Written by Kristen Reese; Associate Director of Rediscovering You
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) has a pretty jarring statistic on their website that states, “Eating disorders have the second highest mortality rate of all mental health disorders, surpassed only by opioid addiction.” It is time to take action!
Rediscovering You is collaborating with the NEDA to call attention to National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which is February 24 – March 1. The theme this year, Come as You Are: Hindsight is 20/20 asks participants to reflect on the positive steps taken, including the ones that come from setbacks or challenges, towards accepting one’s self and others.
To join the movement for National Eating Disorders Week, go to https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/get-involved/nedawareness.
More on Eating Disorders
Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS) affects up to 30 million people in the United States. The disorders do not care who you are, and they can be sneaky. Taylor Swift recently revealed in her documentary, Miss Americana, she had an eating disorder. Photographs of her left her with a negative body image that caused her to “stop eating” at times. There are days she is still haunted by photos and has to tell herself, “That’s not what we do anymore.” Swift uses that internal dialogue as a way to manage her disorder.
Other mental health disorders such as anxiety, mood, or substance use can co-occur with an eating disorder. Serious side effects of an eating disorders can include; malnutrition, brain disfunction and heart or kidney failure.
For more information on what an eating disorder could look like, visit https://www.rediscovering-you.org/eating-disorders.
If you, or someone you love needs help visit, https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/help-support
Thoughts from Kristen: Show yourself self-compassion
Currently, I am reading a book called The Willpower Challenge by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. I wanted to share a portion of the book that really caught my attention. I believe it can be a very helpful strategy to use when you need to show self-compassion and forgive yourself when you fail. McGonigal writes,
“When you experience a setback, you can bring these perspectives to mind to help you avoid a downward spiral of guilt, shame, and giving in again.
1) What are you feeling?
As you think about a ‘failure’ you have experienced, take a moment to notice and describe how you are feeling. What emotions are present? What are you feeling in your body? Can you remember how you felt immediately after the said ‘failure’? How would you describe that? Notice if self-criticism comes up, and if it does, what you say to yourself. The perspective of mindfulness allows you to see what you are feeling without rushing to escape.
2) You’re only human.
Everyone struggles with willpower challenges and everyone sometimes loses control. This is just a part of the human condition, and your setback does not mean there is something wrong with you. Consider the truth of these statements. Can you think of other people you respect and care about who have experienced similar struggles and setbacks? This perspective can soften the usual voice of self-criticism and self-doubt.
3) What would you say to a friend?
Consider how you would comfort a close friend who experienced the same setback. What words of support would you offer? How would you encourage them to continue pursuing their goal? This perspective will point the way to getting back on track.
McGonigal, K. (2011). The Willpower Instinct: How self-control works, why it matters, and what you can do to get more of it.