By now you've probably heard of Mindfoodly, a husband and wife team on a mission to end eating disorders. What you might not know is that they've recently released an eBook - You Are Not Alone. The book is a compilation of personal stories told by people who have experienced eating disorders, giving valuable insight into what it can be like to live with this crippling disorder. While each story is unique, there are common threads woven throughout each individual's journey, and through the sharing of their real life stories, Mindfoodly and the contributors hope to take away the shame, silence and stigma around eating disorders.
Matt and Kate have kindly taken some time to answer a few questions about the project, what it means to them and how it came about.
What prompted you to write and produce the ebook?
Kate’s always on the lookout for stories from people recovering from eating disorders (ED). It’s possible to find them online or buy books about individual journeys, but our intention with You Are Not Alone was to provide a bunch of stories from different women, all in one place and at no cost.
We know first hand how helpful it can be to know you’re not the only one going through something as difficult as an ED. Knowing there are people out there who are or have been through the same thing can give you a lot of hope. We wanted to make it easier for people to find that hope.
Was it difficult to find other people willing to share their story of living with an eating disorder?
Not at all, actually. We were really surprised at how willing people were to share their stories. We can only assume it’s because they felt the same way Kate did before we started mindfoodly. When you spend all your energy hiding something – especially something with so much stigma attached to it – you feel exhausted all the time. We think there’s been a shift, at least in some circles, and people are starting to realise that recovering from an eating disorder is hard enough without the added pressure of keeping it a secret. Like we say in the book, if we own our stories they don’t own us.
Who do you hope will benefit from reading the ebook?
Everyone! Obviously this is aimed at anyone living with (and hopefully recovering from) an eating disorder, as well as their friends and carers, but unfortunately in a society that says messing with your body is okay, the stories in You Are Not Alone have relevance for just about everyone.
Have you had any feedback from readers, and what has their response to the book been?
We’ve had such positive feedback! Thank you all, it’s truly been amazing. So many readers have written to tell us how much the book has helped them. And we’re thrilled by the number of psychologists and dietitians who’ve let us know they’re sharing the book with their clients.
You've collaborated with dietitians, a psychologist and an exercise physiologist on the project. How important do you feel it is to see qualified health professionals when living with an eating disorder?
So, so important! We can’t stress this enough. Eating disorders are no different to any other illness and should be treated accordingly. Never let embarrassment or fear of being labelled “weak” or “attention-seeking” stop you from reaching out to a professional. If you even THINK there’s a chance your behaviour with food or exercise might be unhealthy we’re begging you, check out our directory of dietitians, our advice for those seeking help on a budget, or go directly to The Butterfly Foundation for free support.
What's next for the mindfoodly team?
Right now, we’re continuing with the weekly blog and focusing on Kate’s recovery. We have lots of ideas – big and small – but the most important thing for us is for Kate to keep on recovering and to make sure our fellow recoverers out there know they are NOT alone!