Last week marked ‘Eating Disorders Week’, a national campaign to raise awareness and understanding of this serious mental illness, challenge the stereotypes and stigmas that people with eating disorders face and campaign for better services and treatments.
One charity that is committed to helping people with eating disorders is Beat, whose vision is that all eating disorders will be beaten. They aim to change the way people think and talk about eating disorders, improve the way services and treatment are provided, and to help anyone suffering with an eating disorder to believe their eating disorder can be beaten (www.b-eat.co.uk).
Eating Disorders are a cause the Amy Winehouse Foundation feels very passionate about. Although there was always a great deal of media attention given to Amy’s battle with drugs and alcohol, there was much less focus on her ongoing struggle with Bulimia, something she suffered with from a much earlier age than her addictions. People who have Bulimia try to control their weight by severely restricting the amount of food they eat, then binge eating and purging the food from their body by making themselves sick or by using laxatives (www.nhs.uk).
Between the release of Frank and Back to Black there were periods when the media would refer to Amy as ‘curvy’ and ‘chubby’, and although no one can place a specific time on when her Bulimia started, members of the family noticed significant change with her eating patterns, behaviour and her weight during this time.
The constant pressure placed on celebrities, and in turn young people, to uphold a specific image can become all too much to bare. Life in the limelight can often lead to people feeling they have no control over their own lives, which can lead to unhealthy behaviours in order to gain some control.
Research has shown that there is often a connection between addictions and eating disorders, particularly in young women. The road to many addictions can begin with low self-esteem, a lack of confidence and a lack of accurate and responsible information.
This is why it is important for us as a society to celebrate people of all shapes and sizes, and to do our best to ensure that young people start life with a positive body image and a healthy mental attitude to themselves and their bodies.
If you have been affected by an eating disorder, or know someone who has, please visit or contact:
NHS DIrect – 0845 4647
Thanks for reading x