Here’s How You Can Fight Eating Disorder Stigma (Proud2Bme)

June 23, 2016 • Eating Disorder, NEDA, Proud2Bme, Recovery • Views: 1064

This was originally published on Proud2Bme, an online community created by and for teens. Proud2Bme covers everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

By Jackie DiVito–

After a long battle with an eating disorder, I realized I was “in my head” a lot of the time, paralyzed by negative thoughts and unable to see my own true beauty. I finally decided that what I, Jackie, truly wanted, and what I wanted for others, was the exact opposite.

I want to change the way people view themselves, not only in the mirror, but also in their minds. I want to erase the stigma around eating disorders and all mental illness. And lastly, I want to help people exude the confidence that today’s media tries so hard to diminish. I know I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m ready for the fight.

My campaign, “Scales Are Only For Fish,” is about positive body image, confidence and learning to love yourself. I make videos on YouTube every couple of weeks, or whenever I am inspired by a media message, an event in my life or recovery itself. I recently started a petition to ban weight loss commercials on television, because that is a huge problem in today’s society.

The petition was inspired by my eight-year-old self, who was absolutely fascinated with weight loss commercials. I would dream about growing up and buying every product out there to keep my weight down. Weight loss commercials taught me to be insecure, to feel unworthy of food and to feel as though my body wasn’t “good enough.” Those are all feelings I do NOT want for myself or others, so I knew I had to make a change!

I absolutely love the process of making videos and writing petitions. It helps me feel like I am making a difference, and I honestly think it helps me, just as much as it helps others. I am proud of what I do, because despite everything I’ve gone through, I strive to make a difference in the lives of others. Everyone should feel worthy of food, and the media needs to stop taking away from that. Every single body is beautiful, and the person living inside should know that they are.

Diversity is a beautiful thing! Just think about it; if we all looked the same, imagine how boring life would be. We as human beings should never put our self-worth in the hands of the media. Contrary to popular belief, the media does not own us, and we deserve to feel beautiful and strong. I hope to inspire others to not only share their story, but also to join in the fight against the stigma around eating disorders.

Even if it seems small at first, ANYONE can make a difference! I’m a twenty-one-year-old girl from Massachusetts who not only recovered from an eating disorder, but who tries to help others do the same. Imagine what the world would be like if we all shared the stories of our struggles and weren’t afraid to be vulnerable. If you want to fight the stigma around eating disorders, here are some tips:

1. Find an audience.

It could be on the internet, or even in your own home. Express yourself and your beliefs, and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. I found an audience by first talking with my friends and family, and then moving on to social media.

2. Find a cause that you’re passionate about.

Whether it’s ending stigma or helping others recover, YOU can make a difference! I am passionate about ending stigma and helping others recover, because that’s something I’ve been through.

3. Make a change!

Do something that will get your opinion across, while staying true to yourself. Come up with a petition, write posts on the internet, make a blog, write a book or make a video. I chose to start by making videos because I took film classes in college, so I know how to edit videos.

About the blogger: Jackie DiVito is a public speaker and activist for eating disorder recovery. In 2015 she started the campaign, “Scales Are Only For Fish.” As a person who has recovered from an eating disorder, ending the stigma and helping others recover is very important to her. She hopes to inspire others to love their bodies and themselves.

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