In honor of NEDA Week 2022,
We each have a role in helping to promote positive body image and healthy relationships with food and exercise in those around us; we each have a role in eating disorder prevention and creating a better world.
Our words and actions impact those around us whether we believe so or not.
Diet culture is so prevalent around us and sends harmful messages that life is better if we’re smaller, that we’ll be more beautiful if we lose weight, that our cellulite/stretch marks/chaffing is unacceptable. Diet culture changes food from something to nourish our bodies and give us energy and allow for community and connection to merely numbers and places food into categories. We need to step forward and break the cycle. To demonstrate to ourselves and others around us that we are beautiful because of who we are, our soul, our inner being rather than the size or shape of our bodies. That cellulite, chafing, and stretch marks are so common and not something to be ashamed of. To demonstrate to our family, friends, co-workers, children that they do not have to spend their lives at war with their body, the very thing keeping them alive.
40-60% of girls aged 6-12 are concerned about their weight and becoming too fat
75% of American women struggle with disordered eating behaviors
30 million Americans struggle with an eating disorder
Every 52 minutes someone dies as a direct result of their eating disorder.
Something needs to change. And we can be part of the change. How can we do this?
Celebrate our individual body types. We each have a unique set of genetics, body type and shape which is supposed to be different from everyone else’s. Let’s celebrate the diversity in body shapes.
Recognize that the way you speak about food, your body, exercise, and weight affects those around you. Try working through any disordered behaviors or body image struggles that you may have.
Refuse to give into negative body talk which not only harms yourself but others around you.
View food as the gift of nourishment that it is; rather than putting food into categories of “good” or “bad”. Refuse to count calories, refuse to refer to yourself as being “good” or “bad” based on the food that you eat.
Refuse to judge others based on their body types. All body types are worthy. You cannot determine someone’s health or abilities based on their appearance.
Engage in joyful movement, viewing exercise as something to celebrate what our bodies can do rather than punishing or as a way to change our body shape.
Focus on what our bodies can do rather than how they look. Our bodies keep us alive each and every day. Our hearts beat over 100,000 times per day.
Call out others if they are engaging in fat shaming, negative body talk, promoting dieting, or referring to foods as good or bad.
Why am I so passionate about spreading the message of eating disorder awareness and prevention? I struggled with an eating disorder for many years, feeling hopeless and lost, that recovery would never be possible. I was so hungry, exhausted, hated my body, hated everything about myself. I became isolated because I didn’t want to go out if food was involved. My mind was consumed with counting and numbers- thoughts of calories, food, exercise, my weight, waiting for when I could eat again. My eating disorder stole my energy, my light, my happiness, and damaged my health. Eating disorders take the joy out of living and honestly make being alive a living hell and affect so many in our community. I’ve met so many people that have struggled with eating disorders. Beautiful, wonderful people struggling to get out of the eating disorder’s snare while the culture around them makes this difficult and continues to promote and celebrate weight loss, dieting, and disordered behaviors. We each have a role to promote a positive community around us, with our words and actions, to help prevent eating disorders in others and help those that are currently struggling.
Join me this NEDA week in helping to end diet culture. To build each other up. To create a better recovery environment for those struggling with eating disorders. To promote positive body image in those around us. To promote freedom from food and body image struggles.
Psalm 139:13-14– For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Ephesians 2:10– For we are God’s handiwork (masterpiece), created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
1 Samuel 6:7– 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
Romans 14: 17-18, 20a For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food.
Megan Ludke is a woman of God, Founder and Executive Director of Live RecoverED (formerly RecoverED Athletes), a school-based physical therapist, and a current PSU graduate student (M.Ed. Health Education & Promotion concentration in Eating Disorders). She is recovered from anorexia, orthorexia, depression, OCD, and social anxiety. Megan is deeply passionate about her work at Live RecoverED, having felt the pain and darkness of struggling with an eating disorder. When not working, Megan loves spending time with her boyfriend and family and loves being outside- hiking or reading in a hammock.