This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Aparna Komarla. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

11 Things To Know About Eating Disorders: ‘More About Emotions Than Food’

By Aparna Komarla

Eating disorders are conditions that negatively impact one’s health and emotions. They are characterized by serious disturbances in eating habits, emotional stability and weight regulation. Most eating disorders involve focusing too much on weight, body shape and food intake, leading to these dangerous eating behaviors. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder are the most common eating disorders observed in young adults.
Here are 11 things about eating disorders that everyone needs to know.

illustration 141. Eating disorders are not a sign of weakness. We must not equate having a mental health issue with low emotional strength or resilience.

2. Eating disorders are linked to emotions more than food. The underlying causes that spark these emotions, and the emotions themselves, need to be addressed rather than dealing with the symptoms alone.

3. Eating disorders can be caused due to psychological reasons like depression, anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, or dissatisfaction with body image. Some people have recounted incidents in their life in which they were bullied for their weight or physical appearance that severely affected the way they perceived themselves. Adolescents tend to develop feelings of inadequacy on being subjected to the media’s narrow portrayals of ‘beauty’ and norms that place immense value on certain forms of physical attributes.

illustration104. Gender is not a factor contributing to eating disorders. Eating disorders are not only a ‘female’ problem’. Contrary to what many may believe, even boys and men suffer from it.

5. Eating disorders are health issues like any other, and can be treated and cured completely. We must seek help without being ashamed. Eating disorders are linked to one’s emotions, and therefore with a combination of counseling and therapy, the problem can be resolved.

6. As individuals, we need to talk about it openly, and not make it a taboo. Conversations about the issue with family or friends to make them aware about these issues are important.

7. It is important for us to stop perpetuating these norms around body image ourselves. We can start by giving lesser importance to norms prevalent that glorify specific representations of ‘beauty’, like being ultra-thin, for example and start by identifying ourselves and the people around us for things less materialistic – like our personalities or ambitions.

illustration 98. It’s often observed that children or teenagers who are overweight are teased, called names or bullied. Even if unintended, those taunts could have an adverse negative effect on a child’s psychology – leading to a distorted self-image, and lack of confidence and self-esteem. It is of utmost importance to be thoughtful and sensitive when we speak to one another, and avoid insulting, bullying or teasing people for weight/appearance. Alternatively, if someone is being bullied, alerting the faculty or counselors instead of keeping quiet would help.

9. Although, parents have good intentions at heart while forcing children to better their eating habits, it tends to do more harm than good. Accusations and forcefulness only makes the child more uncomfortable and distant. It would be more helpful if they help their children adopt a healthy eating routine along with an exercise plan suitable to their age and health from a young age.

10. Body confidence is the feeling of comfort and happiness with one’s body image. It is to do with how we perceive ourselves, and how content we feel with what we see in a mirror. Developing body confidence is important not only as a solution to those dealing with an eating disorder, but is also important for those who aren’t dealing with one.

11. Participating regularly in sports, exercise activities, yoga, dance or any mode of physical exertion is a good way to deal with eating disorders and improve body confidence. Identify talents, passions and interests. Invest your time and energy in those fields. Pursuing these activities is a healthy outlet for negative thoughts and energy. Channeling your energy into constructive activities you are passionate about gives you a sense of purpose, and a platform to understand yourself better.

A positive environment with positive and motivated people go a long way in helping those suffering from eating disorders. Work towards eliminating the root causes of negative thoughts. And remember that being proud of oneself isn’t a bad thing. Identify strengths and weaknesses, appreciate and pride yourself for your strengths and try to work on your weaknesses. Strive for betterment and improvement, if not perfection.

Live to Dream is a non-profit organization based in Bangalore, India that aims at empowering creativity and employing creativity. The idea of ‘Live to Dream’ is to make positive change in society by supporting creativity, developing ideas, addressing social issues and empowering youth to participate in this change making process.

Project X is an initiative to educate the youth and generations prior to ours about mental health issues that affect teenagers. We are working toward this goal by providing offline access to coherent content, from psychologists and medical associations.

 

You must be to comment.
  1. Philippe Tahon

    Great article, congratulation!
    I work with people having eating disorders and weight issues for many years and it’s unusual to read something that explains things so simply.
    Regards,
    Philippe

    1. Aparna Komarla

      Thank you, Mr. Philippe!
      To receive such a response from someone in the field, is heartwarming.
      Looks like we’re doing it right!

      Have a great day,
      Aparna

  2. Bulimia Help

    Very informative article. Thanks for spending time to write a blog about eating disorders. You have cited important facts about this particular eating disorder & it will help people gain more knowledge about EDs. Keep it up.

More from Aparna Komarla

Similar Posts

By YUMNA MOBIN

By Sushruta

By pratyush prashant

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below