Photo C/O Sarah Noltner

cw: this article references eating disorders/disordered eating

Body Brave Canada is a charitable organization that provides resources and support for individuals struggling with eating disorders/disordered eating. On Nov. 10, they will be holding a Book Swap at The Spice Factory (121 Hughson St. North) in order to being the community together and raise awareness about their work. There will be a reading by local author Anne Bokma for her new book, “My Year of Living Spiritually: From Woo-Woo to Wonderful” and a pop-up shop for the body-positive clothing brand Mettamade

Julie Shea, the chair of Body Brave’s Board of Directors, says that she hopes the event will help people realize how important it is to have adequate resources for eating disorders/disordered eating. 

“Eating disorders are sometimes not given the validation that they need to have. They’re a very serious mental health disorder and I don’t think enough people realize how serious and prevalent they are, and that they have a 10% mortality rate. This is in our community. There are people dying in our community, there are people suffering in our community, and there are no resources,” said Shea. 

Body Brave Canada seeks to fill the gap left by traditional health care. They offer a number of accessible options and resources, both in-person and online. 

Mettamade is a manifestation of the good work Body Brave has done for the community. It was created by mother-daughter duo Carol Davies and Morgan MacDonald, both of whom have worked with Body Brave in the past. They create clothing that is more forgiving for people who struggle to shop and find clothes that fit. They have designed a sizing system based around gemstones instead of numbers. Rather than a size eight or a medium, you might be a topaz. The fabric is bamboo-spandex, making it both comfortable and sustainable.

“When you wear them it’s like giving yourself self-compassion,” said Davies. 

Mettamade frequently collaborates with Body Brave and donates a portion of their sales to the organization. For the Book Swap, 50 per cent of the proceeds will be donated to Body Brave. 

“We’re giving back to a group that was instrumental in my daughter’s recovery,” said Davies. 

Mettamade was in part created to make more forgiving clothes for MacDonald while she was struggling with an eating disorder. It was during that time that she and Davies started to work with Body Brave. MacDonald wasn’t able to find resources elsewhere, but Body Brave helped her.

The Book Swap takes place this Sunday Nov. 10 from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. at The Spice Factory. Tickets are $20 each. Bring five books with you and take five away. If you are interested in supporting Mettamade, they have a few pop-up shops coming up this month and a brick-and-mortar store in Westdale. 

“We need people to know we’re here, and to support the cause,” said Shea. 

To find out more about Body Brave Canada, you can take a look at their website or drop by the Book Swap. If you or someone that you care about is struggling with disordered eating and are not sure where to turn, reach out.


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Photo from Silhouette Photo Archives

By anonymous contributor

For a long time, my eating disorder flew under the radar. People always talk about calories, sizes, sugar, fat and new cure-all treatments so casually. Because thinner is better. So, for the most part, I was just like everyone else in our diet culture.

It sounds wonderful; I’ve really romanticized it. The weight comes back sometimes, fluctuating behind smiles and therapy sessions, but all that means is your bra and jeans never fit right. I think it is very important to mention that most people with eating disorders do not lose weight. In fact, the vast majority, like me, are never underweight. So all the crying and counting leads to nothing but more unhappiness and temporary, unglamorous fixes. And a lot of therapy.

I’m not here to discuss my eating disorder “journey.” I want to talk about Western society’s disordered-eating “journey.” About how being fat became a punchline, and the only thing your doctor wants to talk about during your five-minute appointment at the wellness center.

Let’s talk about how new students enter university with one of their top concerns being the dreaded “freshman fifteen.” It’s horrific that this expression has become so commonplace among my classmates. Even the calorie counts on the menus in the student center reinforce this obsession our demographic has with thinness.

This “epidemic” of obesity is on everybody’s mind all the time. I can’t tell you the number of people I witness who venomously insist on non-fat milk at Starbucks — ironic considering “non-fat” has more sugar which begs the question, what is the true epidemic here?

There are things the public health campaigns do not want you to know. Like how much money is generated by diet-fads and weight-loss companies. How little their guidelines are backed by scientific literature. How much easier it is to blame you than blame society. How hard your body will fight to stay at its predetermined ideal weight – and that you really can’t change that predetermined weight. And, the most shocking to me, how little weight affects health.

Your body was not designed to handle weight fluctuation. Any amount of weight loss is a worst-case scenario, and this is whether you are 100 or 500 pounds. So your body is going to fight like hell to stay where it is unless it’s below the genetically predetermined ideal size.

Ask pretty much anyone who has tried sustained weight loss. You can do it, but it will be a constant struggle. Unless you lose weight extremely gradually, in which case you are likely not doing it consciously, you cannot be happy or relaxed around food. You will be starving yourself until you are hungry enough to eat a horse, and then you’ll eat that horse.

As for weight and health, we all know about body mass index. 18-25 is normal, and then everyone below is a “model” and everyone above is “disgustingly” unhealthy. But the science says otherwise.

A high BMI is not correlated with high morbidity or mortality rates until you get into the above 30 range. And above 30, the rates of morbidity and mortality are far more correlated with physical activity than with weight. So most research would show that so long as you can move with your body, you can live with your body. How’s that for a slogan?

It is true that freshman do gain some weight during their first few months at university but nowhere near the exaggerated fifteen pounds. If you gained some weight, relax – it’s normal! Researchers at McMaster University are currently investigating environmental and biological determinants of weight change because, yes, that number on the scale really isn’t all up to you.

So drink that full-fat latte. Stop obsessing over food. It doesn’t lead to anywhere good. The world is your goddamn oyster, with lots of other yummy things on the menu. Quite frankly, weight loss is boring. But that’s another story.

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