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INFOBUS: Eating Disorders & Body Image

This month on Infobus, (right here, Thursday 20th June at 9pm AEST) we're really proud to be joined by Danni Rowlands from the Butterfly Foundation, who provide support for people in Australia who are experiencing eating disorders.

 

Danni is dedicated and passionate about preventing negative body image, disordered eating and eating disorders. She has worked in the eating disorders field for over 10 years - as a result of her lived experience of an eating disorder. She has worked in education and awareness at Butterfly Foundation since 2007. Danni works directly with young people, parents and professionals running workshops and developing materials that address the various factors that under pin negative body image, disordered eating and eating disorders.  

 

Danni manages the Dove BodyThink initiative, a program which has reached over 250,000 young people and 3,500 professionals around the country. Danni developed Dove BodyThink for Parents, a resource designed for parents that helps them to support and address self esteem and body image in their children. More recently she developed ‘Free to BE – A Body Esteem resource’ as a part of the Government’s National Body Image Strategy.

Go Danni!

 

Here is Danni talking about the Butterfly Foundation:

 

 

If you would like you submit an anonymous question for her to answer during the session, please submit your question here.

Online Community Manager

ReachOut.com

Re: INFOBUS: Eating Disorders & Body Image

On Thursday 20th June at 9pm AEST we'll be talking about some of the risk factors linked to eating disorders - such as body dissatisfaction and dieting; as well as doing some myth busting around some of the misconceptions about eating disorders. We'll also be going over some ideas about how to be a supportive friend or family member if you know someone affected by disordered eating. Here's some more info from Danni:

 

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses; they are not a lifestyle choice, are not about vanity or a diet gone wrong.  They develop due to lots of different reasons, some psychological, biological and social cultural and contrary to what many people believe, you can’t always tell just by looking at someone if they are suffering. Due to the nature of eating disorders (there are four types) many of the warning signs may be hard to see.

 

Eating disorders occur in both men and women, of all ages and from all cultural backgrounds. About one in 20 Australians has an eating disorder with the rate increasing. Many people who have eating disorders also develop depression and anxiety.

 

Seeking help sooner than later is important and can help to reduce the duration and severity of the illness, making a full recovery more likely!

 

Whilst there are many reasons why someone develops an eating disorder having low self-esteem, negative body image and disordered eating can place you at greater risk.  Negative body image and disordered eating can be really detrimental, in their own right, to a person’s overall wellbeing and life (study, career and relationships).

 

Our society sadly appears to value appearance and beauty above most things and many feel intense pressure to live up to the unrealistic beauty and appearance ideals, feeling inadequate and worthless when they don’t measure up by comparison.  When someone is feeling dissatisfied with their weight, shape or the way they look they may engage in unhealthy practices with food and exercise (such as dieting, excessive exercise, cosmetic procedures) as a way to cope - with the hope that the promised weight loss or change will ultimately change the way they feel. This rarely happens and the person now becomes at greater risk of more serious eating and body image related issues.

 

Everyone can and deserves to have a positive relationship with themselves and their bodies. By finding positive ways to cope with negative emotions, improving self-esteem and body confidence, shutting down toxic Fat Talk and being friends with food and exercise it can be achieved!

 

We'll chat about all of this, right here for 90mins on Thursday 20th June at 7pm WST/9pm AEST - hope you can join us.

Online Community Manager

ReachOut.com

Re: INFOBUS: Eating Disorders & Body Image

Hey guys,

 

Welcome to tonight's Infobus session on Eating Disorders and Body Image. This is such an important but serious topic to discuss, so we are very lucky to have Danni here contributing to the conversation! Danni is from The Butterfly Foundation which provides support for people in Australia who are experiencing Eating Disorders. It's an amazing organisation which does some absolutely incredible work. Danni is quite the expert on Eating Disorders and body image so I'm sure we'll all learn a lot from tonight's discussion! Tonight's session will also be co-facilitated by by myself (MM) and Dilz. 

 

Unfortunately, we can not provide one on one support for Eating Disorders so if you are feeling overwhelmed or upset by this discussion we urge you to log out and contact one of the great services available.  These include:

Kids Help Line (1800 551 800 - http://www.kidshelp.com.au) which is a free service for anyone under the age of 25. They are professional counsellors who are there 24/7 if you need assistance.

Life Line (13 11 14 - https://www.lifeline.org.au/Get-Help/Online-Services/crisis-chat). Their phone service is available 24/7 as well. 

