Hitchin woman’s awareness campaign on eating disorders

A WOMAN who has recovered from an eating disorder has joined a campaign to help those who are going through a similar ordeal to the one she did.

Laura Yates, who lives in Hitchin, has taken on a major role within the Hungry For Change campaign.

The 30-year-old battled anorexia for eight years in her 20s, and wants to put the truth out about eating disorders.

“The campaign is aiming to raise awareness of different eating disorders. When it comes to eating disorders, I think a lot of people think of anorexia and bulimia, but there are more,” Laura told the Comet.

“We want to raise awareness of that and ask people to challenge the stigma that is attached to eating disorders.

“There’s not much support for people who can’t afford to get help. It’s a very difficult thing to go through. I can see what needs to be improved.”

Laura, who did not want to disclose how much weight she lost, struggled when she sought help.

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Although she eventually found the solution in counsellor Gill Fennings-Monkman, for years she did not receive the help she needed.

“My personal experience is that I did try and seek help quite early on, and it wasn’t really dealt with in what I thought was the best possible way, which led me to becoming more ill,” she said.

“It’s all about numbers, on a scale, and it’s not taken seriously unless you’re at that crucial level.”

On how her eating disorder started, she added: “For me personally, it was a chain of events. It very much crept up on me, I didn’t even realise.

“There wasn’t one specific trigger. I did lose a lot of weight, but an eating disorder is not necessarily reflected in the weight.”

The campaign launched last year, with Laura one of its newest volunteers.

The non profit organisation was created by people who have experience of eating disorders first hand. It is in the process of applying for charity status.

Many of the people involved in the campaign are from different areas of the country, trying to raise awareness in their respective regions.

“It’s comprised of a group of people who have all have experiences of eating disorders, and therefore know what people are going through. We’re all different ages and all have different backgrounds,” said Laura.

“We want to raise awareness that all eating disorders are a serious life threatening illness - not a phase or a lifestyle choice.

“We also want to educate people that weight is not the main factor in an eating disorder.”

To find out more about the campaign, visit www.hungryforchangeofficial.org or visit the Facebook page by searching ‘Hungry For Change’.

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