This week, the Chicago night skyline and other iconic landmarks across the country will be lit with sparkling blue and green lights, the signature colors of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website, “The goal of NEDA Awareness Week is to shine the spotlight on eating disorders by educating the public, spreading a message of hope, and putting life-saving resources into the hands of those in need. In the United States, 30 million people will be affected by an eating disorder at some point in their lives, but myths and misinformation still keep people from getting the help they need.”
The theme for 2021 is for Every Body to Have a Seat at the Table. NEDA recognizes that “in a field where marginalized communities continue to be underrepresented, we welcome conversations on raising awareness, challenging systemic biases and sharing stories from all backgrounds and experiences.“
Having dealt with an eating disorder myself as an adolescent, I feel a call to destigmatize all mental health issues, and particularly eating disorders. If you or someone you love is suffering from Anorexia, Bulimia, Obesity, or any issue related to food or body image, I urge you to seek and receive support through therapy, peer support or formal treatment. Even if the person (including yourself) denies that they have an eating disorder, at some level, the message will resonate. Everybody has a seat at the table. It is up to each of us to make it so.