Eating disorders are infamous for being unspoken diseases that we suffer from in silence, often for far longer than we should before getting help (or being guided to help by concerned friends and family).

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week - February 25th-March 3rd - is here to remind us that eating disorders are incredibly common and something more and more men and especially women are struggling with everywhere. Here are a few ways you can honor the week with fun and respect:

1) Attend the Empowered Body Expo

This Saturday, March 2nd from 2-5pm at the  Wishcamper Center at USM, the Empowered Body Expo will be hosted by Eating Disorders Association of Maine and co-sponsored by the Recovery Oriented Campus Center at USM. Check out the event on Facebook or contact empowerbyemily@gmail.com for more info!

2) Focus on the Person, Not the Body

It's second nature for women to compare themselves to each other, and bodies often fall subject to those conversations. Fixating on one's body and how it compares to your peers (or more unrealistically, instagram models) is like pouring gasoline on the fire of a budding eating disorder or body dysmorphia. In honor of National Eating Disorder Week, try swapping out comments like, "why are you so skinny?!" or "that dress looks amazing on you, I could never pull it off with my hips" for comments focusing on your friends' personalities or actions, like complimenting their passion for their job, their skills at driving in the snow, or asking for their cornbread recipe instead of their pant size.

3) Host a Pants-Off Dance-Off Photo Shoot

There are few things more invigorating than throwing all your body worries out the window and embracing the fact that you and your friends are alive and well. One way to throw those cares out the window are to invite your girls over for a drink and dance night where you serve fun cocktails and play great music, tell your friend with the fancy camera to bring it along and do an impromptu photo shoot. Tell everyone it's a body positive event and we're dropping pants at the door, so wear your favorite undies. You could even provide props like top hats, tutus, or signs that say "I'm with sexy" or "sun's out buns out" to make the shoot extra goofy. Seeing everyone embrace their bodies and throw cares out the window might just be the best way to embrace National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.