Body Confidence Day: Panelists share experiences with eating disorders

The Newtonite

by Maya Abou-Rizk

Five panelists who have either recovered from eating disorders or have had family members with eating disorders presented their stories yesterday B-block in the Little Theatre. The presentation was a part of Body Confidence Day, which was organized by seniors Kelsey Fox and Bethany Lehman. The panelists have requested to keep their last names private.

Rebecca Manley, the founder of the Multiservice Eating Disorders Association (MEDA), introduced the panelists.

The first panelist, Rachel, now a co-worker to Manley at MEDA, described her journey of recovery as her “re-learning to be comfortable in my own body.” She reminded the audience that “you can recover from eating disorders.”

Another panelist, Lindsay, has a sister who suffered with an eating disorder during her freshman year in college. She explained what it was like to be an 8th grader in the “in-denial” family, and how she felt that she had become the “older sister” and help her parents accept her sister’s situation. “We can blame ourselves, as siblings, as parents, or as friends, but it is not our fault,” she said. “We should blame our society, our genetics and the world for making it possible for someone to think like this.”

Senior Phoebe, the only student panelist, has been dealing with an eating disorder for 10 years. When she confessed her eating disorder sophomore year, she was worried of what people might think of her. After she had, though, she felt she had accomplished the hardest part of the disorder because she now had so much support. “My best friend who passed away this year taught me you are never alone, no matter what,” she said.

Courtney, a graduate of this school, another panelist, stressed to the audience that “in reality, we are enough just as we are.”

After all the panelists spoke, Manley reminded the audience that “eating disorders are not about food, they’re about emotions.” She then encouraged students to ask the panelists questions. When one student asked Courtney about the recovery process in general, Courtney responded, “be body confident, it can do wonders.”