February 1 to 8, 2023 is Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This week focuses on improving awareness of the impact of Eating Disorders, the dangerous stereotypes and myths, and the supports available for people living with or affected by them.
Eating Disorders affect people of all genders, sexual orientations, ages, socioeconomic class, abilities, races, and ethnic backgrounds. If you are a University of Guelph student and are concerned about eating disorders or disordered eating, Student Wellness Services can help. Contact us at 519-824-4120 x52131 to book a free appointment with Counselling Services, or connect with our for 1 on 1 appointments and group nutrition sessions.
You can also reach out to the National Eating Disorders Information Centre (NEDIC) and access their Helpline and online chat 7 days a week. Hours vary, so go to nedic.ca for more information.
Join us in writing positive affirmations and promoting self-love to yourself and others.
Date:Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023 from 1:30 - 3:30pm
Join us in decorating cookies and creating your own buttons to promote self-image and destigmatize talking about eating disorders.
Join us for a free panel discussion featuring individuals on the road to recovery from an eating disorder.
What Are Eating Disorders?
Eating disorders are not just about food. They are complex mental health conditions that affect how one sees food and self-image. As a result, eating habits that have a negative impact on physical and mental well-being develop.
It is a life-threatening mental illness characterized by behaviours that interfere with maintaining adequate weight.
Signs & Symptoms:
- Irritability, insomnia, and intense preoccupation with food, all of which can be directly related to insufficient nutrition
- Weight loss (or a lack of appropriate weight gain in children)
- Abdominal pain or non-specific gastrointestinal concerns
- Dizziness and/or fainting
- Feeling cold all the time
- Social withdrawal
It is a life-threatening mental illness characterized by periods of food restriction followed by binge eating, with recurrent compensating behaviours such as purging or restriction.
Signs & Symptoms:
- Weight change, including weight loss or weight gain
- Calluses or cuts on the hands and knuckles from purging
- Bloating, dehydration
- Purging, or evidence of purging behaviours like frequent trips to the washroom after meals
- Restricting food intake
- Guilt and anxiety surrounding food or eating
- Concern with body weight or shape
Binge Eating Disorder
It is a condition of psychological distress leading to the frequent consumption of large amounts of food and lack of control over what and how much they are eating.
Signs & Symptoms:
- Changes in body weight
- Dresses in layers or clothing that disguises one’s body shape even when not appropriate for the weather
- Evidence of binge eating, such as the disappearance of food or hoarding of food in secret
- Guilt and anxiety surrounding eating or food
It is a condition in which the individual is overly obsessed with "clean eating" to the point that it damages their well-being.
Signs & Symptoms:
- Spending a lot of time thinking about food and meal prepping
- Being overly concerned about the origin and quality of food
- Avoiding eating foods made by others and going to social events involving food for fear of being unable to comply with diet
- Refusing to eat foods that are considered “unhealthy” (e.g. animal products, fats, sugar, food colouring, salt)
- Being obsessed with supplements
Eating Disorder Resources in the Guelph Community
The Dangers of Calorie Tracking
What are Calorie Tracking Apps?
Calorie-tracking apps work by using your weight to recommend a daily calorie intake. However, the mechanism the apps work on is over-simplified and fails to account for the unique body types, metabolism, and lifestyles of individual users.This can often create a severe discrepancy between the app’s recommended caloric intake and your body’s actual needs.
Why are they harmful?
- Calorie-tracking apps are external indicators.
- Instead of listening to our natural hunger cues, apps like these push us away from listening to our bodies.
- We eat not only for energy and nutrients but also for social purposes and pleasure. Calorie-counting apps reduce our food needs to solely energy purposes and take away from the enjoyment aspects of food.
- Energy needs are not static.
- The amount of food that feels good for you today may feel inadequate tomorrow.
- That does not mean that you're doing something wrong. Energy needs vary. It's important to listen to your hunger cues because they reflect your body's needs.
- They can lead to hyper-control.
