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However, once you are certain that the person may be struggling, the kind thing to do is to reach out in an empathetic way, with care and concern, and offer to help them find resources for help.”
It can be uncomfortable confronting another person about such a private type of issue, but it’s important to remember that your intervention could save a life.
“If you remember that ED’s have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, it is vital to know that you could be saving someone’s life,” Grefe said. “These are treatable illnesses, but the earlier we steer people to appropriate treatment, the better the chance of success in recovery.”
Ragen Chastain, a professional speaker, writer of the blog danceswithfat.wordpress.com, said in an email that she recovered from an eating disorder and is a self-proclaimed “fat woman” who believes in “health at every size.”
“Eating disorders thrive in a society where we are encouraged to be ashamed of being, and terrified of becoming, fat,” Chastain said. “We must focus on health, not body size. As a nation we will never become a successful role model for public health until we stop being a failed role model for public thinness.”
She suggests talking about these issues with other people.
“We can open a dialog about how our culture’s obsession with thinness is hurting everyone,” Chastain said. “We can search our own lexicon and eradicate any language that shames or stigmatizes bodies, including our own. We can point to the mountain of evidence that shows that fitness is a far better indicator for health than body weight. We can stop conflating weight and health. We can be for healthy people without being against fat ones.”
Jenni Schaefer, a NEDA ambassador who herself struggled with an eating disorder, and the author of “Life Without Ed,” said in an email that she is already seeing some changes due to efforts of NEDA and activists.
“People are beginning to understand more than ever that eating disorders are real, life-threatening illnesses - not choices,” Schaefer said.
“What people still don't seem to grasp is the general idea of body acceptance.