Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Week (BIEDAW) – 6-12 September 2021

Campaign Theme: #DietsAreBullSht

During Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Week (BIEDAW), Eating Disorders Queensland (EDQ), a community organisation supporting individuals living with eating disorders and their families, will raise awareness around the theme #DietsAreBullSht. EDQ aims to change the dominant discourse that our bodies define our worth as humans and that dieting is a normal part of life.

This year we are focusing our messaging to reach younger people. Mission Australia’s 2019 youth survey showed that 27.9% of respondents (aged 15-19 years) are concerned with body image and 31.2% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents struggled with body image concerns.

EDQ recognises that while we do not always love our bodies, we can aim to appreciate how our bodies perform and sustain us daily. Tanya Kretschmann, a lived experience speaker with EDQ, reframes positive body image to “a state of body neutrality, when we don’t always ‘love our body’, but we aim to deeply respect what our bodies give and do for us.”

We understand that maintaining a healthy view of bodies can be a struggle as we are bombarded daily by messages from a billion dollar ‘weight management’ industry (projected to have a market worth of US$269.2 billion by 2024). The diet industry is continually producing new ways of how we can deprive ourselves of nutrition in the name of ‘health’ – but why all the new diets? BECAUSE DIETS DON’T WORK!! Diets do not improve health, and diets do not improve body image. In fact, those people who diet are more likely to have poor body image and go on to develop an eating disorder.

These global industries need to keep finding ways to engage their customers, as their previous no-carb/low carb/keto/detox approaches have failed to produce the desired result – hence the continual creation of new “healthy eating” methods and diets. The weight loss industry profits from the creation and maintenance of poor body image. It is in their best interest to continue providing us with a negative view of food, eating, and our bodies.

EDQ CEO Belinda Chelius encourages everyone to approach messaging about weight loss and dieting for health with a dose of scepticism – asking ourselves who might actually be benefiting from this approach to body image.

We can help create safe, non-judgmental environments for conversations where bodies and people are not judged on their shape or size. There is #NoWrongWayToHaveaBody and instead strive to accept the ones we have and realize that #DietsAreBullSht

EDQ has streamlined our services, to better support those impacted by eating disorders during these difficult times, with many false and triggering messages emerging around BMI and COVID risk factors. Nationally, ED services have seen a significant increase in individuals and carers seeking support and treatment, often with presentations with higher complexity and severity.

Look out for our BIEDAW banners and lights at Caxton Street (Milton) and Story Bridge (Inbound), during this week of activity.

Throughout BIEDAW, EDQ will be active on social media to raise awareness and encourage people to change the conversation.

Please join us and share these posts with the hashtags #DietsAreBullSht #BIEDAW #NoWrongWayToHaveaBody