this important and timely message.
Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD