This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. The theme for the year is “Everybody Knows Somebody.”
- The peak onset of eating disorders occurs during puberty and the late teen/early adult years, but symptoms can occur as young as kindergarten.
- As many as 10 million females and 1 million males in the U.S. are battling eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Approximately 15 million more are struggling with binge eating disorder. Millions more struggle with negative body image and disordered eating.
- Eating disorders affect people from all walks of life, including those with a disability, people of all ages, boys and men, and individuals of all races and ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses and sexualities.
- According to the National Institute of Mental Health, eating disorders are serious illnesses with a biological basis modified and influenced by emotional and cultural factors. They are not lifestyle choices.
- Eating disorders are treatable, yet Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Education and awareness are critical to early intervention and direction to treatment
Our world is so messed up about bodies and appearance now. We all think that if we find the one-size-fits-all diet fix we’ll have perfect lives. We’re all unique individuals with unique needs. The amount and types of food/exercise one person needs is not the same as the next person, or the next, or the next.
In honor of this week, I would like to issue the following challenges:
- Don’t engage in negative self-talk. Putting yourself down doesn’t help anyone, especially you.
- Pay attention to how you talk about food and exercise. You shouldn’t “HAVE” to do a workout and you shouldn’t “BURN OFF” things you ate. You don’t need to “SAVE CALORIES” or “MAKE UP” for a previous meal/snack. And despite what every magazine cover screams, you’ll never get any kind of body part that belongs to someone else because you are an individual.
- Say one nice thing about yourself each morning.
- Don’t bash anyone else’s appearance.
- If you feel like posting something negative on one of your social networks (Facebook/Twitter/etc.) stop and think if you can re-frame it into a positive.
- Embrace your uniqueness… it’s what makes you YOU!
I hope you all have a wonderful week. Remember, we all have the power to spread more positive and accepting messages. Just think of the power that could have on the world if everybody would do that more frequently.