- The hyper-fixation of food that often results from using calorie-tracking apps can serve as a catalyst for disordered eating behaviours.
- Many users report severe over-restriction, guilt, and anxiety associated with food when using these apps.
- They use inaccurate formulas.
- Calorie calculators use formulas designed to estimate basal metabolic needs, meaning the number of calories one needs to perform basic life-sustaining functions -- without considering body composition, diet history, medications, genetics, and medical history.
- Eating just your basal metabolic needs will shortchange you nutritionally and likely lead to a suppressed metabolism as your body tries to conserve energy.
Toxic Diet Culture Language
Diet culture influences how we perceive 'health'.Because we are often told that our bodies need to look a certain way to be 'healthy' and that foods are either 'good' or 'bad', many of us have developed guilt and anxiety related to food.
“Food is Fuel”Yes, food is energy -- it keeps your heart beating and brain active. But, food is so much more than fuel because our bodies are not machines.Food is a way to connect with family and friends, create memories, celebrate holidays and traditions, as well as relax and unwind. There are many reasons that we eat.
“I need a cleanse”You do not need to go on a restrictive juice cleanse, eliminate entire food groups, or buy detox supplements to cleanse your body. These are often unsustainable, unregulated, and expensive.Our bodies are naturally equipped with organs, like our kidneys, gut, and liver, that do all the detoxing our body needs.
“I binge-watched that TV show”The word binge is used so freely in conversation that binge eating disorder has become desensitized. For example, the term 'binge-watching' can be triggering and insensitive to some folks.Binge eating disorder is a mental illness, so we should be conscious of using 'binge' in casual conversation as it can minimize people's experiences.
“I need a cheat day”Using the word 'cheat day' perpetuates the 'good' and 'bad' food thinking of diet culture. Classifying foods in this way leads to guilt and shame around consuming 'bad' foods. If no foods are considered 'bad', then the power of a 'cheat day' is no longer there. Balanced eating entails consuming not only a wide variety of foods, but also holding a positive attitude towards food and hunger.
“I need to burn off that burger”Exercise is not a punishment for eating. Thinking of exercise as a punishment for something that you ate yesterday or drank over the weekend makes us think of food as a reward and fitness as punishment.It is much better to frame exercise as a celebration of what your body can do. Movement should be something that you enjoy.
Eating Disorder Resources in the Guelph Community
Supporting Yourself as a Caregiver
Why is Supporting Yourself as a Caregiver Important?
It can be difficult to be in a position of support for someone with an eating disorder. Whether you’re a parent, friend, or partner, knowing your loved one is dealing with an eating disorder can bring up a lot of upsetting and complicated emotions.
As a caregiver, prioritizing your own self-care needs in addition to your loved ones can be difficult. Here are some ways you can focus on self-care...
- Spend time with loved ones
- Participate in activities you enjoy doing
- Journal - or write down how you’re feeling
- Create art
- Take a mental health day to rest and renew
- Hydrate and nourish your body with foods you enjoy
Setting boundaries will look different depending on your caregiving role.For example, as a family member, this could include disclosing as much or as little information about the situation to extended family and friends.No matter what role you play, it is important to be clear and firm with your boundaries in order to leave space for your own needs.
Creating a Support System
Being a caregiver can feel isolating and exhausting and it is important to accept help when it is available. You don't need to or deserve to go through this alone. Creating a support system could look like:
- Asking friends/family is they can take on some of your workload
- Asking your employer for adjustments to the way you work (i.e., workload, ability to take emergency calls, etc.)
- Asking your professor for extensions to deadlines
- Consider seeking mental health care for yourself - therapy can be useful as it is a dedicated time to focus on your own needs and feelings.
- Connecting with a support group that specializes in eating disorders directed towards family, friends, and caregivers supporting a loved one.
