Women learn to hide their problems and shortcomings at a young age, so it comes as no surprise that many women are so skilled at concealing their struggles with eating disorders.
Many of us have “no idea” that our friends and family members are suffering before our very eyes from bulimia, anorexia or binge-eating disorder. And that is the point of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which runs from February 23 to March 1.
This awareness week is used to draw attention to basic facts about eating disorders, and helps us to start talking to others about disordered eating issues we may have (it can also be used to bring up concerns we have about our loved ones that may display warning signs of eating disorders).
It could also be used as a week to open our eyes and watch for signs of eating disorders we may have missed, but also keep in mind that appearances do not always accurately reflect an eating disorder (a healthy or average-weight woman could still have an eating disorder).
The National Eating Disorders Association website said this year’s theme, “I Had No Idea,” was picked in order to “raise awareness towards the significant impact eating disorders have on individuals, families, and communities across the nation.”
Overall, the association aims to increase awareness of eating disorders and body image issues through this week, as well as increase outreach efforts, according to the website. They also are attempting to reduce stigma and decrease hurdles to treatment access.
The awareness week’s key messages this year include:
1) “Eating disorders are serious illnesses, not lifestyle choices.”
2) “Education, early intervention, and access to care are critical.”
3) “Help is available, and recovery is possible.”
One easy way to get involved in the awareness week is to take a quiz on the website to test your knowledge of eating disorders. After you complete the quiz, you can share one of the facts you found interesting from the quiz via social media.