We sat down with a long-time Looking Glass volunteer, Sherene Balanji, who will be graduating next year from Simon Fraser University with an Honours degree in Psychology. She is currently working on completing her Honours Thesis exploring the relationship between social media behaviours and disordered eating in undergraduate students. She has been volunteering with Looking Glass in the Hand in Hand program for 3 years, and as a Forum Support volunteer since 2018. Today, she reflects back on the experience of receiving a 2017 Scholarship award from the Looking Glass Foundation.
"I am in recovery because that is what I know I need to do, not only for myself but also for that little boy, and for others suffering from eating disorders, especially those in the trans community. Each and every one of us deserves to know that there's more out there than our disorder, that we’re worth so much more than we believe and that we will grow to learn and love and accept ourselves for who we are."
"Social media is a small, often filtered and posed glimpse into what people want others to see about their lives. Beyond that it is often image-based and unlike the old adage, a picture really isn’t worth a thousand words: it tells you very little about a person, their likes and dislikes, experiences, thoughts, hopes and dreams, potential, and challenges in life."
"For anyone struggling with an eating disorder, I am letting you know that things do get better and easier. Hold onto your support system, and appreciate the help and guidance they give you. Celebrate the daily victories because it means you are on the right path. And most of all believe in yourself throughout your journey, because recovery is possible."
Recovery is such a unique process, and universally I think everyone just wants to be at peace with themselves, but this shows up differently for everyone and how this is achieved can vary so greatly depending on culture, background, and identity.
"That space between my obsession with thinness and my confusion regarding others’ obsession with thinness allowed me to understand that there is another way to perceive the world. There is another way to live inside your body. Much like learning to eat intuitively and to destroy all the food moralizations I’ve built over the years, I’ve been learning to come back inside an intuitive relationship with my body and to destroy the body moralizations I’ve built over the years."
Too often I think about eating disorders in the negative: how many people are still suffering, how much work still needs to be done. But I was thinking, the other day, about how much has changed since I had my eating disorder, years ago. How much progress has been made.
Our Volunteer & Program Manager, Katalina, shares some great pieces of advice that helped her and her husband stay focused, present, and happy as they planned their big day.
We know there is a correlation in teenagers between dieting and eating disorders, and we know that Weight Watchers is a diet (they say so themselves on their own site). So when Weight Watchers announced that they are offering their points program free for teens ages 13-17, I had some serious concerns about the implications of such a program.
Summer is often thought of as being synonymous with spontaneity – taking advantage of the longer days, warm weather, beach hangouts and countless BBQs. However, for those suffering with an eating disorder, allowing oneself to be spontaneous or to genuinely enjoy the summer may be contingent on an endless list of “should” and “if only” variables. Read on for some tips on how to embrace summer fully!