The Challenging Road of Eating Disorders

Do you know that it’s Eating Disorder awareness week?  I’m showing my support to something that I’ve battled for over a decade by sharing my journey with you. The rate of eating disorders is increasing, which is so sad.  It’s a very difficult challenge to overcome unhealthy body image and unhealthy relationships to food.

Much of the issue with eating disorders goes beyond control issues, although it has a large part in the cycle.  It comes down to relationships!  It’s starts with the relationship that we have with ourselves first.  That is where the healing happens when we heal the broken idea of who we think we are supposed to be, what we are supposed to look like.

For me it was all about a stupid freakin number on the scale.  I was only okay with 100, if it was above I was devastated and vowed to make up for it and if it was less then I was thrilled.  How can you base your happiness on a number on the scale?  Well, you can’t that is the truth.

Your weight does not determine your worthiness!

The cornerstone for me happened in my very first yoga classes.  I was in a horrible place when my feet first touched a yoga mat and I am so grateful since I’m not sure I would be here if I didn’t choose a path that gave me healing, forgiveness, permission to not be perfect, and that my body deserves to be nourished with healthy, happy food, every day!

Every time I practiced I received messages that I was enough, I was whole just as I am and I still get that today when I practice.  Bulimia and anorexia are part of my past, would I say that I’m fully 100% over it, no, I wouldn’t because I’m not.  I am in a much better place and my days don’t start with a weigh-in but rather a yoga practice.

I’m not saying that yoga works for everyone that is suffering from these horrible issues, I’m saying it worked for me because I dove right into yoga and I’ve never looked back.  I don’t just robotically move through poses but instead I fuel each pose like it was a prayer to my body, the shrine, the temple, the Goddess!

I had to shift the relationship that I had with myself to see that I was more than my weight and that didn’t determine if I was worthy of love or friendship.  My heart truly goes out to the millions of people that struggle with eating disorders.  It astonishing how many people are effected by this every single day, week after week, year after year.

Here are some things to think about today and this week!!


  • It is estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder   – seven million women and one million men
  • One in 200 American women suffers from anorexia
  • Two to three in 100 American women suffers from bulimia
  • Nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder   (Note: One in five Americans suffers from mental illnesses.)
  • An estimated 10 – 15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are males


  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness
  • A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated   Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after   contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and   only 30 – 40% ever fully recover
  • The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than   the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old.
  • 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from   complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart   problems


  • Only 1 in 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment
  • About 80% of the girls/women who have accessed care for their eating   disorders do not get the intensity of treatment they need to stay in recovery –   they are often sent home weeks earlier than the recommended stay
  • Treatment of an eating disorder in the US ranges from $500 per day to $2,000   per day. The average cost for a month of inpatient treatment is $30,000. It is   estimated that individuals with eating disorders need anywhere from 3 – 6 months   of inpatient care. Health insurance companies for several reasons do not   typically cover the cost of treating eating disorders
  • The cost of outpatient treatment, including therapy and medical monitoring,   can extend to $100,000 or more


  • Anorexia is the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescents
  • 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25
  • 50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as overweight
  • 80% of 13-year-olds have attempted to lose weight


  • Rates of minorities with eating disorders are similar to those of white   women
  • 74% of American Indian girls reported dieting and purging with diet pills
  • Essence magazine, in 1994, reported that 53.5% of their respondents,   African-American females were at risk of an eating disorder
  • Eating disorders are one of the most common psychological problems facing   young women in Japan.

This information comes from an American site (


Many people reached out to me to try to help me but I realized now that I couldn’t handle my relationship with them in that capacity until I came to terms with it myself.  It was a slippery slope for a while but I managed to get strong inside my heart and on the outside through major amounts of intention infused yoga practice that was mostly all done in my bedroom with books.

Again, I can’t offer this enough but my heart truly goes out to you if you suffer from these types of daily challenges and if you are close to someone that suffers from an eating disorder since I know how difficult and helpless it feels to watch it happen.

May we all find peace in our hearts and recognize that life is a gift and each one of us is worthy, unique and important.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti



About Mindy

Mindy Willis-Menard is an international yoga teacher who's love of yoga, nature, adventurer and life inspire her to teach. A true adventurer of the heart Mindy is also a hooper, rock climber, snowboarder, runner, foodie and cyclist. Mindy teaches classes, workshops and retreats world-wide. Every other moment she spends with her husband and dog, Mrs. Betty Rox.

2 thoughts on “The Challenging Road of Eating Disorders

  1. Anorexia nervosa can be difficult to overcome. But with treatment, you can gain a better sense of who you are, return to healthier eating habits and reverse some of anorexia’s serious complications. …..`


    1. Reprogramming my mind to know that I am worthy of life and healthy food was so important to my recovery. Yoga was just the place for this to happen for me. Thanks for connecting!!!

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