Last week was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week in the U.S. (1st week in February in Canada). To see some good articles regarding this, visit our Facebook page – Fresh Hope Counselling.
Unfortunately, eating disorder awareness doesn’t necessarily reduce the number of eating disorders. Statistics show that they are on the rise and spreading from anorexia and bulimia to binge eating disorder and orthorexia — a fixation with ‘healthy eating/exercise.’
I’ve had people ask me if eating disorders are a new thing that has just now become a problem. The short answer is no. Unfortunately our culture’s obsession with thinness and beauty has created the perfect storm for women and men to develop eating disorders. The unrealistic standards being presented in the media cause a person to compare themselves with a fantasy-level standard. “That’s what I’m supposed to look like?! Wow…I’m so far away from that. I guess I’m not okay the way I am.” The more we buy into the idea that everyone is supposed to have the same size, body shape and weight, the more eating disorders will be rampant.
SO LET’S STOP BUYING!! We already know that magazines airbrush and pin back the skin of models, giving us the illusion of lean unobtainable bodies. We know that many of Hollywood’s finest have eating disorders, visit the following website if you aren’t aware http://www.caringonline.com/eatdis/people.htm. We KNOW these facts yet it isn’t changing the rates of eating disorders.
1. Don’t buy/support the magazines, websites, services that promote these items. It’s all about the $$$ and dieting and fitness are multi-billion dollar industries, as are the advertising agencies that promote them.
2. Write letters/emails/blog posts to call these people to accountability. Voice your disapproval and encourage talk about it with your friends. We tend to think that other people would disagree with us/disapprove of us if we jump ship, yet maybe they just need to hear someone else say it first! If we stop buying, they will stop selling!
3. Choose to accept your body as the wonderful, God-given gift that it is! A carrying case for your soul! Affirm the many things that your body enables you to do. Choose to accept it rather than hate it. Body hatred drives you to extreme measures and no matter how eating disordered you get, it will NEVER be good enough/thin enough/muscular enough.
4. Focus on your whole being. Affirm the things that you like about yourself. Focus on the things you want to have in your life and pursue those things — happiness, love, joy, peace, satisfaction — just to name a few. Think about travelling, friendship and building a life that matters.
5. Practice moderation. Moderate eating (portion size and frequency) and moderate activity (doesn’t even have to be formal exercise or involve a gym — housework, active living, playing with kids or pets, going for walks are all part of moderate activity).