The picture above, totally borrowed from Frisk&Fri’s website, and says; “We work for a society without eating disorders where everybody is free to be themselves.”
It’s the holiday season, and I love every bit of it. Decorating at home, lighting a bunch of candles, planning, buying, and wrapping gifts, cooking and baking, and so on. But it has not always been like that. There was a time where I faked my happiness in front of everybody, a time where I had to fight my thoughts and fear of eating, and I was completely stressed out about it all. I was sick.
I know I could focus on the poor, the homeless, and so many other life situations that are going on in the world today, but there’s one thing really close to my heart and something I have first hand experience from- those who suffer from an eating disorder and literally fight for their lives. Imagine your biggest fear (could be heights, spiders/snakes, being in big crowds…), and then have to face it about six times per day. That’s what it is like suffering from an eating disorder.
There’s an organization in Sweden, called Frisk&Fri (Healthy & Free) that works on spreading information about eating disorders, supporting people who are sick and their close ones, working on preventing the sickness, and influencing better professional care. They have mentors spread out around Sweden, chat and phone supports, support groups. It’s pretty much an amazing organization. Check out their website!
This it the first page you come to when you get to their website (which you can find here), and where you navigate around to find what you need. Read about what Frisk&Fri does, support for people who are close to the sick one, how to get help for the one who are sick, how to support the organization, and facts about eating disorders.
You can also check out what kind of support there is, based on where you live. This is an organization where the volunteers have been sick themselves, but have recovered, and therefore have first hand experience of eating disorders. You find this page, here.
The organization’s support is really important, but it’s also significant to get professional help, which list you can find here.
So why do I write about this now? Of course, this is really important year around, but during this holiday season, it’s extra tough for someone with an eating disorder since there is so much is focus on the food. Frisk&Fri needs extra economic support so they can offer extra time to be there for people who contact them. You can easy donate money by texting:
FRISK50 or FRISK100 to 729 80 and you donate 50 or 100 kr (Sweden only!)
Lastly I want to share this text I found on Facebook
Don´t talk to your kids about their bodies, except when trying to explain how the body works. Don´t talk to your kids about their weight, even when they have gained or lost weight. If you think your child will have an amazing body when he or she is grown, don´t say it. Here are tips on what you can say instead: “You look healthy” is a really good alternative. Or what do you think about “You look strong!” or “I can tell that you´re happy, you are glowing!”. Even better is talking about things that don´t have to do with their bodies, at all.
Do not comment on other peoples bodies. Not even once, even if it´s a positive comment. Teach your children to be nice to others, but also to themselves . Don´t you dare, even for a second, talk about how you hate your body, in front of your children, or talk about your new diet. Don´t do diets in front of your children. Buy and cook wholesome food, but don´t say “Oh I´m not eating carbs right now!”. Your kids aren´t supposed to be thinking about if carbs are good or bad, or feel shame about eating things you are not. Shame only leads to more shame. Encourage your kids to run, since running reduces stress. Tell your kids to dare to climb mountains, ’cause there are few places that are so perfect for finding inner peace. Teach your kids to surf, climb or bike far or high (or both) so they know it can be good to challenge themselves.
Teach your kids to love sports. Sport makes you a better leader and increases your self confidence. Tell your kids that age doesn´t matter, you will have to cooperate in groups all of your life. Don´t ever force your kids to participate in sports they don´t like. Maybe you have a daughter who isn´t as tiny or thin as other girls? It is very easy for her to start hating her body. Tell her that she, if she wants, can run a maraton with her strong legs and that her broad frame lets her scream high or sing or lift the world.
Maybe you have a son, who is smaller than other boys. Tell him his worth doesn´t lie in his muscles, but in his thoughtful being. Tell you children that they with their strong, healthy bodies, can move their beautiful souls wherever they want.
Freely translated from Spanish by Erika Geraci Ulvstranden