For the sake of the headline, I left out the ‘read AND listen to‘ because it seemed too long. (It’s the public relations career in me.) So, to clarify, I thought it might be handy if I put a little list together of resources I’ve seen circling around the web this week, speaking to eating disorders and recovery.
I asked some of you who follow my Instagram to provide suggestions as well, so below is a group of responses. Please feel free to comment your own pieces as well!
The Body Love Society: This is a bit of a plug for myself (I’m nothing if not transparent, eh?) but the founders of this rad speaker series reached out and I was lucky enough to be included in the NEVER DIET AGAIN: How to get off the diet rollercoaster, find balance and live a healthy life you actually enjoy.
Get useful advice from 22 of the top body image and anti-diet wellness experts on how to change your relationship with food, how you feel about your body and how to live a life full of joy and happiness that lets you no longer need to wait on the weight. It’s free. Click on the link I provided and sign up for mine (or others!)
Food Psych Podcast: Christy Harrison’s weekly podcast dedicated to helping you make peace with food and your body.
Dearest Oprah: Talli is the host, and she and I just recorded an interview on eating disorders and flexible recovery. Easy to engage with and relate to, I felt like I was fast friends with this lady immediately. Easiest interview I’ve done. Listen to her story – she’s got a good one.
$3 Million Awarded for Binge Eating Research Study in Colorado: This one hits home as it’s in Colorado! After receiving a $3M grant through the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in December 2017, EDCare Denver and University of Colorado Denver’s Brain Research Program will begin collaborating on a five-year research study on binge eating.
Running In Silence: For Coaches – How to Help Athletes with Eating Disorders with Paula Quatromoni
BBC: Why Misconceptions of Eating Disorders Can Be Damaging
Salon: How Eating Disorders Became a White Women Problem
HuffPost: Anorexia and Bulimia Are Black Women’s Diseases, Too
CafeMom: Fat-Shaming is the Norm in Our Kids Favorite Shows
Hunger by Roxane Gay
*At its simplest, it’s a memoir about being fat — Gay’s preferred term — in a hostile, fat-phobic world. At its most symphonic, it’s an intellectually rigorous and deeply moving exploration of the ways in which trauma, stories, desire, language and metaphor shape our experiences and construct our reality.
PERSONAL NARRATIVES // BLOGS // ARTICLES
I’m Probably Overthinking This: It’s NEDA Awareness Week So I’m Writing A Thing
A Therapist Recovered : Heavy post on sexual assault and the correlation to eating disorders. Good read.
Come On, Skinny Love: Loved this. Eloquently takes you through a break up that resulted in an eating disorder – and the way our culture praises weight loss, and how that can fuel an eating disorder.
Cookie Crumbs and Carrot Tops Secretly Still 13: Dealing With Moments of Insecurity
SheKnows.com: Yes, I Had an Eating Disorder, & No, I Won’t Show You Before and After Photos
*I wrote this.
Jess Lauren: Facebook post (full disclosure – I don’t know this person, but someone shared her post with me and I liked it.)
AND NOW… a couple Insta/Facebook posts from Y’ALL!
It’s easy to preach body acceptance when I’m feeling confident. But I have days when it’s freaking hard. I have triggers just like everyone else… getting in a swimsuit, seeing a particularly unflattering photo of myself, etc. These experiences once had profound power over me. They had the power to ruin my day, to force me to stay in instead of going out into the world. They’ve even had the power to lure me into considering returning to a life of starvation, substance abuse and misery—a life of completely destroying my body in the name of tiny arms + visible hipbones. But when I start to consider turning around and running back, I think of who I really was back then.
When I was sick, I got a lot of attention. People told me habitually how thin I was, & I was completely addicted to the rush I got when I heard it. Comments on my photos became my gold star for the day. And all that attention was fun for a while, but unsurprisingly it turned dark quickly. I became intensely obsessed with how I looked, taking constant pictures of myself to make sure I looked thin enough. I NEVER. SHUT. UP. about calories + skipping meals and when my friends tried to talk to me I couldn’t focus or listen because I couldn’t think about anything other than being thin. As time passed, what once was enough suddenly wasn’t anymore. I needed to be skinnier & skinnier, I needed people to be worried about my size and no longer just complimentary. I was vain, I was self-obsessed, I was selfish. I was impossible to be around. I was miserable.
My body looks different than it used to. But boy, so does my life. And the girl I see in the mirror now is someone I like a whole lot more. She is open + loving. She laughs without reservation and brings laughter into the lives of others. She no longer fears food but, instead, is thankful for the energy food gives her so that she can love others boldly. She is considerate and generous. She is a true friend because, unlike before, she has the ability to listen when others speak… the ability to care about something other than herself. She no longer hides, she steps out into the sunshine. She finally traded “skinny” for “free”. – MessyKitchGirl
Today is the start of National Eating Disorder Awareness week. Last year, I shared my story publicly for the first time, so I thought it would be easy to post about my journey with anorexia today, but it is not. And yet, that’s why I feel I need to share it. There is still so much stigma and shame attached to eating disorders, and I want to be part of the change.
I have suffered from Anorexia since I was 14 years old. My eating disorder was not a choice that I made, I would have never chosen this path for myself. But it did become my reality, it became my entire world. It started slowly, and then before I knew what had happened- it took over my entire life. By my junior year of high school, I was completely consumed by thoughts of food, weight and exercise. No amount of weight that I lost was ever enough, I didn’t see what other people saw. I thought people were lying when they said I looked sick, I thought my parents were overreacting when they tried to voice their concerns- my anorexia had morphed my view of myself and of everyone around me. I was no longer the goofy, caring Lauren that I had always been, I no longer had the energy to laugh, to be engaged in conversations, or to just be myself. I became depressed and so I isolated myself as much as I could. I couldn’t fathom my life being anything else, I was terrified of change and terrified of food.
By some miracle I graduated high school and thought I could go to college and everything would be fine.
But my illness was there, every day, slowly killing me. My wonderful parents came to the painful realization that I needed more help, so they sent me to an inpatient treatment center for eating disorders in October of that year. I learned so much in treatment, I learned the deeper purpose of my eating disorder (because it’s NOT about the food, the food and weight are just physical symptoms of an eating disorder) and I began to learn to eat again. I made friendships with people who understood me and who challenged me. Treatment saved my life.
But that is not where recovery ends, eating disorders are not something that can be “fixed” in a matter of months. My eating disorder had been a significant part of my life for 5 years, it was going to take time and the fight of my life to overcome it. In the 3 years since I left treatment, I have relapsed, I have slipped, I have wanted to give up, I have prayed more prayers through tears and with a broken spirit than ever before. But I have also laughed, and built friendships and graduated from the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, I have grown closer to my Heavenly Father than I thought possible, I have lived my life.
I still have to choose recovery every single day, I have to go to battle every time I sit down to a meal, but I have something now that I didn’t think was possible 4 years ago- I have hope.
I am sharing my story with you all today because at least 30 million people in the U.S. are suffering from an eating disorder, and if you are one of them, I want you to know that there is hope. Recovery is real. And you deserve to live. And even if you don’t have an eating disorder, I guarantee that someone in your life does.