This year I am fortunate enough to attend the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Annual Conference in Chicago. The non-profit I work with, Michigan Eating Disorder Alliance (MiEDA), was able send two members to the conference this year and I feel incredibly lucky they asked me if I would like to go. I’m taking three days of vacation from my day job to pursue my passion of spreading eating disorder awareness and prevention.
All of the sessions are powerful, but there a couple I’m especially interested in attending:
It’s Complicated: Eating Disorders in the Age of Social Media
Keynote presentation by executives from Facebook, Instagram
and Nancy Zucker, PhD
This topic fascinates me. I believe social media outlets can be a powerful tool to fight social stigma and expose the truth behind eating disorders. I have found instagram accounts that have made a huge impact on me during my recovery. One of my favorites is @thisgirlaudra. Audra shares her story of extreme dieting, losing and regaining weight, and how she recovered. She lives a life full of purpose and is proof that recovery and a balanced lifestyle are possible. While social media can help people recovering around the world form supportive communities, it also enforces unrealistic beauty standards and makes it incredibly easy to compare yourself to millions of women around the globe.
Still Hungry After All These Years: A Retrospective and Prospective Look at the Father/Daughter Relationship and Eating Disorders
Margo Maine, PhD, FAED, CEDS
Michael Berrett, PhD
Don Blackwell, JD
Michael P. Levine, PhD, FAED
Beth Hartman McGilley, PhD, FAED, CEDS
This session caught my eye because after my mother passed I grew up with only my father. Our relationship had a large impact on my eating disorder and it’s interesting to me that it’s such a prevalent dynamic in the formation of eating disorders that there is a whole session devoted to it. I have a wonderful relationship with my father now and hearing how proud he is of me for recovering is one of the most powerful things that has ever touched me.
Working with MiEDA is a huge passion project of mine. Being surrounded by people who truly get it when talking about eating disorders ignites this unquenchable energy in me unlike anything else. I feel revitalized, validated, ready to explode with a sense of hope that things can change and I can make a difference. I’m excited to meet with other network attendees, learn, and get inspired!