Each year, NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association) comes up with a new theme for NEDA week (the last week of February). This year, the theme is “I had no idea…” Although a seemingly vague or indirect title for a campaign, the saying, “I had no idea”, definitely rings a bell for anyone who has either had an eating disorder or known someone with an eating disorder.
The point of this title is to bring light to the fact that there’s so much the public doesn’t know about eating disorders, and might never know, unless a strong effort towards the education on ED’s is made. This is why NEDA and NEDA week exist; to help people understand and be aware of eating disorders and their severity. This is also why my project exists, but on a much smaller scale.
In addition, the broadness of “I had no idea” leaves so much room for people to share their personal experiences, breaking down some of the stigma that follows the topic. Some may say, “I had no idea that my passion became a problem”, if they’re sharing their experience with excessive exercise or unhealthy dieting. Others may say, “I had no idea that recovery was possible”, to share their inspiring story of how they finally overcame their struggle. No matter who you are or how much experience you have had with eating disorders, the saying applies to everyone, making it so versatile and relatable.
So how will I work this into my own project? I plan to use the term as a base. Maybe writing “I had no idea” on sticky notes or index cards and letting students fill them out based on what they learn about eating disorders throughout the week, or what they previously learned from personal experience. This will create a much more interactive environment for students, creating an open, honest conversation about eating disorders throughout the school. In addition, I will use NEDA’s posters, flyers, brochures, etc. (all of which will have the slogan) in order to bring in the presence of a real organization that students know they can contact if they ever have questions about eating disorders/are concerned about themselves or others.
As NEDA week approaches, I feel more and more ready and excited to bring a new focus on self-acceptance and health (not weight) to our school. I hope this campaign and the new push to educate students who don’t know about ED’s, and help those who may have one, will leave a positive, lasting impact on this community.