Eating Disorders And Body Image Advocates And Why They Blog


As part of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I'd like to introduce you to some Eating Disorder and Body Image Advocates who blog. Some you may already know. Some may be new to you. Whether you are personally struggling with an eating disorder or body image issue, or love someone who is, these blogs are wonderful resources of information and support.

This is the first post in what I plan to be an ongoing feature.
They are listed in no particular order. Click the titles to visit their blogs.


Weightless with Margarita Tartakovsky MS

I blog at Weightless for many reasons. I blog because I strive to be an empowering voice of reason in our warped, weight-focused culture. So many of us struggle with poor body image, the diet mentality and disordered eating. I hope to help others improve their body images, befriend their bodies and learn to take better care of themselves. It might sound cliché or cheesy (or both :)), but I hope to spread the message that every body, shape, size and silhouette is beautiful and worthy of respect, love and care. That’s a fact!

I blog because I’d like to spread awareness and accurate information about eating disorders, helping to share other women’s stories, to show people that you are not alone and you don’t have to be ashamed. With the right tools and treatment, recovery is possible. If these individuals can do it, after suffering from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, drinking, deep insecurities and other issues, so can you. We are all strong.


I blog because I hope to empower others to challenge the media and the thin ideal, and to help them focus on health, not weight. I also genuinely enjoy connecting with readers, bloggers, authors and health professionals, who generously and courageously share their stories, become advocates, conduct research and do great work to help others. Together we contribute our voices to an essential dialogue. Plus, I love the creativity, release and inspiration that blogging brings. I’m constantly learning, which keeps me on my toes and is really fun.


Ultimately, with Weightless, I hope to provide readers with some insight, inspiration and food for thought.


I am a woman with a story, a voice, and a commitment. I struggled with anorexia for years and now consider myself recovered. I am dedicated to helping others in the best way I know how: my writing. Writing helped me on my way to recovery and I have a sincere passion to be, at the very least, an understanding voice amid the pain of eating disorders and all that they bring.

I've never been happier, so I know that health--mental, physical, and emotional--is possible. I'm an ANAD Eating Disorder Support Group Leader in the Lehigh Valley (PA) area. I have a goal, and that goal is to share, care, and write the words that make sense. On my blog I seek to turn tears to words in an effort to heal, share, and help in the simplest of ways.

There is life beyond an Eating Disorder; I have found it. But I still know and feel the pain and suffering eating disorders carry with them. I can't forget, but I can write. Every day It is there--that terrifying It that tries to get a hold of so many others. Sometimes It succeeds, sometimes It does not. But words are tools. Turning tears to words is where it starts.


Finding Melissa

Writing an ED related blog was not something I ever anticipated, particularly as I have always been totally adverse to “telling my story”; however, after handing over more than half my life to anorexia bulimia, it was impossible to walk away without attempting to convert my experiences into something more positive.

Finding Melissa was born during a night when I thought I’d die, and realized that I needed to find a way of capturing – and then separating myself from – my eating disorder. It grew from the realization that myexperiences weren’t just mine, and that I might be able to help others through my words.

Finding Melissa is the story of losing an eating disorder and gaining an identity; and, whilst it’s contextualized in my story, it’s very much about making sense of the eating disorder experience and working through the process of re-building a life.

Eating disorders don’t just affect people on a physical level or in relation to food: the effects are often far wider. My site, therefore, explores the many different factors in play, from social to cultural, the media to growing up, body image to just being human, with the hope that by opening up a debate around these areas, people will begin to explore their own experiences and assumptions, and be able to piece together their story – and their recovery.

The interesting thing about this discussion is that many of the issues aren’t specific to eating disorders: the manifestation of eating disorders may differ, but often the feelings and contexts can be related to. This is key to helping people indirectly affected my eating disorders to understand what their loved ones may be going through; so, I’m hoping that Finding Melissa will help to improve perceptions of eating disorders, as well as helping people struggling with many of the issues that it explores.

ED Bites: Carrie Arnold

I started ED Bites over three years ago. I started the blog as a chronicle of my recovery from anorexia, and because I realized that much of what people knew about eating disorders was incomplete. Eating disorders aren't just a "control" issue, they're not about wanting to look like skinny models--they're a profound mental illness. And as I came to grasp both the "mental illness" aspect of anorexia, and its biological basis, I began to understand why it was so hard for me and others like me to break free from the stranglehold of an eating disorder.

Without this understanding, I was mired in self-blame as I tried to understand why I had gotten sick and why I couldn't seem to get better. But the more I read and researched, the more I learned to forgive myself and move forward. At ED Bites, I try to combine the latest scientific research on eating disorders with my personal experiences recovering from a long-term eating disorder.


Medusa


Horrified at the rampant rise in eating disorders and the pro-ana movement, a few years ago I began blogging about the deadly consequences of EDs, primarily through pictures which showed the stark reality of anorexia and bulimia.

Recently, I began to feature stories submitted by readers who are struggling with or recovered from EDs. I also post about celebrities, the fashion industry and magazines (especially their love of photo-shopping), and the diet industry…and how the blame for the current warped idea of the body ideal often lies squarely at their feet.

Blogging about EDs is a passion of mine, and if only one person is affected by a picture or a post on my blog which makes them think twice about purging or restricting, it will all be worthwhile.


Feed Me: Harriet Brown

I'm a journalist who's always had an interest in women's issues. And as we know, eating disorders are largely (though not entirely) women's issues. I've also always had an interest in writing about food and body image. My older daughter became ill with anorexia when she was 14, and I wound up doing a lot of research about it and writing articles about it for the New York Times and other publications. I just finished a book about anorexia, called BRAVE GIRL EATING, which will be published this fall.

