We are committed to providing programs that enrich community, creativity, and connection to those affected by disordered eating & eating disorders. We break the chains of disordered eating, weight stigma, diet culture, and mental health issues by using any variety of artistry. Each is an expressive opportunity for one’s soul to discover, explore, and speak its truth. Our creative, art-based preventive and inclusive programs include dance, writing, music, film, books, movement, painting, and more. Through self-compassion, self-discovery, and support, our programming evokes, engages, and builds resilience while guiding towards healing and recovery.
What is the difference between an eating disorder and disordered eating?
Identifying the differences between “normal,” disordered eating, and eating disorders can be difficult. Even the idea of categorizing how, when, or what we eat as disordered is tricky. Rather than being bound by confining definitions that may overlook important considerations, it helps to consider that eating difficulties exist on a wide continuum. What may seem innocent or harmless, like trying a new diet or workout routine, may be benign for some people. But for others, that same diet or workout routine could become a problem when linked to thoughts and feelings that revolve around controlling weight or shape, avoiding food, or influencing their own self-worth. The persistent emotional and behavioral disruption resulting from engaging in these eating and weight-related behaviors can eventually take over their entire life.
One way to view disordered eating is this: gradual changes of eating habits, usually undertaken for some other goal. While concerning, these changes can often go unnoticed. However, they are likely to lead to other disordered eating and weight-related behaviors. This is the hidden danger of disordered eating – it often can innocently lead to more serious harm, like eating disorders. When disordered behaviors become emotionally tied to other areas of our lives and health, there’s a strong chance that the person’s disordered eating has developed into an eating disorder.
Eating Disorders are complex mental illnesses that interfere with health and functioning in physical, mental, emotional, relational, academic, career, and social spheres. These effects can be severe and may even result in death. The good news is the sooner a diagnosis is given, and treatment starts, the better chance of a full recovery.
The continuum of eating difficulties does not discriminate against any race, gender, ethnicity, body size, weight, age, bio-socioeconomic levels, or disability. Disordered eating and even eating disorders can hide in plain sight.
Eating disorders are not diets. They are not lifestyle choices. We believe a full recovery is possible.
Weight stigma is bias (beliefs) or discrimination (actions) towards individuals solely based on their weight. Research has shown that experiencing weight stigma negatively impacts individuals on societal, mental health, and medical levels. Effects of encountering weight stigma can include systemic oppression, isolation, social exclusion, anxiety, depression, disordered eating, increased physiological stress, diabetes risk, and more.
Diet culture is the lens through which we see “beauty,” “health,” and our bodies. It assumes that eating a certain way will result in the “right size” and lead to good health and doesn’t consider physiological, socioeconomic, or physical characteristics. Because diet culture is the reality we live in, we often don’t realize it’s impacting us at all-influencing and diminishing our ability to thrive if we don’t fit societal health, wellness, size, or attractiveness ideals exactly. Unfortunately for all of us, diet culture can be found nearly everywhere but is especially prevalent–and pressuring–in Western cultures.
Here are some Statistics:
- By age 6, children start to express concerns about their own weight or shape.
- 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or becoming too fat. This concern endures through life.
-Body Image: A Handbook of Science, Practice, and Prevention
- 62.3% of teenage girls and 28.8% of teenage boys report trying to lose weight. 58.6% of girls and 28.2% of boys are actively dieting. 68.4% of girls and 51% of boys exercise to lose weight or avoid gaining weight.
-The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University
- Over half of the females studied between ages eighteen and twenty-five would prefer to be run over by a truck than to be fat, and two-thirds would choose to be mean or stupid rather than fat.
-Emotions and Eating
- 93% of elementary school children are more afraid of becoming fat than of nuclear war, cancer, or losing their parents.
-American Academy of Pediatrics (2016)
Mental health issues and eating disorders are often intertwined. Frequently, individuals with an eating disorder have an additional illness which can include: Depression, Anxiety disorders, Borderline personality disorder and Substance abuse.
Treating these illnesses can help make healing from an eating disorder easier. An untreated mental health illness might have increased the likelihood of developing the eating disorder or prevented its recovery. Either situation can create a perfect storm.
Mental health impacts how we feel, think, and social well-being. At every stage of life, it affects how we cope with stress, relate with others, and make everyday life decisions. This can lead us to react to ourselves and others in unhealthy ways.
If you feel you are going to harm yourself or others, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255.
STRENGTHENING THE LINKS OF HEALTH
The following resources provide information on disordered eating, eating disorders, and mental health. BTCF has chosen to highlight one or more aspects of each that we want to share with you to make your process of learning easier.
National Eating Disorders Association: (NEDA) The largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders.
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders: (ANAD) The leading nonprofit in the U.S. that provides free, peer support services to anyone struggling with an eating disorder, regardless of age, race, gender, identity, sexual orientation, or background.
Academy for Eating Disorders: (AED) Helps physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, nutritionists, academic researchers, students, and experts through lived experience connect and collaborate with each other and keep abreast of recent developments in eating disorders research.
Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness: The leading national nonprofit organization providing referrals, education, and support for all eating disorders.
Bulimia.com: Dedicated to providing information to men and women suffering from bulimia nervosa and co-occurring eating disorders, mental health, or substance use disorders.
Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center: Eating disorder referral and information center
Families Empowered And Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders:(FEAST) The global support and education community of and for parents of those with eating disorders.
Maudsley Parents: A volunteer organization of parents who have helped our children recover from anorexia and bulimia through the use of Family-Based Treatment.
National Alliance of Mental Illness: (NAMI) The nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to educating, advocating, supporting, and building better lives for the millions of individuals & families affected by mental illness.
National Alliance of Urban Mental Health LA::(NAMI URBAN) Provides education about severe brain disorders, supports funding for research, and advocates for adequate health insurance, housing rehabilitation, and jobs for people with serious psychiatric illnesses in communities of color.
National Institute of Mental Health: (NIMH) The lead federal agency for research on mental disorders.
The Love and Foundation: Brings opportunity and healing to communities of color, and especially to Black women and girls. Through fellowships, residency programs, listening tours, and more, ultimately, we hope to contribute to both the empowerment and the liberation of the communities we serve.
Fighting Eating Disorders in Underrepresented Populations: FEDUp: Aim to spearhead the movement of marginalized communities by organizing and advocating for more accessible, affordable, and culturally competent ED treatment.
Nalgona Positivity Pride: (NPP) is an in-community eating disorders and body-positive organization dedicated to creating visibility and resources for Black, Indigenous, communities of color (BICC).
National Association for Males with Eating Disorders, “NAMED”: Provides support for males affected by eating disorders, provide access to collective expertise, and promotes the development of effective clinical intervention and research in this population.
Healthy At Every Size: (HAES) Health at Every Size principles help us advance social justice, create an inclusive and respectful community, and support people of all sizes in finding compassionate ways to take care of themselves.
Association for Size Diversity and Health: Celebrates bodies of all shapes and sizes. Provides ongoing opportunities for development, including educational resources, vetted referral opportunities, and an extensive network of like-minded advocates and professionals.
Mindfulness for Teens: Skills to help teens learn to handle stress one moment at a time.
Calm: An app to help decrease anxiety, stress, improve focus, self-improvement and improve sleep.
UCLA: List and guided meditations. Free.