- Are you at a point where you’re concerned that your relationship with food, exercise and/or body image has become problematic?
- Are you exploring the possibility of healing your relationship with food, exercise and/or your body but you’re not sure where to start?
- Have you been diagnosed with an eating disorder but you’re on a waitlist for admission into a treatment program and you’re not sure what to do in the meantime?
- Have you been diagnosed with an eating disorder but feeling uncomfortable with entering a treatment facility and you’re looking for other options?
- Are you transitioning out of treatment and looking for support in maintaining your recovery?
- Are you ready for change but feeling lost and left alone to navigate your own thoughts and behaviours around eating, food, and body image?
If you answered yes to any of the above, know that you are not alone. A nearly $60+ billion USD dieting industry was designed to feed off our cultural obsessions and insecurities regarding weight, health, and appearance. The diet industry is not the only culprit for our suffering but it can certainly act as a catalyst for unhealthy and disconnected relationships to our bodies. For many, dieting and exercise provide a false-sense of control… until those behaviours eventually make us feel totally out of control.
Add to that a Canadian health care system that cannot fully and adequately address problems related to body image and eating disorders. Systemic barriers, such as
these, can get in the way for far too many folks:
- Receiving a diagnosis is difficult as doctors are not equipped with the proper training and resources to recognize and diagnose eating disorders across the spectrum.
- Without a diagnosis, referrals to a treatment centre are less likely which leaves individuals with the hardship of figuring out their own treatment plan.
- Access to treatment oftentimes relies on a minimum BMI (body mass index) in order to be admitted, leading to longer wait times or less than ideal treatment options.
- Inadequate or limited treatment services. This is especially true for those with binge eating disorder (BED) where primary care (inpatient services) is unavailable in Canada.
- Obstacles related to cost, transportation, lack of time, create additional challenges related to personal finances, career, family, relationships.
- Eating disorders are misrepresented as being thin, cisgender, white, adolescent/young adult issues. Treatment, therefore, can be exclusionary and discriminatory towards the experiences of LGBTQ+, BIPOC and disability communities.
The bottom line: An unfair burden is placed on those help-seeking. Of having to continually advocate for your care and/or resigning to the options available (or not available) to yoBody image disturbances, disordered eating, obsessive exercise, and eating disorders do not necessarily fit into a neat, clinical diagnosis. Rather, eating disorders run across a spectrum of symptoms that can be a subjective and extremely personal challenge.
You do not need to have a diagnosed illness in order to receive the support and care that you need.