4 Things to Know About Eating Disorders
The first week of February is National Eating Disorder Awareness week—a time to address a growing crisis in North America, and reduce the stigma and shame around a spectrum of eating disorders. m.Bodiment recognizes the prevalence of eating disorder in the GBTQ community, so we want to dispel some of the myths surrounding these isolating and secretive mental health concerns.
Anyone Can Have an Eating Disorder
There are many myths surrounding eating disorders, with the common misconception that eating disorders are relegated to women experiencing anorexia or bulimia. The fact is that men, women, and even children and senior citizens experience a spectrum of mental health concerns that can involve food restriction, overconsumption, compensatory actions like purging and excessive exercise, and extreme body image issues.
Gay Men Are More Likely to Develop Eating Disorders
The stressors unique to LGBTQ individuals, including coming out, facing harassment, and living with the threat of violence can result in depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and substance abuse, all of which are common conditions that lead to the development of eating disorders. Studies show that GBTQ men are 7 times more likely to engage in binge eating and 12 times more likely to engage in purging behaviours than non-GBTQ men.
You Aren’t Alone
If you are living with an eating disorder, you may feel as though you are alone in your struggle. This, however, is not true. In fact in 2005 more than 500 000 Canadians reported having some form of eating disorders. While resources and professionals dedicated to supporting people with eating disorders are only common in large communities, NEDIC has a national help hotline that can be reached at 1-866-633-4220. We have also compiled a list of resources found in Toronto.
One such resource is Sheena’s Place—a Toronto based support center dedicated to helping adults suffering from eating disorders, and reduce stigma surrounding the mental illness. During National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Sheena’s Place will be co-hosting a panel discussion about diverse experiences of eating disorders on Tuesday, February 2nd from 7-9pm, at the University of Toronto Schools (UTS) auditorium, 371 Bloor St. W at the corner of Bloor and Spadina. Panelists will share their own personal experiences, including challenges and barriers to recovery, as well as sources of support and hope.
Sheena’s Place will also be hosting its Annual Open House on Wednesday, February 3rd from 6pm-8:30pm. Aside from the many displays and activities that will be located throughout the house, along with snacks and refreshments, Susan Osher, MSc, RD, CEDRD will be present to speak about intuitive eating, beginning at 7pm.
The National Eating Disorder Information Centre’s (NEDIC) 3rd annual Spoken Word event will take place at Round (152 Augusta Ave, Toronto) on Thursday, February 4th during Eating Disorder Awareness week. At the event, spoken word artists will share their thoughts on body image, weight preoccupation, and beauty ideals. Additionally, NEDIC will be hosting an online Twitter chat Monday, February 1st at 12pm EST (@theNedic).