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People kept commenting on my food intake, not knowing I had an eating disorder.


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https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauramaigainor/

What most people in the workplace don’t realise about food is it can be like alcohol. 

Hi, my name is Laura Mai and I’m a marketing consultant with a mission to make ethical marketing easy. Today I’m going to reveal to you the worst experiences I’ve had in the workplace around my eating disorder and six ways I think we can make considerate changes in the workplace.

While you’re reading this, please note I’m still embarrassed to write about what I’m about to write, and I’m still seeking help for my food addiction.

I want to make three things clear before we start

  • I don’t blame anyone
  • I am responsible for my own behaviour 
  • I accept other people do not think about food the way I do 

How it began 

When I started my first job after university, I was really thin. The thinnest I’d been since I was 13 and my eating disorder began.

When I went to work people always commented on how much I ate because I ate a high volume of food. There was one boss who always commented on my food to the point where I began shifting my meal times to avoid lunch with everyone else. I also avoided the office more and began to be far more anti-social. 

Needless to say this reinforced my behaviour while offending me at the same time (or maybe I just liked pretending to be offended about how skinny people were saying I was).

Why share this?

My point in sharing the comments made to me in the workplace isn’t to point a finger.

It’s to open a conversation. It’s to raise awareness that food for some people can be the same as alcohol for another in terms of life impact and addiction, and that the role of food in our society has changed.

This is increasingly true in our world with highly processed foods that create large dopamine responses and are highly palatable. 

If you’re reading this, it means you’re open minded and I’m so impressed by your willingness to know more about eating disorders and their nuances. 

From what I’ve observed, six places points I would love you to consider are to:

  • Realise that anyone of any age, gender or race can have a problem with food
  • Have more non food centred socials
  • Question whether your work environment encourages unhealthy behaviours about food
  • Raise awareness about eating disorders in the workplace
  • Signpost eating disorder resources around the office 
  • Don’t comment on people’s food or body, comment on their work or other aspects of their personality 

Thank you for reading, if you have any questions feel free to reach out. 

 

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We do not provide professional help to individuals in urgent crisis. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 999 immediately. For support with suicidal thoughts, consider contacting the Samaritans UK, a trusted organisation specialising in confidential assistance during emotional distress. Your safety is paramount and there are professionals available to provide the urgent help required in such critical situations.
We do not provide professional help to individuals in urgent crisis. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 999 immediately. For support with suicidal thoughts, consider contacting the Samaritans UK, a trusted organisation specialising in confidential assistance during emotional distress. Your safety is paramount and there are professionals available to provide the urgent help required in such critical situations.