The Butterfly Foundation which specialises in Eating Disorders, is also available for support (1300 334 673 - http://www.thebutterflyfoundation.org.au). The phone number is free and is available Mon-Fri, 8am-9pm, they also offer an email service, further details can be found on the website).

 

Please also remember to follow the community forum guidelines: http://forums.au.reachout.com/t5/Welcome-and-Announcements/MUST-READ-ReachOut-com-Guidelines/m-p/16#... 

 

Looking forward to a great discussion tonight guys.

 

We also had some users submit questions during the week so Danni will be posting answers to them during the session. 

 

To start the discussion off:

FACT OR FICTION? Only females get eating disorders.
Can you think of some other myths that exist in our communities about eating disorders? A lot of us have been impacted by feeling bad about our body image. What can we do to be kinder to ourselves about our body image?

Re: INFOBUS: Eating Disorders & Body Image

not only females get eat disorders. you would prob find thats its more males then females >?

Re: INFOBUS: Eating Disorders & Body Image

In relation to "What can we do to be kinder to ourselves about our body image?" specifically, I think a really good starting point is to not criticise ourselves in front of friends and family. Although it usually garners lots of "Dont be silly, you're skinnier than me!" comments, it ultimately breeds a culture of weight = personal worth. I've come to hate the number of times I've gone out with female friends, and weight *always* comes up at some point. Women will put themselves down and make it clear that their weight is bothering them, looking for support from their friends to let them know that they still look 'acceptable'. But in doing so, those friends then become self conscious, start considering how *they* look, and ultimately make comparisons with themselves. I think being kinder to ourselves by trying to understand that we *don't* need to justify our size to others, or search for placating compliments to reassure ourselves that we still fall into the category of 'ok' in the eyes of others, would do wonders for society as a whole. And I think the continuous weight comentary that *we* perpetuate is part of a very destructive cycle of NOT being kind to ourselves. We need to make weight a non-issue in our every day lives, and part of that comes with accepting that although there are things we don't like about ourselves, it's more than likely that others won't notice unless we explicitly point them out!

Re: INFOBUS: Eating Disorders & Body Image

Hey ashleemaree, yea i'm totally not aware of the statistics... do you have that experience where you're from, that guys experience it more than girls?

Online Community Manager

ReachOut.com

Re: INFOBUS: Eating Disorders & Body Image

Hi everyone! I'm Danni from Butterfly Foundation happy to be there... here's my answer to the frist anonymous question that we received last week:

 

I’m wondering how to stop myself from overeating when feeling upset or angry or whatever.  I feel like it’s starting to take over my life.  I already hate my body as it is and this is only making me feel ten times worse.  It’s contributing to depression 2…

 

My Answer:

I’m really sorry to hear that you are feeling the way that you are.  Unfortunately, when we don’t have other ways to cope with negative emotions we can turn to food and as you have no doubt experienced, this isn’t making you feel any better.  What is really great is that you’ve identified that it’s not working for you, that it’s starting to really consume you and add to your depression.

 

Given that you’re experiencing something pretty serious, it’s important that I direct you to where you are going to be able to get the most support and so I would really encourage you to contact The Butterfly Foundation Support Line. This is a free service where you can either chat, email or do that online chat thing! They are there to listen and support you so you can let them know everything you’re feeling, thinking and doing in a safe and confidential space and they can suggest some strategies to help you when things are tough.

The details are 1800 33 4673 or support@thebutterflyfoundation.org.au

Re: INFOBUS: Eating Disorders & Body Image

Hi ashleemaree welcome to the discussion tonight

Re: INFOBUS: Eating Disorders & Body Image

Hi everyone.

Fiction. Not only females get eating disorders.

I think some other myths may be that you have to be stick thin to have an eating disorder, or that it's just for attention... things like that.

I find it helpful to think of my body as a niftly little vessel that carries my brain around, and I so I have to look after it as best I can, so that means treating it with kindness and respect, giving it nourishment and exercising it so it stays healthy Smiley Happy

Re: INFOBUS: Eating Disorders & Body Image

- I wonder if eating disorders is linked to self-perception and body image? We know males can have body image issues too.

- myths?

bulimia is not as bad as anorexia;

all people with an eating disorder have a significant underlying trauma;

the media and modelling industries, peer pressure, wanting to be 'sexy' are responsible for eating disorders;

overeating isn't an eating disorder

dieting fads and industry are responsible for eating disorders

- we have one body, why not love ourselves, because at the end of the day, we're the ones that live with ourselves all the time? work on being healthy (appropriate sleep, food, exercise) rather than being skinny ?