The National Eating Disorders Association’s (NEDA) National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is the largest and best-known outreach effort for eating disorders in the country. In 2019, NEDA Awareness Week encouraged individuals to Come as You Are, highlighting NEDA’s movement towards inclusivity in the greater eating disorder community. This campaign expressed that, regardless of your body shape, race, gender identity, weight, religion, sexual orientation, or your stage of body acceptance and eating disorder recovery, your story is valid and deserves to be heard.
Following an incredible campaign, NEDA has decided to stick with the inclusive theme Come as You Are to bring people together in 2020. During the week of February 24th – March 1st, they encourage the community to Come As You Are: Hindsight 20/20 by reflecting on the positive steps they’ve taken, including those stemming from setbacks or challenges, toward accepting themselves and others.
Throughout the week, NEDA aims to improve public understanding of eating disorders and their causes, dangers, and treatments and to empower everyone to reduce risk factors and join prevention efforts. National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is for ALL, not just those affected by an eating disorder.
As described by one of our direct care managers, National Eating Disorders Week is a special time of reflection and encouragement. It is a time we should seek to better understand eating disorders and how to support individuals in all stages of an eating disorder. Participating in Eating Disorder Awareness Week or raising awareness at any time can be as easy as sharing a graphic on social media or even just following positive body image or eating disorder awareness pages/influencers. A few of these pages include Project Heal, The Body Positive, and Beauty Redefined. Throughout the week, use the hashtags #NEDAwareness and #ComeAsYouAre to help spread awareness of eating disorders.
Throughout the week, educate yourself on eating disorders. Read articles and books, listen to podcasts, or watch videos to educate yourself about eating disorder behaviors and the risks associated with these behaviors. Learn how to support someone with an eating disorder. Learn how to find support for yourself and loved ones. The fulfilling piece of Eating Disorder Awareness is how it empowers individuals to share their knowledge, ideas, and hope with one another.
Make an effort to speak up in conversations about “bad foods” or when a loved one says they will feel better about themselves after they lose “x amount” of pounds. Speak up for yourself. We are all human and may have toxic thoughts that cross our minds about our own body image or sense of self.
Regardless of your body shape, race, gender identity, weight, religion, sexual orientation or your state of body acceptance, you can help someone struggling with an eating disorder. This year, Come As You Are, and let’s raise awareness together.