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How to pay it forward in eating disorder recovery

Pay It Forward

 

When I worked as Support Staff at the Victorian I was always
baffled by the amount of intelligence, humor, charisma and empathy the clients
of the Victorian had. I often wondered about the amazing things these women
would do outside of their eating disorder. Some have gone on to use their talents to be
passionate activists for eating disorder prevention and treatment. If you have had an eating disorder or are
currently in treatment you may be looking forward to the day you can stop
fighting your eating disorder and help others fight their own. Today I have put
together a list of some of my favorite eating disorder prevention organizations
that you may want to look into post recovery.

 

BeaYOUtiful

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

Rewrite Beautiful

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

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! 

Happy Recovery!

Irvina