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Melissa’s Voice

In support of a friend, tonight I am going to venture into a subject that I typically don’t address on the blog – eating disorders.

“In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Millions more are struggling with binge eating disorders. In spite of the unprecedented growth of eating disorders in the past two decades, eating disorders research continues to be under-funded, insurance coverage for treatment is inadequate, and societal pressures to be thin remain rampant.”National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA)

As an active and health-minded female who has certainly encountered my fair share of body image struggles and also supported friends through similar issues, I feel that this is a post that I have to write.

My friend Lynn Dreyer started a charity called Melissa’s Voice in 2011 to honor her sister who committed suicide after a lifelong battle with an eating disorder. The mission of Melissa’s Voice is to promote eating disorder awareness, provide educational resources and programs, support local eating disorder professionals and host fund raising events in the community.

Lynn is doing amazing things in the Charlotte community. She hosted the first NEDA walk in Charlotte in 2011 and has created an event called Sip & Savour to raise funds to support her HOPE Scholarship. This is a scholarship program that she created to provide financial assistance for those who cannot afford eating disorder treatment.

Thanks to the money raised through the first Sip & Savour event in 2011, Melissa’s Voice was able to provide assistance to Katie Brumley to receive treatment for her eating disorder. This year’s event will celebrate Katie and the gains she’s made in her journey to recovery as well as raise money to continue to offer the scholarship to those in need. I think it’s incredible that the focus is on directly helping individuals seek recovery and healing.

Sip & Savour will be held on Saturday, September 22 in Charlotte. I so wish I could attend the event but I am going to be out of town on a girl’s weekend in Asheville so I wanted to share the event with you guys in hopes that you will support Lynn and Melissa’s Voice. Check out the website for more details. It’s a gallery crawl featuring food from great restaurants, art and wine tastings.

I hope to partner with Melissa’s Voice in the future on events to help bring awareness to eating disorders and support women and men in our community who are struggling with eating disorders.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • RLD September 21, 2012, 10:54 am

    Thanks for posting this. As a reader this comes at a funny time for me. I had an awful night last night and need to vent. Let me back track a bit…. I did struggle with extreme dieting and binge exercising from 8th grade all through high school. I didn’t want to be so obsessed, but I was. After binging on candy after a parade I found myself in a frenzy of push ups and just totally crashed and prayed for God to TAKE THIS AWAY. To be completely honest, my obsession did lift. Throughout college I did find myself going along with the culture with lots of beer and wings, etc. But I was able to stay pretty healthy by being on my feet CONSTANTLY walking across a huge campus to class, staying active at the gym and working the floor in a hospital. Since June 2010 I now have a career in which I sit at a desk all day. *BIG SARCASTIC SMILE!* I try to remind myself that I’m so thankful to have a great job with an amazing company, that I enjoy, but it is a struggle. Working & sitting is exhausting. So, you recoop/reward yourself with resting/relaxing (seems to always include food.) Any social thing you do is typically go out to eat, happy hrs, go get ice cream, etc. or, dinner & a movie night! with dessert, of course! I just find myself eating 2 big plates of dinner and desset (seconds on that, too), sometimes lots of wine (oh..the whole bottle’s gone…?) and laying around on the couch watching TV. I eat a lot, but stay quite thin. Part of that I attribute to having been in a really tough, stressful relationship this past year. But yeah, back to previous sentence: I eat a lot. Sometimes I’ll look at what I just ate and realize..Okay…that was probably like 700 Calories…and it was just one meal, or snack! So the past few days I started myfitnesspal.com….bad idea! Seeing that I eat about 3000 Calories pr day is humbling! And scary! Then you get into this obsessive thinking – Oh, I’ll just have a diet coke and apple and peanut butter sandwich tomorrow-that’s all I’m eating all day! 😛 Normal exercise for me is a walk or jog around the park or at the gym, but my workouts have been lame and sometimes few and far between since working. I did run a 1/2 marathon in Oct 2010, so I should give myself props for that, I guess. I NEED to get out of these habits, though, It crushes my psyche. I do stay active in my church and socially – but sometimes that spreads you too thin and you just end up crashing, even doing those things you enjoy. So, for me, trying to find balance I guess is a daily thing ( I say that, but…how often do I actually seek balance, rather than just giving in to the tired-ness and telling myself “you deserve to lay around.”????) Last night was bad. I took an hour walk and did some stretching/sit ups. Then made 2 plates of pasta, 2 ice cream sundaes and wine. Let me tell u – it’s not even so much how much I’m eating but also how fast! It’s like a binge and it makes me feel awful emotionally. Ended up passing out due to guilt, woke up around 1 AM and ran 5 miles. That is not normal!!!!!!!!!!! …So, sorry for the long-winded confession, but I just needed to VENT that! It is a new day, and my life is in Christ and He is faithful! I want to honor the body He created for me. Keep on pressing in!

    • kat September 22, 2012, 2:06 pm

      As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I would encourage you to seek outside support for yourself. The behaviors you describe match symptoms of an eating disorder. While I certainly cannot diagnose you over the internet, your post concerns me. Please seek support from friends and family and resources in your community that address disordered eating/exercising. I appreciate your courage in posting this and the need to vent – that alone says how strong you are. You know what you need. Please do it for yourself – you are worth it!

  • Tara September 21, 2012, 4:28 pm

    RLD – This post scares me. I have a history of anorexia and exercise addiction, but I have never gotten out of bed at 1am to run. You sound a bit manic. I hope you turn to someone in your life who can get you some help. It will always be a struggle, but this is not ok.

  • Brooke @ sweats & sweets September 21, 2012, 5:05 pm

    This touched my heart. My mother has suffered for years, even before I was born with a form of an eating disorder. She has always been thin, and I never knew she made herself be that way, but until my parents divorce she always came across as a normal, healthy mom. She turned from not eating to overeating and binge eating and gaining an unhealthy amount of weight. I was so concerned that I stepped in and helped it lose the weight by healthy eating and exercise, but over the 3 years since this happened she has turned back to not eating, or only eating under 400 calories a day. At times I get so mad, if I were doing this she would ring my neck, and she admits what she is doing is deadly and she hates it. I so wish she could get the help she needs. Whenever I mention I feel fat or I hate my body she is quickly on my case about how beautiful I am and I have the perfect body. I understand she does not want to develop her mental way of thinking about weight. I rarely discuss this with anyone, but I think what you are doing is amazing.

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