The theme of this year’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is “Everybody Knows Somebody”. Disordered eating and negative body image affects so many people that we all know somebody (or know somebody who knows somebody) who has been impacted. Sadly, though, those who are struggling through the cycle of distorted thoughts, painful feelings, and disordered behaviors, often feel like they are alone.
There is still such secrecy, guilt, and shame around disordered eating. I have even heard those in other recovery communities say, “Well, it’s not as hard as overcoming a drug addiction. You just start eating more (or less).” But, as those of us who have struggled know, IT IS NOT ABOUT FOOD OR WILLPOWER. The underlying root of disordered eating and body image is a general feeling of low self-worth, a difficulty tolerating painful emotions, and an emotional or spiritual emptiness that is (very temporarily) filled by bingeing oneself into emotional numbness or controlling and restricting calories. Addressing the emptiness, the distress tolerance, and the low self-worth are complicated issues…BUT, they can be worked on with a caring counselor. There is hope, even if it’s not as easy as “just eating more or less”.
All it would take is for each of us to reach out to one or two people and we could drastically reduce the number of individuals who feel isolated and alone in their struggles. So, I’m inviting each of you today to do something to reach out this week. Think about a person you know who is struggling. Consider sitting with them and saying, “You know, this week I read a blog post about disordered eating. I wonder if you might like to read it, too.” Then send them the link to this blog. It’s as simple as that.
Other resources you might want to share include:
“Life Without Ed” by Jenni Schaefer with Thom Rutledge
“Goodbye Ed, Hello Me” by Jenni Schaefer
“Beating Ana: How to Outsmart Your Eating Disorder and Take Your Life Back” by Shannon Cutts
“Embracing Fear” by Thom Rutledge
“Getting Out of B.E.D.: Overcoming Binge-Eating Disorder One Day at a Time” by Megan Bartlett (okay…so you knew I’d include this one!)
Take a few moments to reach out to someone this week because “Everybody Knows Somebody”.
Peace, hope in recovery, health, and joy.