Is there a way to prevent eating disorders? I wish there was a simple answer to this. The truth is, we can't say we can prevent eating disorders because we are not exactly sure of what causes them. But, we CAN take small steps to make them much less likely to occur.
Let's start with the media. I've written about this before, so I won't go onto detail again. We all know this - the media depicts unrealistic images and tries to convince us that we have to look the same way. What can we do? We need to speak up! You don't have to go far to see or hear someone trying to achieve these demands. Let them know how the media fools us!
But what's most important, on my opinion, is to change the way WE think and see ourselves. Are you happy with your body? Do you honor it because of all the wonderful things it does for you? Do you appreciate all the lovely things about yourself? Do you stand on front of the mirror and criticize your appearance, or are you thankful for simply being you? Do you complain about your size and shape, and pick out all the little things you hate about yourself?
When you talk with others, are you talking about how much you weigh or how often you work out? Do you compare what you eat and who is healthier? Do you discuss calories and laugh because you've 'eaten too much'?
These things might seem irrelevant to you, but these are just a few ways in which you can help to stop the negative associations that society has made with food, weight, appearances, bodies, calories. You might not know it, but someone around you may be struggling with an eating disorder, and these conversations will trigger them. Or someone might be struggling with body image issues and this will make them more insecure. So whatcha what you say, how you act, and think about your attitudes about food, weight, and your body.
Because you never know who is hearing what you are saying, what they are going through, and how this will affect them. You may be saving someone's life by simply watching what you say and do.