National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAW), an event of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), ended on March3rd. During the week, scores of events were held at schools, hospitals, fitness centers, and houses of worship, all designed to convey the message "Be Comfortable in Your Genes." As the Winter, 2007 issue of the NEDA newsletter, "Outlook" states:
Too often individuals struggle against their natural, genetically influenced size just to fit into that pair of "skinny jeans" in the back of their closets. Fighting your natural size and shape can lead to unhealthy dieting practices, poor body image and sometimes eating disorders. While you can adopt a healthy lifestyle and aim to be fit for your particular body type, you cannot change your genes.
As part of the NEDAW, NEDA introduced a number of challenges (see below) that we might attempt in order to move toward acceptance of our natural size. Yes, it's the week after NEDAW, but is this really a time-limited event? Which can you do?
1. Sign the National Eating Disorders Association’s Declaration of Independence from a Weight-Obsessed World to free yourself from the three D’s: Dieting, Drive for Thinness, and Body Dissatisfaction.
2. Celebrate Fearless Friday - A Day Without Dieting - and feel how empowering a diet-free day of self-acceptance can be!
3. Attend a workshop, presentation, lecture, or meeting in your community that will help you feel better about yourself. See the National Eating Disorders Association’s website, your local newspaper or campus calendar for events.
4. Use your voice to effect change: join the National Eating Disorders Association’s national media advocacy campaign to write letters of protest and praise to media, corporations and advertisers who promote negative or positive messages concerning body size, weight, dieting and eating disorders. Sign up via the web at http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/.
5. Consciously choose to avoid making comments about other people or yourself on the basis of body size or shape.
6. Compliment someone else for a skill, talent, or characteristic they have that you appreciate. Remind yourself that a person’s value is not determined by their shape or size.
7. Enjoy your favorite meal without feelings of guilt or anxiety over calories and fat grams.
8. Donate your jeans and other old clothes that no longer fit your body comfortably to charity. Someone else will appreciate them, and you won’t have to worry about the way they fit anymore.
9. Start each morning by looking in the mirror and saying something nice about yourself out loud.
10. Put away or throw away your bathroom scale.
11. Look through magazines and newspapers, ripping out advertisements, photos and articles that promote negative feelings about weight, body image and food. Talk back to the TV when you see or hear an ad that makes you feel dissatisfied with your body.
12. Read a book that lifts your self-esteem, promotes positive body image, encourages healthy living or helps you overcome stereotypes about social standards of beauty.
13. If you know someone who is struggling with an eating disorder, take the time to reassure them of your friendship and support for their recovery process.
14. Throw out all of the diet products in your house.
15. Remind yourself and others that It’s What’s Inside That Counts!
16. Become a member of the National Eating Disorders Association and join the effort to create a world where self-esteem is not weighed in pounds on a scale. Visit http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/ or call (206) 382-3587 for more information.
(from the NEDA website)