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Dear survivors of eating disorders, please consider this before posting “before” photographs

Dear the survivors + warriors of eating disorders*

your courage is inspirational,

your journey is one to be so very proud of,

please share your stories,

we need to hear about the mountain you climbed,

but please deeply consider the impact of posting a "before + after" photo.

Here is why before photos may be damaging ...

photos may perpetuate the misconception that EDs have a certain image, that someone needs to look a certain way to be “sick enough”; this fuels weight stigma + can prevent individuals seeking or getting the help they truly deserve.

photos may sensationalise + glamorise the tragedy of eating disorders,

photos may be triggering for those still on their recovery journey, triggers are not always negative BUT do require safety to process.

photos may push the focus on to the surface-level consequences, EDs are a mental health illness, which may or may not manifest itself through weight loss or gain.

photos do not show the recovery that needs to happen after illness' that manifest as being underweight, fuelling the idea that “healthy weight” = recovered.

photos do not show the collateral impact on work, school or social life, the trauma it can create within the family unit; nor the residual impact it leaves behind long after recovery

photos may not support working towards a culture of greater understanding about the reality of living with a mental illness such as an eating disorder.

this is your incredible recovery story

please do not reduce it down to a before and after.

You are believed, you are loved + your struggle + strength is so valid with + without a photo.

Here’s to using our voices

Yours sincerely,

a dietitian + therapist with >10,000 hours of clinical experience + a lived experience of recovery.

*"I understand that this message may not speak to your current reality. These messages are not meant to be universal + they will not nor cannot account for every individual's experience. If my message does not apply to you, that does not invalidate your truth"

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