The objective of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is to equip participants with the warning signs and treatment options for eating disorders as well as the language and behaviors that friends and family can adopt to create an effective support network.
Three Ways to Take Action Today
1. Watch Your Language.
So often we hear and say things like, “You look so good! Have you lost weight?” Such language hardly seems hurtful, but rather, complimentary. However, our continual equation of losing weight to looking better reinforces the faulty logic that feeds eating disorders. People are much more than their appearance, and we should reflect that complexity in the way we compliment them.
2. Know the signs.
Has someone you know lost or gained a significant amount of weight in a relatively short period of time? Have they seemed depressed, anxious, or both? Do they disappear after meals or avoid eating socially altogether? Do they spend a disproportionate amount of their time working out? If you can answer “yes” to one or more of these questions take notice, and if you’re worried reach out. Your concerns may not be met warmly, but they may need and want your help.
3. Reach out.
Do you know a student who may be struggling with an eating disorder? Speak up and reach out to them. Let them know that struggling is normal and encourage them to seek help on their campus, in the community, or by calling 1-800-273-TALK. A show of support and understanding can go a long way for someone struggling in silence.
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