Trigger Warning: Eating Disorders

I have suffered from disordered eating since I was a teenager. For many years it was a shameful secret I hid from family and friends. What began as binge eating turned into bingeing and purging, and finally purging when there was nothing in my system at all. A high school classmate ratted me out to the nurse after an uncomfortable interaction in the bathroom. And much to my detriment, no one seemed to know how to help me. The nurse and my mom were at a loss and imposed punitive restrictions on me for lack of knowledge. Years passed and I simply hid my behavior more successfully. I felt absolutely helpless, alone, and ashamed. And this is the reality for tens of millions of Americans who suffer from eating disorders.

But what finally pulled me out of the dark depths of this life threatening affliction was light being shone on the topic. I was in my mid-twenties when I learned of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) after someone posted about it online. Through NEDA I found awareness and access to resources that unlocked the path to my recovery.

We're in the midst of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and University of Idaho has joined the fight against disordered eating providing resources for treatment, and tools for eating disorder prevention; something I wish I had 20 years ago. Tia Ogus, NEDA trained facilitator, and Vandal Health Education have put together the Body Project:

A course for college-aged women to "Connect with others in the body acceptance movement. Join this four-week series to get the tools to find your voice and become an advocate for body acceptance, a chance to challenge the system and confront stigma in a hands on, fun environment where we can practice pushing back against unwanted body comments. With permission to prioritize self-care, you will begin improving your body image which is the first step to helping yourself and others in the body acceptance movement!"

The sessions run on March 2, 9, and 23, and April 2, from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. The link for which will be provided upon registration at vandalhealthed@uidaho.edu.

READ MORE: Here are 50 ways you can improve your work from home lifestyle