May 17, 2019

Eating Disorders Can’t Afford to Wait – Dani Sherman-Lazar

This is for our daughters.

Our beautiful daughters who will look us dead in the face and ask, “Mama, am I fat?” 
 
Hating themselves starting at a far too young age. Staring at her, your mouth agape, you can hardly mumble out an answer. Of course, you don’t think her body is anything short of beautiful, no matter her size. It’s perfect (even though you hate the “p” word and encourage her to embrace her imperfections) in your eyes.

It will never be entirely about fat.

Our beautiful daughters may want control.

Our beautiful daughters may be striving for perfection.

Our beautiful daughters may be the targets of bullying and believe this is the answer to their problems.

Our beautiful daughters may have anxiety, and this whole not eating thing serves as a sedative. 

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. They affect people of all genders, ages, races, sizes, sexual orientations and socioeconomic backgrounds. What this means is that this mental illness is not just for our daughters, but for our sons, too. 

This is for our sons. 

Our beautiful sons that think they have to have six-pack-abs and spend hours at the gym bulking up, asking, “Mama, am I fat?” 
 
Hating themselves starting at a far too young age. Staring at him, your mouth agape, you can hardly mumble out an answer. Of course, you don’t think his body is anything short of beautiful, no matter his size. He is handsome, perfect (even though you hate the “p” word and encourage him to embrace his imperfections) in your eyes.

It will never be entirely about his body.

Our handsome sons may want to gain control through food in a world where they don’t even feel safe at school.

Our handsome sons may be anxious to fit in and use food as a coping mechanism.

Our handsome sons may have low self-esteem. 

We, as parents, are not the cause but we can try to prevent them. 

Biology isn’t destiny, but there is a genetic link set-off by our culture. We must fight that culture. 

An eating disorder, any mental illness, any struggle is not a choice. It’s not a choice for yourself, your daughters, your sons---anyone. Everyone knows someone. This is for that “someone.”

We need to focus on characteristics besides the physical:
  • Compliment your children on their intellect. 
  • Compliment your children on what makes them unique.
  • Compliment your children on their kindness and humor.

Spread this message for our daughters and sons. 

Spread this message for everyone affected by eating disorders. 

Spread this message because the future of our children is worth fighting for. 

We are an army of parents that can band together and fight society breeding future kids on the same path. It starts with awareness. 

Take the pledge for World Eating Disorders Day because EATING DISORDERS CAN’T AFFORD TO WAIT! And neither can we! 

World Eating Disorders Action Day (#WeDoAct) is a grassroots movement designed for and by people affected by an eating disorder, their families, and the medical and health professionals who support them. Uniting activists across the globe, the aim is to expand global awareness of eating disorders as genetically linked, treatable illnesses that can affect anyone. The Fourth Annual #WorldEatingDisordersDay will take place on June 2, 2019 across the globe. This year our focus is “Eating Disorders Can’t Afford to Wait”!
 
Dani Sherman-Lazar is an eating disorder advocate, Vice President of a transportation company, and a mother to two daughters. Follow her on her blog Living a Full Life After ED and on Facebook. Her book Living FULL: Winning My Battle with Eating Disorder is available on Amazon. 
 
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