Eating Disorder Resources in the Guelph Community:
When is neda week 2023? ›
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week – February 20-26, 2023. National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is observed during the last week in February to spotlight eating disorders. This year, it takes place from February 20 to 26.How can we raise awareness about eating disorders? ›
- Attend a local event. ...
- Avoid commenting on appearance. ...
- Sponsor advocacy organizations. ...
- Promote body positivity. ...
- Share your own story. ...
- Check in with friends and family. ...
- Educate yourself about eating disorders.
Understanding that an eating disorder is a person's coping mechanism helps those around the person to realise how frightening and difficult it is for the person to let it go as they recover.When is Neda Awareness week? ›
The ultimate goal of NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) Week, celebrated in the last week of February each year, is to promote awareness of eating disorders and spread hope for those in recovery and their families. This year, it is observed from February 20 to 26.What awareness month is February 2023? ›
Each year, National Heart Health Month is observed in February. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular disease is the world's number one cause of death, killing over 17 million people every year.When is University Mental Health Day 2023? ›
We can't wait for you to join us for this year's University Mental health Day on Thursday 2nd March 2023. Together with your university communities we can make mental health a university-wide priority and create ongoing year round change to the future of student mental health.What are 3 common reasons why people have eating disorders? ›
- Family history. Eating disorders are significantly more likely to occur in people who have parents or siblings who've had an eating disorder.
- Other mental health disorders. ...
- Dieting and starvation. ...
Gently but firmly encourage the person to seek trained professional help. Be a model of healthy self-esteem and body image. Recognize that others pay attention and learn from the way you talk about yourself and your body.How do you raise awareness for special needs? ›
- Consider your resources.
- Model appropriate behavior.
- Identify heroes in your community.
- Move beyond awareness.
- Turn ideas into action.
- Native American Heritage Month.
- National Family Caregivers Month.
- American Diabetes Month.
- Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
- Movember (Men's Health Awareness)
- Epilepsy Awareness Month.
- National Adoption Month.
- National Alzheimer's Disease Month.
What awareness month is June 2023? ›
Children's Awareness Month takes place in June every year. It is a special month that focuses on a generation of leaders who will pave the way for our future.What are the special days in 2023? ›
- May 2023: International Labour Day, Workers' Day, Maharashtra Day.
- May 2023 (1st Tuesday): World Asthma Day.
- May 2023: Press Freedom Day.
- May 2023: International Firefighters Day, Coal Miners' Day.
“Mental health is not a destination, but a process.What is the theme of Mental Health Awareness Month 2023? ›
'Live Your Life Well' encouraged people to take responsibility for the prevention of mental health issues during times of personal challenge and stress. Many mental health problems can be avoided by taking positive lifestyle choices in how we act and think before they can manifest.What is the theme World Mental Health Day 2023? ›
The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week in 2023 is Anxiety.What is the root of all eating disorders? ›
Smaller roots that make up this larger root may include certain family functioning styles, social or romantic concerns, identity concerns (e.g., LGBTQ individuals), having been teased, bullied, or abused, traumatic life events, and/or major life changes, such as moving or the death of a loved one.
- Biological. Although it's not yet clear which genes are involved, there may be genetic changes that make some people at higher risk of developing anorexia. ...
- Psychological. ...
Experts consider anorexia nervosa to be the most deadly of all mental illnesses because it has the highest mortality rate. For this reason, we can consider it to be the most severe of the 12 types of eating disorders.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim February 21 through February 27, 2022, as National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.When is stress awareness month 2022? ›
On 2 November 2022, Stress Awareness Day we will be highlighting the ways that stress can affect people and what you can do to manage your stress before it becomes a problem.
What is malnutrition week? ›
Malnutrition Awareness Week takes place from September 18 to 22 this year. It is an annual, multi-organizational campaign created by ASPEN (American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition) in 2012 to raise awareness about malnutrition.Is February ED Awareness Month? ›
Each year, the final week of February is designated National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDAwareness) Week. In 2022, NEDAwareness Week begins on Monday, February 21.