Eating Disorder Prevention
What Can I do?
Eating disorder prevention starts at home.
Eating disorders are on the rise all over the world, and Dallas is no exception. At their worst, eating disorders lead to death. At their “best”, they can lead to months and years of life lost to obsession over food and weight, secrecy and struggle.
This month is eating disorder awareness month. Eating disorders are caused by biological, social, psychological and environmental factors. Like most mental health disorders, eating disorders don’t happen in a vacuum. Prevention starts at home; there are things we can do as individuals every day.
1. Speak positively about bodies of all shapes and sizes, remembering all the pieces of us that bring us our identities. Just like someone’s hair color, skin color or height doesn’t make them more valuable than the person next to them, neither does their weight. How we talk about people’s sizes will either perpetuate our culture’s obsession with thinness or challenge it.
2. Work on your own relationship with food and your body. Unfortunately, in Western culture we are inundated with diets and the message that we should always be changing our bodies. Messages about food are similarly unhelpful; they range from encouraging extreme gluttony to idealizing starvation. A great place to start is by reading the book Intuitive Eating. There is a link to the book on our website under resources.
3. Give compassion- starting with yourself! The internal dialogue of someone with an eating disorder is often highly self-critical. When we can consistently demonstrate compassion towards one another and towards ourselves (i.e. not always beating ourselves up, having grace for our mistakes, etc.), this can help others to take that same tone with themselves and the people around them.
4. Ask for help if you need it! Whether it is a full-blown eating disorder or some disordered eating/ body image issues, it can be helpful to talk to someone who knows how to help (and won’t perpetuate the problem!) Look for a mental health professional and/or a registered dietician who has specifically been trained in eating disorders. We can help you with that!