Mindset, Social ChangeCelebrating NEDAwareness Week – How Your Participation Matters

Celebrating NEDAwareness Week – How Your Participation Matters

Monday marked the start of NEDAwareness Week. NEDAwareness Week is a week dedicated by the National Eating Disorder Association to spread awareness surrounding eating disorders, treatment and prevention.

During this week, thousands of people support their cause by donating, purchasing designated clothing by Aerie, and joining hands during NEDA Walks in their area.

So – what is an eating disorder?

Eating disorders are a mental illness with physical side effects. Some examples of eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa (eating too little) Bulimia Nervosa (eating, then purging) and Binge Eating Disorder (loss of control over eating habits – binging, purging, and excessive exercising).

Do you or someone you know suffer from an eating disorder? Make sure you keep reading for a list of FREE resources to help you in your recovery journey.

We had the opportunity to chat with Lauren Smolar, Director of Programs at NEDA.

Let’s get into what we talked about!

Why should someone choose to support NEDA?

LS: NEDA’s mission is to support individuals and loved ones affected by eating disorders. Our programs and services support this mission with mostly free and low-cost services designed to reduce barriers and increase access to care for individuals and families. Our organization is predominately funded by individual donors, so we depend on support from the public to help us continue to provide services and grow to be able to increase these opportunities.

What is NEDAwareness week, and what is your focus for this week?

LS: National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is an annual awareness campaign which takes place across the country through social media as well as in local communities who produce events to raise awareness about eating disorders. This year’s theme for NEDAwareness Week is Let’s Get Real, and the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is encouraging you to start the conversation about eating disorders and work together with NEDA to end the stigma surrounding these illnesses. NEDA has developed a NEDAwareness Week page which includes many resources which we hope you will utilize and share to help raise awareness about eating disorders.

How do you plan on changing the discussion around food, body image, and eating disorders?

LS: We are working to promote awareness of the issues in our culture surrounding food, reducing the risk of body image and eating disorder issues through our information and prevention programs and hoping to promote social change through our communities!

What is one thing you’d like to tell someone who is struggling with recovering from an eating disorder?

LS: Recovery can be so challenging but it is so worth it! Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you are having a tough time and do not hesitate to connect with a professional who specializes in treating eating disorders. If you aren’t sure about next steps, the NEDA Helpline can be a good resource.

NEDA reaches millions of people each year with life-saving resources – can you tell me a little bit about these resources?

LS: These are just some of our resources:

  • Our national helpline available 9am-9pm ET Monday through Thursday and 9am-5pm ET Friday with trained volunteers available through chat, phone, email, and Facebook messenger who can help people find the information and resources they need to move forward with the eating disorder recovery journey.
  • The NEDA Online Forums which are moderated 24/7 by trained volunteers to allow individuals and loved ones to reach out for support in a safe space.
  • Our regional conferences allow individuals and families to connect with one another and learn together about how to navigate this process.
  • We have NEDA Walks all over the country which allows communities to raise awareness and connect on a local level with others committed to our cause.
  • Our National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is an annual campaign to bring more education and awareness outside of our community.  
  • Our online screening tool can assess eating disorder risk.

Tell us a little bit about your NEDA Walks. What’s the atmosphere like? What’s the purpose?

LS: NEDA Walks are educating affected individuals and their families, while raising vital funds in the fight against eating disorders. Walks create local communities of passionate advocates to support those on the path to recovery.

You’ve partnered with Aerie to allow every day shoppers the ability to give 100% back from their NEDA purchases (similar to our process with Dlyted). What values do you share with Aerie to make this such a strong collaboration?

LS: Aerie has stopped retouching photos of their models. They have also received training from NEDA to better educate their staff on body image issues.

Special thanks to Lauren for taking the time to chat with us and answer our questions.

If you’d like to support NEDA by shopping at AERIE through Dlyted – make sure you snag your eGift card and then grab your “Strong Beautiful Me” tee or “Brave,” “Beautiful,” “Confident,” panties.

In support of NEDAwareness Week we are giving out a Krispy Kreme eGift card for you to TREAT YOURSELF to a donut… why?

Because you DONUT need to diet!

Yep – you are perfect, just the way you are!

Head on over to our social media platforms for access to your eGift!

*This is available while funds last on the card.

**We will update when empty!


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