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This year’s theme for NEDA week is Let’s Get Real! This message inspires me to educate others on the facts of eating disorders and debunk some of the misconception in our society. So, Let’s Get Real about how society views eating disorders and what the facts are!

Myth: Eating Disorders are about vanity/looks. Fact: Eating disorders are an addiction that provide comfort, control, punishment, a way to cope, and many other purposes for relief and management of distress to the sufferer. This shows why it is so difficult to give up the behaviors.
Myth: Eating Disorders are visible and can be seen by looking at someone’s body. Fact: Eating disorders are about someone’s relationship with food and feelings about their body. You cannot see it. You cannot tell what a person eats or how they feel about themselves by looking at their body. Please do not assume someone has an eating disorder or doesn’t have an eating disorder based on appearance.
Myth: Restricting means you are strong, have will-power, healthy, and/or are superior to others. Fact: Restricting vital nutrients your body needs results in body’s inability to function properly, weakness, cognitive issues, and many emotional and mental struggles as well.
Myth: Bingeing is not a real eating disorder, those people are just fat, lazy, and lack self-control. Fact: Binge Eating Disorder is the most prevalent eating disorder. Just like any other ED it is characterized by a lack of control with food, preoccupation with food, shame, low self-esteem, and poor body image.

So, Let’s Get Real! Eating disorders live on a spectrum where some are wildly praised and reinforced while others are shamed and judged. Let’s Get REal about showing compassion to anyone who is struggling with food and/or body image. Let’s Get Real about promoting balance, variety, and moderation with all foods (yes, including doughnuts and pizza). Let’s Get Real about celebrating all bodies and promoting Health at Every Size, which focuses on manageable goals for healthy behaviors rather than weight loss. Are you willing and ready to Get Real?

Some great resources are:

If you or someone you know is struggling with food or body image issues, please reach out for help. Please call (847) 854-4333 or email me at camille@owenscounseling.com.