Eating disorders don’t “discriminate” says campaigner.

Local campaigner describes her battle with an eating disorder and shares tips on helping sufferers.

Rose-Anne Evans, from The Retreat York, was interviewed last week by Nick Love on his show ‘Love in the Morning’ and talked about her experience with anorexia nervosa. Last week marked National Eating disorder awareness week, a campaign which aims to raise awareness and breakdown the stigma surrounding eating disorders, something Rose-Anne campaigns for all year round.

As an award-winning campaigner, she raises awareness and helps both suffers, and those closest to them, understand what having an eating disorder actually means.

“I would describe an eating disorder as something that doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter what weight, age, gender or race you are it can affect anyone. I myself have experienced an eating disorder.” Rose-Anne is described as an ‘expert by experience’ a term which is used to show she has also gone through a similar experience to those who have reached out to the service for help.

“I started struggling with food and body image when I was 15 or 16, and it wasn’t originally just about food, it just manifested itself that way. It took over, and the way I describe it, it’s like you have different islands that build up who you are.

“I had a love for music, I valued friends and family. The eating disorder takes these things, and that’s what it did to me.”

Leading eating disorder charity Beat has recently reported a 140% increase in people reaching out to them, raising concerns that the pandemic has caused an increase in eating disorders. Rose-Anne recognises this increase and wants to reassure anyone that even if the thought of recovery seems difficult, it is possible. She says that a support network of friends and family was crucial for her.

“The reason it was so hard for me to think about recovery is that I didn’t know who I would be if I let go of that one thing I thought I had left. It took a long time to really build up evidence that I was more than just this eating disorder.

“What helped with my own experience was parents and friends just being by my side. It had to come down to me to understand my value and why I needed to recover.”

The full interview is available here: https://listenagain.jorvikradio.com/LoveInTheMorning

It can be found on the ‘Listen Again’ section of the Jorvik Radio website. It was part of Nick Love’s ‘Love in the morning’ show on the 5th March. The interview is in the second hour of the show.

Written by: Oscar Bellerby