Eating disorders often fall into the categories of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder, but there are many more manifestations of food-obsessive behaviors. Furthermore, eating disorders aren't always immediately apparent. It's impossible to tell if a person has an eating disorder by simply looking at them. There are also different severities of eating disorders that make them even harder to spot.
In commemoration of awareness week, our chapter brought in a local expert, Dr. Katie Thompson, to teach us more about the causes, risk factors, varieties and treatment options of eating disorders. As college students, sometimes recognizing harmful eating disorders can be difficult. Routines are virtually non-existent, stress and caffeine can dull or increase appetite, and it's difficult to eat well-rounded meals on a ramen budget. That's normal. However, according to Thompson, however, these factors become concerning when they become intentional, obsessive, and detrimental to health. Obsessing over weight and food intake both signal a potential eating disorder. Though theyare difficult to spot, it is essential to recognize their painful and harmful effects and seek treatment.
One of the greatest tools in the fight against eating disorders is awareness and resources. As Thetas, we know sisters who have struggled with eating disorders and body image. Eating disorders can destroy lives, and we want to spread the word so that more people can access the resources and support they need. Kappa Alpha Theta offers their resources through Sisters Supporting Sisters, which includes tips on opening the tough conversation about eating disorders, an online screening program, a webinar about healthy body image, and a free hotline for members (1-800-756-3124). Other resources include the National Eating Disorders Association, which provides information on its website, online screenings, a helpline (800-931-2237), support groups and more. One more thing you can do for yourself if to write yourself your own Body Love Letter and committing to taking care of yourself. Check out the Love Warrior Community to join the fight for self-love and self-esteem. An eating disorder is a struggle that does not need to be faced alone. We want to support our sisters and our community in the battle for health and self-love.