This week is Eating Disorders Awareness Week and the theme this year is It’s Time To Talk About It. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and 30 million Americans will struggle with eating disorders at some point in their lives (1). Here are some ideas of what you can do to create a positive food environment and promote healthy body image in yourself and others.
1.Eat foods that are nourishing and taste good
Choose foods that are balanced and varied, but also taste good. Try not to think of or label foods as “good” and “bad.” Instead include all foods and be mindful of portion sizes.
2. Include movement and exercise that is enjoyable
The best type of exercise to do is one that you do regularly and stick with long term.For most of us, this is also going to be activities that we actually enjoy doing.
3. Focus less on weight
The weight on the scale or the size of our bodies is just one aspect of health and wellbeing.All too often though, the number can become consuming or our social interactions can focus completely on someone’s physical appearance.
Concentrate on improving all aspects of your health, rather than just weight.
Try to complement people on things besides body size: their new haircut, the beautiful scarf they are wearing, or their helpful and caring personality.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, the National Eating Disorders Association, NEDA has online resources available and locally Ophelia’s Place in Liverpool, NY can help connect you to support services.
(1)Statistics from National Eating Disorders Association https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/