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3 Ways You Can Change the Conversation Around Eating Disorders

by: Amanda Lewis, Timberline Knolls Alumna
February 22, 2022
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NOT ONE MORE x Timberline Knolls

What does “not one more” mean to you?

As someone who spent many years fighting Anorexia Nervosa, my initial answer is to say “not one more eating disorder.” Just imagine a world where there are no more eating disorders. That sounds pretty great, but how?

Approximately 28.8 million Americans will have an eating disorder in their lifetime, and 70% of them won’t receive the adequate treatment they need for true recovery. That means that approximately 20.2 million people will be left struggling with eating disorders without adequate support (and that doesn’t take into account those that never receive a proper diagnosis)

20.2 million people will live their entire life trying to change their body.
20.2 million people will never have a healthy relationship with food.
20.2 million people will never experience the freedom of recovery.

Not. One More.

Almost three years ago, I left everything behind to enter residential treatment at Timberline Knolls. I left my family and friends, took a break from school, and traveled across state borders, with no idea how hard it would be or how long I would be gone. It took everything in me to learn how to fight that nasty voice in my head that had been there for years. It was the hardest experience of my life. And I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I am one of the 30% who was able to recover and discover a life without my eating disorder. There are 20.2 million people out there that aren’t so lucky and I’m going to do everything I can to help them. Whether you have struggled with an eating disorder or not, there are some steps we can all take to bridge the gap between eating disorders and treatment.

Watch our Words:
The language we use around eating disorders can be someone’s deciding factor on if they reach out for help or not. It is common for someone struggling with an eating disorder or other mental health issue to feel a severe amount of shame, causing them to keep it to themselves. If we present ourselves as supportive and non-judgmental, we can create safe spaces to have honest conversations. As a mental health advocate, I have a lot of honest conversations about going to therapy. Despite what society tries to say, there is nothing wrong with going to therapy. When there is a problem with your body, you go to the doctor with no shame or embarrassment. How come when there is a problem in our brains we are told to fix it on our own? I long for the day when going to therapy is just as normal as going to the doctor or dentist. Don’t worry about watching your weight, focus on watching your words.

Not one more person is going to be too embarrassed to ask for help.

Recognize and Rephrase:
“I’m going to be bad and eat junk food!”
“I’ll have to run extra in the morning to work this off.”
“This is my cheat day, the diet has to start tomorrow.”
These phrases (and millions of others) have been deemed “normal” by society and can be heard just about anytime, anywhere. Diet culture has become so ingrained in our minds that many eating disorder behaviors are praised by society. Losing weight gets us extra likes on social media. Skipping dessert comes with praise from others for having self-control. We have to start recognizing that the way we speak does not only affect us, but everyone around us. When those negative phrases come out of your mouth, rephrase them to contain the truth. There is no such thing as bad food. You never have to earn your food or exercise extra because of what you ate. Never feel guilty for fueling your body.

Not one more person will have their eating disorder ignored because of society’s praise.

Share our stories:
When I was deep in my eating disorder, I felt so alone. Although I had a great support system in my friends and family, no one really knew how to help. I learned about eating disorders in health class once or twice, but it felt like I was the first person to actually have one. I didn’t even know residential facilities for eating disorders existed, and all of a sudden I was supposed to go to one? I needed someone that had been through it to tell me it was going to be ok. Now as an eating disorder survivor, I share my story so no one will feel the way I did. I made it to the other side of the battle and you will too. You are strong and you will be ok.

Not one more person will feel hopeless and alone.

This Not One More Weekend I am encourage you to watch your words, recognize and rephrase, and most importantly, share your story. Let’s make sure that not one more person is left fighting their eating disorder alone. Everyone deserves treatment and recovery, and together we can make that happen.


Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center is a nationally respected residential and outpatient treatment center for women and girls who are struggling with eating disorders, substance use disorders, trauma, and other mental health concerns. Our facility combines clinical services, education, and expressive therapies to enhance our continuum of life-changing care. Through the use of evidence-based practices and techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), 12-Step recovery principles, trauma awareness, and experiential therapies, we help adolescent girls and women help themselves in their journey toward a more fulfilling life. For more information, please log on to www.timberlineknolls.com.


If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder, please reach out to us at The Alliance. Our team is uniquely qualified to connect you with the support needed to begin your recovery journey. Visit our national, interactive database to find eating disorder treatment near you today or reach out to us for more help and resources.

To learn more about the NOT ONE MORE movement, visit https://www.notonemore.co/

 

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