It’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This year’s theme, “3 Minutes Can Save a Life. Get Screened. Get Help. Get Healthy,” highlights the importance of early detection and intervention. The sooner someone gets treatment for an eating disorder, the better the chance for recovery.
Unfortunately, those struggling with eating disorders and disordered eating often dismiss their behaviors as “not that bad,” keeping them from seeking help. Troubling signs, symptoms, and behaviors may be ignored because of the erroneous belief that you need to look a certain way to have an eating disorder. We need to spread the message that eating disorders do not discriminate. You don’t have to be a certain weight, shape, gender, or age to suffer from an eating disorder. There is no one eating disorder “look.”
Our dieting and weight obsessed culture doesn’t help matters. Harmful food and exercise behaviors are normalized and even encouraged. We are constantly bombarded with the message that weight loss by any means is a good thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Countless men, women, and even children begin dieting without realizing that their efforts to lose weight and/or get “healthy” can be the catalyst for developing an eating disorder. You can read more about the dangers of dieting here.
Each and every person suffering with an eating disorder/disordered eating deserves to get the help they need. Without treatment, eating disorders can have serious and life threatening consequences that can impact every aspect of a person’s life, including their health, relationships, and career. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Treatment is available and recovery is possible.
Whether you are concerned about your own food or exercise issues or are worried about a loved one, don’t delay reaching out for help. Getting treatment sooner rather than later can save years of suffering.
Here are some useful resources:
Confidential screening that only takes 3 minutes to complete: NEDA Eating Disorders Screening
Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN): Find a SCAN RD
(search by area of expertise ->disordered eating & eating disorders)
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND): Find an Expert
(search by expertise -> eating disorders)