How to pay it forward in eating disorder recovery
Post recovery eating disorder survivors are so thankful for their treatment and healing that many become passionate about prevention and treatment. Today on the Recovery Blog we are featuring some fabulous organizations and methods for fighting eating disorders after treatment. Read on!
While undergoing treatment for anorexia, 19-year-old Dayna Altman started making string bracelets, naming them after people who inspired her recovery and trading them back and forth with her sister back home. Now she is using the bracelets to spread hope to others affected by eating disorders, and to urge young women to forge their own definitions of beauty.“Beauty is different to different people” and shouldn’t be defined by magazines or movie stars” Altman says.
Spurred to action by her ordeal, Dayna and her 16-year-old sister, Jamie, created the company BeaYOUtiful Bracelets. The website, which urges young women to find beauty within themselves through monthly videos, sells bracelets to raise money for the National Eating Disorders Association. Through BeaYOUtiful you can purchase bracelets that fund eating disorder treatment and or create a video for the BeaYOUtiful website telling others the beauty within yourself. Check out: BeaYOUtiful.org
Cover Girl Culture
Nicole Clark is a former Elite International model. She chose to make Cover Girl Culture a documentary about the medias effect on girls and to help bring about positive change in the media. She gained valuable insights into the inner workings of the fashion & advertising worlds and has become an expert on the impact the media has on our girls, namely the sexualization of girls and pressures on them to be thin and pretty. Nicole steps forward with her documentary to share her knowledge with girls and women.
You can join Nicole’s advocacy work by bringing her in to host a workshop at your local school or by purchasing her DVD and showing it to your friends. Check out: CoverGirlCulture.com
Eating for Life
The Eating For Life Alliance is dedicated to making user-friendly information, resources and the knowledge of the nation’s experts- available to everyone. Their focus is predominantly on college campuses. College is not only a time when eating disorders often develop — but an excellent time to address eating disorders and heal from them.
You can join the Eating for Life Alliance by bringing their experts to your college to do a panel on eating disorders. As well Eating for Life has been successful at educating administration and health services on eating disorder prevention and treatment. Check out: EatingForLife.org
National Eating Disorder Association
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is a one stop shop for eating disorder prevention and treatment. NEDA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. They campaign for prevention, improved access to quality treatment, and increased research funding to better understand and treat eating disorders. They work with partners and volunteers to develop programs and tools to help everyone who seeks assistance.
The biggest ways people can get involved with NEDA is by hosting a NEDA Walk in your area. This way a walk sends eating disorder awareness to the community it’s held in. As well as the funds that are raised from the walk go to eating disorder research and treatment. This is only one way to be involved with NEDA. They also have art contests, opportunities for sharing your recovery story and media watch dog campaigns that make sure the media is not encouraging eating disorders. For more info Check Out: NationalEatingDisorders.org
Normal in Schools
Normal in Schools started out as an off Broadway play about eating disorders. It then started traveling to schools and educating students about the disease. Now, Normal In School’s is a nonprofit that educates about eating disorders, self-esteem, body image and healthy coping by implementing the arts and mindfulness-based programs that engage participants in innovative ways. The array of programs is long and suitable for a wide range of audiences from middle school to medical school students and that resonate with parents, clinicians and educators alike.
The great thing about Normal in School’s is they have a program for everyone from 5th graders to medical professionals and they use the arts to educate! Maybe you could bring one of their programs to your area. Check out: Normal-Life.org
The Rewrite Beautiful revolution started when Irvina Kanarek found herself with 3 very different jobs: a nanny, art teacher, and counselor in an eating disorder rehabilitation clinic. The girls she came into contact with had one thing in common; they were all jeopardizing their lives to make themselves “beautiful”. The art students were experimenting with eating disorders while the rehab patients were dying from them. Irvina worried that the little girl she nanny’d would one day grow up and be welcomed into this cycle. Irvina took action. She printed pictures of her friends from Facebook and created Street Art with them. She wrote about everything she found beautiful in them: their creativity, kindness and strength. She left the Street Art in public places for people to see. It caught on and people started making their own Rewrite Beautiful Street Art. Rewrite Beautiful is now a non-profit to prevent eating disorders through School Programs, Street Art Workshops and Campus Clubs. The hope is in the absence of obsessing over their bodies, girls would be able to see the talents they possess and use them to change their own communities. Rewrite Beautiful uses art and testimonies to talk about eating disorders.
You can get involved with Rewrite Beautiful in tons of ways! You can bring a Rewrite Beautiful School Program to your local school or college. Start a Beautiful Action Club on your campus, host a Street Art Party, an Art Show or attend a Street Art Workshop! Check out: RewriteBeautiful.org
Someday Melissa is an amazing documentary made by a mother who lost her daughter to bulimia. The is inspired by Melissa’s journal writings and designed to raise awareness of eating disorders. Throughout her life, even in her darkest moments, Melissa’s creativity shined through. It was always hard for her to express her feelings verbally so she used film making, writing, drawing and acting as means of self-expression.
You can get involved with Someday Melissa by hosting a screening in your area. Check out SomedayMelissa.com
I hope you found some great ways to Pay It Forward post eating disorder recovery! Are there any organizations you're passionate about that I have forgotten? Please let me know in the comment section!