Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
placeholder article
placeholder article

Eating Disorders Awareness Week: Why It Matters And How You Can Help

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ithaca chapter.

Everybody knows somebody and that’s the theme of this year’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which comes to a close tomorrow. Unfortunately, the theme is completely true. Whether it’s anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, or another disorder, we all know someone who suffers, often silently, from an eating disorder.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) asked eating disorder professionals, health care providers, students, educators, social workers, and others to do just one thing to raise awareness and provide accurate information about eating disorders during this past week. Nancy Reynolds, Health Promotion Center Program Director here at Ithaca College, posted an important message on Intercom for all students, faculty, and staff. Though many students don’t take the time to read these tri-weekly emails, this particular message is one that simply can’t be overlooked.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week isn’t just about organizations or health professionals spreading awareness; everybody knows somebody and everybody can help somebody. If your friend is preoccupied with food, dieting, weight, and body image, seems depressed or irritable, or has difficulties with class work and friendships, then he or she may have an eating disorder. Reynolds gave important tips for helping anyone who may be suffering from one:

–       Set aside a private time to talk to your friend.

–       Share your concerns in a caring, honest, and nonjudgmental manner, but be firm. State what behaviors you have observed, and use “I” statements.

–       Listen closely and respectfully to your friend’s responses.

–       Avoid placing shame, blame, or guilt on your friend, and avoid conflicts and simple solutions.

–       Suggest that your friend explore these concerns with a counselor, doctor, or nutritionist. Offer to help make an appointment or accompany your friend on the first visit.

–       Be a good role model for healthy eating, exercise, and self-acceptance.

–       Express your continued support and friendship, and state that you care and want your friend to be healthy and happy. You cannot control your friend’s decisions, but you can be a supportive friend and lead them toward help.

It can be overwhelming trying to help someone close to you when you’re unsure of what to do. If you can take the first step in confronting your friend, you can help them take advantage of the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services on campus, which offers a variety of valuable services including nutritional counseling.

Eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can be life threatening, and it’s up to friends and peers to take action in helping the people that they care about. Everybody knows somebody, so if everybody takes one step to help, we can bring the world that much closer to eliminating eating disorders altogether.  

My name is Lauren Mazzo and I'm a sophomore Journalism student at Ithaca College. I have a huge sweet tooth, love to travel and am on the Ithaca College Cheerleading team. Go Bombers! Check out more about me at http://about.me/laurenmazzo
Hi HC readers!! My name is Carly and I am the Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Ithaca College. I am currently majoring in Integrated Marketing Communications and minoring in Communication Management and Design and the Honors Program.  When I am not focusing on my studies or Her Campus, I enjoy singing, shopping, and watching reality television shows. I love writing and I am glad I am able to express my thoughts through Her Campus Ithaca. If you go to Ithaca and would love to get involved in writing for or promoting HCIC, send me an email at carlyschneer@hercampus.com. Keep Calm and Read On!