If you’re unfamiliar with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), this week is a great time to get familiar. NEDA is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting people and families affected by eating disorders – and from February 25 through March 3 (coined National Eating Disorders Awareness Week) – they’re raising awareness of eating disorders to educate others and remind those struggling they’re not alone.
It is estimated that eating disorders will effect 20 million women and 10 million men in America alone in their lifetime. Eating disorders come in many different forms and affect people of all different backgrounds, and are specifically more likely to be developed by people with negative body image (which personally resonates with me).
To spread awareness this year, the National Eating Disorders Association teamed up with Instagram to create their #ComeAsYouAre campaign, a movement to let individuals at all stages of body acceptance and eating disorders recovery know that their stories are valid, and to encourage them to share their whole stories – “the real, the mess, the un-perfect moments.”
We all know Instagram can be a place filled with pressure – to feel we should look a certain way, to compare our bodies to others, etc. – and this campaign is such an important reminder that we should all be accepted exactly the way we are.
Whether you’ve experienced an eating disorder, body image issues, or know someone who has, this year’s movement is important for us all – and I’m so grateful to be a part of it (even if it’s just posting my own photo and story).
I hope you consider spreading awareness, too. Eating disorders and body image issues affect so many people, and it’s so important to educate ourselves and remind those struggling they’re not alone. And this campaign is a great way to do just that.