Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Eating Disorder Awareness Week – What You Need to Know

February 1st to 7th marks Eating Disorder Awareness Week (EDAW) in Canada. This is a national week of action dedicated to educating the public about Eating Disorders and their impact. Anyone can be affected by an Eating Disorder, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic class, abilities, race or ethnicity. Here’s what you need to know about Eating Disorders and how you can help.

What Are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses characterized by abnormal eating habits that can have destructive consequences on physical and mental health. Common examples of Eating Disorders include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge-Eating Disorder (BED), Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), and Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED).

It is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all definition for an Eating Disorder. They are complex with many possible causes including biological and environmental factors such as genetics, family dynamics and culture. People living with an eating disorder often feel alone and isolated which can lead them to have low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, difficulty expressing emotions and suicidal thoughts.

How Can We Help?

There are several ways we can help people living with an eating disorder during EDAW week and beyond. 

  • Amplify the voices of those who have personal experience with an eating disorder in order to spread awareness about the realities of living with this type of illness. 
  • Create safe spaces for open dialogue around these topics to destigmatize them within our communities. The more we talk about these issues openly in a safe environment the more likely it becomes that those struggling will get the help they need.

Take Action

This year’s campaign – Transforming the Narrative from Asks to Action – objective is to help individuals understand the correlation between Eating Disorders and other conditions (e.g. mental health conditions, existing/recurring trauma, systemic issues), and to encourage them to take actions to support those affected. Some ways you can take action:

  1. Sharing your story or perspective on social media platforms using #EDAW2023. 
  2. Advocate for change by attending an EDAW Action Hour in a virtual space with like-minded community members. 
  3. Working in the media? Help change the narrative about Eating Disorders shared in broadcasts, digital, radio, print and social.  

The National Eating Disorder Information Centre has further information about these and additional actions you can take to change the narrative within your community. 

Eating Disorders Awareness Week is an opportunity for us all to become aware of how we might support someone going through this difficult journey or even ourselves if we are struggling with an eating disorder. It’s  a chance for us all to check-in with one another to ensure that everyone has access to information that can help provide support when it’s needed the most. No one should ever have to struggle with an eating disorder alone. Together, we can change that and make a difference. Starting with EDAW 2023 week.

Here at Healthy Essentials Clinic, we offer clinical and dietetic counselling for those seeking help with an eating disorder. Click here for additional resources.