Eating Disorder Awareness Week is February 1 - 7, 2018. This week-long event takes place in countries and communities around the world each year. The aim is to increase awareness about what eating disorders are, what they are not, what can be done to stop them, and how they can be prevented. In British Columbia, the focus of the campaign is “love our bodies, love ourselves”. In our appearance-and thinness-obsessed culture, it can be a real struggle for people to accept themselves as they are. But without that acceptance, we can develop a poor body image and find it increasingly difficult to take good care of our physical and emotional needs.
We can all benefit from evaluating how we talk to ourselves about our bodies and how we relate to others. Eating Disorder prevention efforts can be as simple - and important - as changing how we compliment our friends and loved ones. Rather than saying, “You look great,” or, “Wow! Have you lost weight?” we can shift the focus from appearance to what really matters by saying, “It’s great to see you! How have you been?”
We can refrain from commenting on our own weight gain or weight loss around children and youth. We can model healthy eating and say no to diet mentality. We can learn to identify our thoughts and feelings and express them in appropriate ways. Do we judge ourselves and/or others when it comes to size and shape? Do we have a healthy relationship with food or do we binge, restrict, or purge? Are we obsessed with healthy eating, calorie-counting, and/or exercise?
Building a healthy body image and healthy self-esteem, learning how to critique the media for messages that promote undereating and dieting, and ultimately learning how to have a healthy relationship with food, ourselves, and others are among the many steps we can take to say no to eating disorders. If you think you or a loved one may be at risk of developing an eating disorder, talk to your family doctor or make an appointment with a counsellor. Early intervention is key and help is available! Love your body, love yourself. You’re worth it.
Additional information can be found at:
National Eating Disorder Information Centre www.nedic.ca
Jessie’s Legacy http://jessieslegacy.com/programs/pedaw/