I find it slightly ironic that I have been putting off writing this blog post. Why? Because this post is about stigmas and breaking the silence. Because this post is supposed to bring awareness to a topic that is challenging to talk about. No shocker, it’s pretty hard to know where to begin.
This week, Monday, Feb. 26 – Sunday, March 4, is National Eating Disorders Awareness week. The theme of the week is “Let’s Get Real” and the focus is on breaking stigmas about eating disorders and starting a conversation about things people don’t usually talk about.
I feel like these days everyone preaches self-love. Self-love is a big jump for people with negative self-images or who struggle with self-esteem issues. We’ve all read the magazines that make you pick the “top 5 things you love about yourself.” That’s like jumping in a lake when you don’t know how to swim. I think the first step to self-love is working on not disliking yourself, and working forward from there. Don’t say negative things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a friend.
It’s important to educate yourself so you can avoid having a judgmental attitude about food, weight, body shape, and eating disorders. Eating disorders can happen to anyone. A person doesn’t have to be extremely skinny to be anorexic, they don’t have to be overweight to struggle with bulimia. Eating disorders don’t discriminate. No matter your race, culture, gender expression, or sexuality, this can affect you too.
If you think you or someone you care about is struggling with an eating disorder, get help! Here at WSU we have some a few resources that can point you in the right direction. Counseling and Wellness Services can be a great place to start. Another place to start is by talking to your primary care provider for more options. Often you must talk to a primary care provider in order to be recommended to a specialist, such as a dietician. Check out the Health & Wellness Services website for information on how to set up an appointment at the WSU clinic.
I’m not an expert, nor do I claim to be, all I know is the many lives around me that I have seen eating disorders touch. I’ve watched friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike all struggle to make their peace with food. But it’s about than just about food. Let’s start by breaking the stigma. Let’s get real.