National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2013

It’s almost the end of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2013 and I haven’t even written a blog post about it yet. Since Monday night, I’ve been mourning the death of my beloved cat, Diva, and I guess I just haven’t felt like being an advocate for anyone but myself.

Today, however, I am struck by how supported I have been this whole week. Throughout the process of grieving — with its pain, its memories, its tears, its smiles (yes, smiles) — my family, friends, colleagues, and church have been so supportive. So, perhaps it’s time for me to pass along some of that support to my readers.

The theme of this year’s NEDA Week is the same as last year: “Everybody Knows Somebody”. Among all of your friends, relatives, peers, co-workers (and self), someone is struggling with body dissatisfaction or disordered eating. The National Eating Disorders Association released the following stats:

42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner.

81% of 10 year old girls are afraid of being fat.

70% of 18-30 year old women don’t like their bodies.

60% of those in middle age remain unsatisfied with their bodies.

33% of adolescent males use unhealthy weight control behaviors.

43% of adult men are dissatisfied with their bodies.

If you are someone who diets frequently, you are 12x more likely to binge eat.

The statistics are devastating, so I try not to dwell on them, but instead use them as a motivator for change. Since “everybody knows somebody” who has struggled or is struggling, it’s important for us to take note of those around us who may need our support and do one thing to make a difference:

It may be as simple as expressing your concern about someone.

You may vow to stop referring to yourself in front of your children or your friends as “fat” or “ugly”.

You may choose to write a letter to your politicians if your state does not yet have legislation that mandates insurance companies to cover inpatient treatment for eating disorders.

You may want to tweet or post one of the above stats.

You could send out the link to the National Eating Disorders Association.

You may buy yourself or someone else a copy of my book! (Okay, that’s cheeky of me!)

Whatever you do, do it because “Everybody Knows Somebody” affected by disordered eating and body dissatisfaction.

Peace, joy, and health.

–Megan

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