Feature Friday: Johanna Kandel, Founder/CEO of The Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness

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Happy Friday from the BALANCE team! This week, we are excited to feature Johanna Kandel, the founder & CEO of Alliance For Eating Disorder Awareness.

Johanna is an inspiring speaker and advocate as well as the author of Life Beyond Your Eating Disorder. With it being Mental Health Awareness Month, we could not think of a more perfect time to honor Johanna’s great work in being a fierce advocate for those struggling with eating disorders!

Johanna was inspired to create the Alliance after her own experience recovering from a ten-year-long battle with an eating disorder. The Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing programs and activities aimed at outreach, education, and early intervention for all eating disorders. Her work since starting The Alliance in 2000 has raised awareness and eliminated stigma for those who are currently struggling or have recovered from eating disorders.

Johanna is the immediate Past President of the Board of Directors for the Eating Disorders Coalition, member of the Academy for Eating Disorders Advisory Board, founding board member of the Eating Disorders Activist Network, and a member of the Eating Disorders Leadership Summit. She even was a part of the first-ever Eating Disorder Roundtable at the White House!

Today, the Alliance hosts multiple free and open support groups weekly for adults and teens in recovery. The Alliance now also offers a program called Psychological Services that aids those who are uninsured or underinsured in the community. This life-saving treatment is provided by post doctoral fellows in an outpatient setting. Most incredibly, The Alliance launched a free comprehensive and interactive eating disorder treatment provider directory you can find here.

The Alliance continuously connects and inspires people to find recovery and freedom from their own eating disorders. BALANCE sincerely thanks Johanna for her continued advocacy work!

You can learn more or support The Alliance by visiting their website here.

Make sure to follow The Alliance on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

Feature Friday: Maha Khan Founder of Islam & Eating Disorders

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This week, BALANCE is pleased to feature Maha Kahn, the founder of the blog Islam and Eating Disorders. With the Ramadan holiday beginning earlier this week that is a challenge for many who have or are struggling with eating disorders, we wanted to celebrate Maha’s advocacy within the Muslim community.

After struggling with her own eating disorder for more than fifteen years, Maha was inspired to raise awareness, especially within her community. She started the Islam and Eating Disorders blog six years ago as a way to share her own recovery journey and provide support to others. Today, her blog reaches many and is a place full of resources, hope and inspiration.

Recognizing and understanding firsthand the unique challenges that come with being in recovery and feeling pressure to fast during Ramadan, she has been outspoken on the topic.

Khan shared with World Eating Disorders Day that "people going through this need to know they should fast responsibly," and "need to know their calorie intake, consult dietitians, and also make sure they have someone supporting them, whether that's friends, families, or the imam at the mosque."

On her site, there is a “Healthy You, Healthy Ramadan” guidebook that encourages others to partake in healthy and safe fasting behaviors. She also invites her followers and readers to reach out if they would like to be a part of a support community during this holy month of Ramadan.

With Eating Disorders being a growing problem in the Muslim world, Maha's work is evermore important during this time of year and always!

Make sure to follow Islam and Eating Disorders on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook. 

Feature Friday: Grace Ritter of Weigh Free May

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Today's Feature Friday is Grace Ritter, a 24-year-old student in Perth, Western Australia who kicked-off this month by launching her Weigh Free May campaign!

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Weigh Free May is one part challenge, one part movement. Grace is encouraging others to ditch diet culture and step off the scale for one whole month in an effort to embrace themselves exactly as they are. Weigh Free May was started by Grace with the hope that other people can think more critically about the things they say and the way they feel about their bodies. 

She was inspired by her own eating disorder recovery to start this movement. Through her own journey, she has found power in letting go of the diet mentality and embracing body positivity. But like many, she has found it hard to hear so many around her talk about wanting to lose weight and hating their bodies. Her goal is to help others find the same empowerment as she has accepting and loving her body as is! She hopes that others can realize all the wonderful things they could do if they pursued other dreams with the same passion and intensity as losing weight. 

Grace believes that everyone deserves to love themselves regardless of their size & hopes that Weigh Free May can help spread this message. We could not agree more and wanted to honor Grace and her creative movement today! 

Want to get involved? Sign the Weigh Free May Pledge here and commit to challenging diet culture and loving yourself this month. 

Make sure to follow Weigh Free More on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook