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Join others to spread word about eating disorders: what you can do

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National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is February 23-March 1

Join with others across the nation to spread the word about eating disorders during eating disorders awareness week (EDAW) 2014. This year’s theme, “I Had No Idea,” highlights the misconceptions that others often have about eating disorders. Here are some things you can do to raise awareness that eating disorders are serious medical and psychological illnesses, not lifestyle choices.

1. Maximize the power of social networking. Post facts about eating disorders on Facebook, send out tweets or join the #CAPTUREHOPE Instagram campaign to spread hope that recovery is possible.

2. Share your story. We all have stories of being pressured to be thin, feeling less that confident, feeling like we have lost our voice. Have those led to an eating disorder? Tell others what it was really like to have an eating disorder. De-glamorize this illness.

3. Blog. You can blog about yourself, a friend, or share an article by others that have something important to say about eating disorders. Write an anger letter to someone whose made a negative comment, or share a letter about your eating disorder with a friend.

4. Wear a periwinkle ribbon (or make one of your own) to promote eating disorders awareness. Want to get even fancier? Sport the Fight Like a Girl Anorexia Warrier T-Shirt.

5. Have a movie night. Some great picks: Someday Melissa, Thin, Real Women Have Curves or Confidential. Many of these are easily found on Netflix.

6. Build a real-life Barbie. Barbie is a pervasive staple of American culture and, when built to life-size proportions, is a great way to draw attention and start a conversation about the common unrealistic beauty ideals that people feel pressure to achieve. Build a physical representation of how Barbie would appear if she were transformed into a human being. Put it in a highly visible location for your display.

7. Get in the know. Take an eating disorders quiz, learn facts about eating disorders, read a great book like Life without ED.

8. Find an event in your area. In the Philadelphia area, join University of the Sciences for some great events including Mirrorless Monday (what defines you rather than what you see in the mirror), The Great Jeans Giveaway (on Feb 24 bring any jeans that don’t fit properly (too big or too small!) and they will be donated to a local shelter).

9. Use art to inspire. Decorate your jeans or a T-shirt with inspiring messages, or stop by Renfrew’s The Art of Recovery, an exhibit of artwork by women in recovery from eating disorders, held on Feb 26 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm in the STC Atrium at the University of the Sciences. Need ideas? Check out Finding Your Voice Through Creativity: The Art and Journaling Workbook for Disordered Eating.

10. Write an Op-Ed article. Op-ed articles are powerful conversation starting tools for topics relevant to audiences from all walks of life. These opinion pieces bring together facts, statistics, or positions on particular subjects that are not typically shared from the expert, or majority point of view. With the ability to reach millions of readers, op-eds are an excellent opportunity to express an opinion on a topic currently being presented to the public. An op-ed is a great way to raise education and awareness about eating disorders.

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