Amy Candido lives in recovery from eating disorders
The beginning of February marks the launch of the Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness (PEDAW) campaign and National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (Feb. 3-9, 2013).
PEDAW coordinator Amy Candido has a passion for prevention, after being tortured for years by her own eating disorder. Amy’s eating disorder began in grade eight and continued until her mid twenties. “I was existing, not living,” she says.
The eating disorder severely impacted all aspects of her life: socially, physically, and emotionally. She lost all of her friends. Days were occupied by a complete obsession with food and excessive exercise. Family events involving food were avoided. She felt numb and worthless, so worthless that she avoided celebrating her own birthday. Her choice of university degrees, an undergraduate degree in human kinetics and masters is physiotherapy, was fueled by the eating disorder rather than a true passion for the material.
Life has since changed for the better. Now 28 and recovered, Candido is using her experiences with PEDAW, a BC Province wide effort to raise awareness around prevention and early intervention of eating disorders as well as media literacy, resiliency, building healthy body image and self-esteem. The initiative is led by Jessie’s Legacy Eating Disorders Prevention Program at Family Services of the North Shore in collaboration with Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre, Looking Glass Foundation, St. Paul’s Specialized Adult Eating Disorder Program and Healthy Minds, Healthy Campuses.
During the past year, Candido presented in over 30 elementary and high schools on eating disorders, disordered eating, body-image and self-esteem, helped organize three flash mobs in the Lower Mainland and assisted in several education events open to the public. She will be involved with the official 2013 launch at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver BC on February 13, 2013, where the PEDAW team will present information about the initiative to eating disorder clinicians around the Province. While plans are being finalized for the upcoming year, activities will include a flashmob contest, creation of a PEDAW video, and free educational events for the public.
When asked what helped in her recovery, one aspect she mentioned included her mother’s support: “Every day or other day my mom would put notes in my pocket, backpack, under my pillow, etc. and it would say things like, ‘you are worth it,’ ‘you are beautiful,’ ‘I want my Amy back,’ ‘I will never stop loving you’….”
Amy Candido is back. And ready to do what she can to prevent others from falling into the confinement of an eating disorder.
Amy Candido shares her story of recovery with us.
Photograph of Amy Candido by Larry Wright, Burnaby Now
The Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness (PEDAW) campaign is launched the first full week in February with activities and events taking place throughout the year. It is a B.C. Province wide effort to raise awareness around prevention and early intervention of eating disorders as well as media literacy, resiliency, building healthy body image and self-esteem.
The primary purpose of the PEDAW is to provide leadership to a wide collective effort of volunteers, eating disorder professionals, nutritionists, health care providers, counsellors, educators, social workers and individuals committed to raising awareness around the prevention, early intervention and treatment of eating disorders. This includes awareness of risk and protective factors such as resiliency, self-esteem, media literacy and body image, all of which can be associated with disordered eating.