Last night I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things. There weren’t many people in the store and I noticed a young man in his twenties. He didn’t have a cart or basket, he held his few items in his arms, along with a bag of what looked like pastries. As he walked by the dairy cooler, he reached into the bag and pulled out a yummy-looking bear claw. He bit through half of it in one bite as he walked along scanning the juice cooler.
You might wonder why I was watching this guy. Well, it was really just a glance! But there was something about the situation that gave me pause. He chomped through and clearly enjoyed his bag of pastries with obvious comfort and enjoyment. He was hungry, he wanted a big bear claw, and there he was eating. I had a hard time imagining a young woman eating the same thing in the same way–with such comfort, in public, going about her business.
But for women and girls, eating is often something to hide or that brings up feelings of guilt instead of enjoyment. Just look at the photo above and the feelings it telegraphs about seeing. In contrast, the relaxed, open manner of the guy in the store made me want everyone to have that feeling of natural enjoyment of eating.
Sadly, food isn’t so easy for everyone. 8 million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder. 10% of them are men.
Those numbers are startling. Did you know eating disorders affect more women than breast cancer does? It also has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
Because eating disorders affect so many women and girls we’ve asked The Emily Program to share their expertise on New Moon Girls and Daughters. As one of the US’s largest eating disorder prevention and treatment programs it’s helping us get you the best resources, and answering your questions every week.
While this is a sad topic, it doesn’t have to be! Talk to your daughters now. And check out Be Friends with Your Body. It has great information for the girls in your life, faccompanied by more great resources for parents. Become aware this week. After you check out Be Friends with Your Body, share it with friends and colleagues, especially those who work with girls. There’s more information at The National Eating Disorders Association. Thank you!
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