Nearly every woman at some point in her life has hated or wanted to change her body for one reason or another. Reports indicate that 80 percent of women are dissatisfied with their appearance, and seven million women and girls struggle with an eating disorder in the U.S. My time came during my freshman year at college. I had always been on the thin side, because I was active in sports. In college, I stopped playing sports and instead engaged in partying, unhealthy cafeteria food, and just being plain lazy. I attended class and did my homework but made no time for the gym. I quickly found out what they mean by the “freshman 15.”
While I never developed an eating disorder, I did develop a dislike for my body — the same body I loved in high school for allowing me to play sports. I felt that my body had betrayed me: It gained weight. It gained flab. I was hurt, angry, and embarrassed. During my time at college, I got active in a sorority. It was here that I first learned about National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and End Fat Talk Week.
Speakers came to talk to us about being healthy and, more importantly, happy. It was then that I realized my body had not betrayed me, but I had let my body down. In that moment I realized I wasn’t mad for putting on weight but because I had stopped doing what I loved — playing basketball and being active.
This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. According to the Eating Disorders Coalition, nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder; therefore, it is only appropriate that this year’s theme is “Everybody Knows Somebody.”
Eating disorders are prevalent and dangerous. Studies show that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. The good news is that eating disorders are treatable; unfortunately, most cases go unreported. Help spread awareness by tweeting with us all week and participating in our tweet chat on Feb. 29 at 4:00 pm ET. Let your friends and family know how beautiful they are, and let’s redefine what beauty really is. #LoveYourBody