Eating disorder stories shared to inspire, help others

Marshall+University+student+Emily+Fankhanel+pictured+in+June+2018.
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Eating disorder stories shared to inspire, help others

Marshall University student Emily Fankhanel pictured in June 2018.

Marshall University student Emily Fankhanel pictured in June 2018.

photo courtesy of Emily Fankhanel

Marshall University student Emily Fankhanel pictured in June 2018.

photo courtesy of Emily Fankhanel

photo courtesy of Emily Fankhanel

Marshall University student Emily Fankhanel pictured in June 2018.

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Someone is sitting in the bathroom, throwing up the food they had for lunch. They have not digested a meal in days.

“Eating disorders are not a mindset that people can just pull themselves out of,” said Ally Fletcher, a high school senior who’s taking classes at Marshall University.

Fletcher said she suffered from anorexia for 5 years and has since suffered from a binge eating disorder as well. She said her disorders have taught her that “there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.”

“Healing and recovery is not linear and requires a lot of patience and getting to truly know and love yourself for who you truly are,” Fletcher said.

Marshall is helping students to understand these disorders this week as part of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, a week-long observance that has encouraged some students, such as Fletcher, to share their stories as a way to bring awareness.

Another Marshall student who shared her story this week was Emily Fankhanel, a senior exercise science and psychology double major.

Fankhanel said she once allowed herself only 500 calories a day and exercised three to four times a day to ensure that her ribs were visible. Now, she said, she stays active to do what she loves and to focus on the health of her body, instead of its look.

“The less calories I would eat, the more proud of myself I would feel,” Fankhanel said. “Today, I stay active to do what I love and exercise for my health and what my body can do rather than what it looks like.”

Both women are contributing to a more “body positive” existence by sharing their stories and highlighting their recovery to prove that no one is alone and to end the stigma surrounding eating disorders.

“Keep the conversation going and talk about something that’s uncomfortable and may be seen as not important,” Fletcher said. “I’d like to see more of this from Marshall and maybe make it a more regular event, because people need help practicing self-love and acceptance consistently.”

Fankhanel said showing self-love is a sign of progress toward things such as recovery and body positivity.

“Progress is being able to wake up in the morning and love myself the way I am,” Fankhanel said.

Marshall is providing students an opportunity to share their support, and to “Come as you are…not as you think you SHOULD be,” this week by offering free wellness activities and resources Feb. 25 through Feb. 28 in the Memorial Student Center and Marshall Recreation Center.

Makaylah Wheeler can be contacted at [email protected]

 

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