The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is launching its 28th annual National Eating Disorders Awareness week (NEDAwareness Week), themed “I Had No Idea…” happening Feb. 22-28. The theme for this campaign stems from the fact that misconceptions about eating disorders are rife and in many cases prevents sufferers from getting the treatment they need. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, this year’s focus is on the importance of early intervention and recognizing the diverse experiences of people personally affected by disordered eating.

During NEDAwareness Week, thousands of people come together in communities across the country to raise awareness about body image and bring attention to the severity of eating disorders, which are bio-psycho-social illnesses with all too often devastating consequences. Each day this week will focus on a different challenge; these challenges include:

  1. The role of the media
  2. Diversity
  3. Athletes
  4. Bullying and eating disorders
  5. Dieting and eating disorders
  6. The role of the medical community
  7. The role of the parents

Why Early Intervention Matters

Too often, early signs and symptoms of eating disordered behavior are overlooked and considered insignificant until they become extremely dangerous. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, with an estimated 10% to 20% of individuals diagnosed with anorexia nervosa dying prematurely as a direct result of the disorder. Intervening during the early stages can significantly increase the likelihood of preventing the onset of a full-blown eating disorder. It can prevent years of struggling and even save lives.

Every day at The Meadows Ranch, we hear from alumnae who share their unique recovery stories, and we are honored to have played a role in helping them get their lives back. One alumna, Natalie Packer, shared her inspiring story about coming to The Meadows Ranch 10 years ago, where she discovered hope, faith and got her life back, but as a result of prolonged starvation before treatment, Packer dealt with years of infertility.

“In frustration, I began to write about my journey and what Remuda did to save my life, and it revealed what had led me to become anorexic in the first place,” said Packer. “True healing occurred with one normal [menstrual] cycle, followed by pregnancy one month later. Our excitement was suppressed as we were told the fetus would not likely survive 12 weeks, but nine months later, Holden Keller Packer burst into this world and our hearts. We knew he was a gift that would not have occurred without Remuda, and thus ‘Keller’ is a tribute to Ward Keller, founder of The Meadows Ranch, who we learned later shares Holden’s birthday.”

Packer says her life now has purpose as she uses her book to reach others in need of help and to educate society about mental illnesses.

The Meadows Ranch Can Help

Hope and recovery is possible. Every day for more than 20 years, The Meadows Ranch is helping women and girls along their journey to recovery and healthy thinking. If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, we can help. For additional information about the treatment of eating disorders, please call to speak to a Intake Coordinator at 866-390-5100 or complete a form, and we will contact you with the information need.