Eating Disorders Victoria & State Government Launch New Support Website

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Contributor: Courtney Howard, B.A., Executive Assistant at Eating Disorder Hope and Addiction Hope

Early intervention is key when it comes to eating disorders. Advocacy groups across Australia recognize this, prompting Eating Disorders Victoria and the Victoria State Government to launch How Far is Too Far (, a website that provides information about eating disorders and how to distinguish healthy behaviors from disordered ones.

There is a great need for eating disorder resources worldwide, but Australia has always been one of the leading nations in awareness and treatment. The National Eating Disorders Collaboration reports that approximately 9 percent of the Australian population struggles with an eating disorder, a significant number that has led to improved resources funded by the government and local organizations.

This new website, which launched in June 2016, addresses the basics of eating disorder awareness while breaking down myths. One of the pages explains, “Many people think that only white, middle class girls get eating disorders. This is a myth! Eating disorders don’t discriminate – they can affect someone from any age, gender, sexual orientation, cultural or socio-economic background.” It goes on to discuss basic information on anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder (BED), and other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED).

What is Healthy?

Box of Cupcakes“Healthy” is a relative term. In everyday life, you likely hear the term being used to describe people who primarily eat kale and go to the gym twice a day. In the eating disorder community, these extreme behaviors are recognized as disordered. Healthy then takes on a new meaning, either letting yourself eat that cupcake you’re craving or taking a day off from the gym if you are tired. Listening to your body and not pushing it to its absolute limit when it comes to food and exercise is an essential form of self-care.

How Far is Too Far recognizes how the idea of what is “healthy” has become arguably unhealthy, introducing information on orthorexia and compulsive overexercise. This section of the site also tears down myths, stating, “Compulsive exercise is not related to the number of hours spent exercising, but to the mind-set behind the exercise.”

Just as many people believe that someone cannot have an eating disorder unless they appear emaciated, many attribute compulsive exercise to only those who spend an extreme amount of time at the gym. In fact, it relates to what drives your behaviors.

This information is often misunderstood by both the public and media, so spreading the word about disordered food behaviors and exercise can do a lot for the eating disorder community.

Helping Someone You Know

teacher learning to see eating disorders in studentsHow Far is Too Far provides insight into how to help someone you think might be struggling with an eating disorder. There are subsections for fitness professionals, teachers and school staff, young people, families, and what to do if you think you might be engaging in disordered eating.

Focusing on these groups shows how far we have come in recognizing the importance of early detection and intervention when it comes to eating disorders. Eating disorders often develop during adolescence, so educating teachers and other school officials on how to handle situations in which students might be displaying troubling signs could be hugely beneficial to young people throughout Australia. This not only helps these individuals know how to intervene, but it reduces the stigma attached to eating disorders.

Fitness professionals also come face-to-face with disordered eating since exercise remains so connected to the eating disorder community. Many fitness instructors or other professionals inadvertently promote disordered eating and exercise regimens. How Far is Too Far focuses on how to be a body positive instructor, as well as provides information on how to help clients whose relationships with food is cause for concern.

Getting Help Immediately

How Far is Too Far encourages you to reach out for help now if you think you might have an issue with food and not to wait until you hit eating disorder rock bottom. Eating Disorders Victoria and the Victorian State Government stand with the rest of the community in promoting early intervention.

This new website also gives visitors the option to search for local individual practitioners and local treatment centers. Eating Disorders Victoria is listed as a valuable resource and continues to be a leading voice in Australia’s eating disorder community.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What impact do you think that early intervention has on eating disorders? What impact did early intervention have on you or if you did not have early intervention how do you think you may have benefited from it?

Courtney Howard Image - 2-17-16About the Author: Courtney Howard is the Executive Assistant for Eating Disorder Hope and Addiction Hope. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. from San Diego State University, holds a paralegal certificate in Family Law, and is a Certified Domestic Violence Advocate. After obtaining her certification as a life coach, Courtney launched Lionheart Eating Disorder Recovery Coaching in 2015 and continues to be a passionate advocate for awareness and recovery.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on July 25, 2016
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