I guess you could say I blog about these things because I think most people (including doctors and medical people) misunderstand the fundamental nature of eating disorders. They see them as diseases of "choice" rather than diseases of genetics and other inborn factors, and that affects the way EDs are treated. I would like to help change the way EDs are treated. Current rates of recovery are unacceptably low, and there's way too much ineffective and even harmful treatment out there. So I'm also a supporter of evidence-based treatments, of which there are very few.



Another Piece Of Cake: for women who refuse to live by numbers

I am five years in recovery from an eating disorder (ED-NOS) and my experience has opened my eyes to a new way of living. Participating in recovery from my eating disorder allowed me to pursue getting my master's degree in expressive therapies and to pursue the passions I love, like theater and writing. I currently work as a mental health clinician, and work with a range of populations including eating disorders, substance abuse and trauma.

Why do I blog? For a number of reasons. First, I believe there is a large amount of shame attached to this disease, and by sharing my story, I wish to lessen that amount and allow others to have a "me too!" moment. Second, I believe that the media bombards us with so much unhealthy information we tend to forget we do not have to think of our bodies and our esteem in a negative way. Third, I'm simply hoping to raise awareness about a disorder the general public seems to know little about. And I look forward to the journey ahead!


Happy Bodies

This project began in early 2009 when we began to talk about bodies. We wanted to talk about our own: what they look like, what they do, what we think about them. And we wanted to talk about all our bodies: health and positivity, discrimination, sexual violence, and power. We wanted a space to talk about bodies. So, here we are.


Are You Eating With Your Anorexic: Laura Collins

I blog to allow myself to respond to the world’s news and my own observations in an immediate way. I love the way I can be part of an ongoing conversation among my allies and with those with whom I do not agree. I like the way blogs link to one another and to the news and to changing thinking and ideas. I think of the blog as a place parents might find, and feel heard and less alone.


So why did I start Voice In Recovery? I started it because there were a lot of memoirs out there, there are a lot of pro-ed sites, but the voices I felt I needed and wanted to hear were those in recovery. Recovery is such a dynamic process, very different for each individual. But I didn’t seem to find those voices when I was in desperate need of help. I felt the support being given and given by myself were those struggling in their disorders and that was hard. I wanted to create a place where voices could be heard, stories could be shared, and journeys could be shown to the world. I didn't know what recovery looked like, felt like. I find many people coming to me asking about recovery – feelings the struggles are hard, that recovery includes a lot of the thought processes we had in the disorder. Am I doing enough, am I far enough on this journey, am I doing it right? I have started this journey because I believe recovery is not black and white. I believe it is hard, but hope is possible. I believe there is no right or wrong way. I believe the journey is more important than the end result. I try not to get wrapped up in the thinking that because I struggle or have a bad day – that I am not making large strides in my life. I also feel I am living an authentic life, I no longer feel torn in what I do. I have days where I question my voice – but never its honesty. I wanted to start Voice in Recovery to provide a safe place for people to share their recovery stories. To find hope, and find solace in the journey. I want to provide to others what I did not find when I went looking. If I can help just one person either find their voice, or understand that recovery is possible, and that although there are struggles – there is hope in the process.

I have made it out of a very long tunnel where I should have died more than once. I made it out struggling a lot on my own, alone, and while this is my own path – I hope to create a safer, more open environment for people to not feel alone, and find friends, support, treatments that will work for them. I use my page to focus on integration – of research, treatments, news stories, recovery stories, etc. I think there are a lot of diverse voices out there – and I hope to find a way to dispel myths, break stigmas, and show that eating disorders are diverse by nature, and recovery is as well.

In the end that is what recovery is to me. Its about living. Finding a way to live authentically, live with passion, and helping others. That is my goal in life. This is my journey. continued


I started blogging the beginning September 2009 for a graduation project. Which is basically a project you have to do your 12th grade year of high school to graduate. So immediately I knew I wanted to do something to raise awareness to eating disorders.

Every little girl wants to be beautiful and looked at like a princess, and I had just that as a child. My dad treated me like the most beautiful little girl alive and I think growing up and looking at magazines my mind slowly started thinking "I'm not the most beautiful anything. I need to work on it." Which is how I started having developing a lot of eating disorder tendencies. I would count calories, work out excursively, not eat enough food and eventually it turned into my obsession. To the point were I became a vegan just so i could restrict myself from all the very fattening foods, and I lost a lot of weight in just two months, I also lost a lot of my hair because of how how little proteins I would get in my day. Even though I was thin I was miserable, I was never happy with what I looked like if anything I had grown so much more unhappy. I was ruining my life all by myself.

I ended up losing a great friend of mine and that was my wake up call. I think it is impossible for someone who has gone through an eating disorder, depression, or
low self esteem not to advocate about it in some day and to feel this urgency to help others. Thankfully my web site is doing really well and it has become such a huge part of me.


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2 comments:

Arielle Bair (Becker) said...

Thanks for sharing my blog with everyone. You have some really great bloggers in this list. :) I just sent my readers to your wonderful blog and told them to check out all the fantastic blogs you list here too.

Eating Disorder Awareness week may be ending today, but your blog always keeps the message alive.

<3 Arielle

MrsMenopausal said...

Thank you, Arielle, I really appreciate your kind words. Thanks for linking, too. You know I love your blog. It's a great resource and I'm happy to share it with everyone. :)