This week is Eating Disorders Awareness Week and I was asked to write a blog post. My first reaction was, Who am I to be writing a post on EDA Week?
Oh yeah, maybe the rep for the KindaProud Pocket Book #EmergingProud through disordered eating, body image and low self-esteem? Huh, How about that? I said to my inner critic. Having been immersed in the worlds of storytelling, Eating Psychology, Body Positivity and most recently the Fat Liberation world, it turns out, I have quite a few things to say!
This amazing pocket book of hope features the stories of 16 wonderful people who struggled one way or another with their bodies. They share their story so honestly and authentically and they also share how they managed to transform and overcome these struggles. Their tales of resilience are an inspiration and I was honoured to be a part of collecting these stories.
All of these stories, and so many more I have heard, have a big theme in common. There is a commonality of not feeling enough. In this case, this “not feeling enough” manifests as self- loathing, harsh self-criticism, self-blame and often times even punishment on the body.
We live in a culture where appearance is highly valued and often entangled with our feelings of self- worth. Diet culture and diet culture language has been “normalised” and accepted as part of daily life. It’s “funny” and ok to make jokes about people’s appearance.
With this toxic cocktail of diet culture, fat phobia and judgement, add in some deep rooted shame and guilt about not feeling “smart” “slim” “toned” “productive” “fill in the blank” enough to the mix. It’s the ideal breeding ground for an eating disorder to take hold.
According to the Charity Beat “1.25 million people in the UK are living with an eating disorder right now. Yet behind every one is a network of friends and family supporting them. This adds up to 5 million people struggling to cope with eating disorders”
That is shocking and really breaks my heart, to think so many people are struggling.
What if there was another way to address ourselves and our bodies?
What if we didn’t have to beat ourselves up everytime we catch a glimpse of ourselves in a reflection?
What if we recognised the absolute miracles our bodies are, for breathing, digesting and all round keeping us going!
Imagine how different things could be, how much more energy and time we could have if we were kinder to ourselves, to our bodies and each other.
I truly believe there is another way to see and relate to our bodies and I am so privileged and honoured to have been a part of the Kinda Proud series and to have found people like Sophie Hagen, Sonya Renee Taylor, Megan Jayne Crabbe and Anita Johnston who are pioneering this revolution of radical self-love, self-kindness, compassion and inclusivity.
Grab your copy of the series today and be inspired to see yourself with new eyes.
One of my all time favourite Authors, Anita Johnston. Ph.D., says:
“If you want to help someone find their way, tell a story. KindaProud has taken that old adage to heart by sharing stories of individuals who have taken many different paths to find their true selves – and in doing so, discovered a life beyond their wildest dreams. These are tales of transformation, offering hope and inspiration to anyone seeking freedom from eating difficulties and body image distress.”
Anita’s book “Eating in the light of the moon” is a real life-changer, she combines storytelling, mythology and eating psychology to empower women in their relationship with food. Check out her amazing work on her website www.DrAnitaJohnston.com
If you are struggling with an eating disorder I want to tell you, it’s not your fault. There is a problem but you are certainly not it. You are a wonderful, intelligent, magical human being who is unconditionally worthy of living a full life.
With love, Amy
BEAT website for support resources