Making a Difference

I am always thinking to myself, “MAKE A DIFFERENCE! DO SOMETHING! HOW CAN YOU CHANGE THINGS? MAKE A DIFFERENCE! MAKE A DIFFERENCE! MAKE A DIFFERENCE!” Sometimes I am only slightly aware of it, but at other times I feel consumed by it. It’s always there: when I’m on a walk, with my kids, making dinner, driving,....

Does this sound annoying? It’s not! It’s invigorating!

It’s there because of my passion for this field I am in. It’s there because I feel so deeply for my past, current, and future clients. It’s there because I know that somewhere inside of me I posses the skills and the ideas to do something that can make a difference in the way people think and feel about others. I decided to specialize in the area of eating disorders because I feel a close kinship and understanding with the clients and their families that struggle with this disorder. I understand, on a deep level, the thoughts, feeling, compulsions, and obsessions my clients have. I also connect entirely with their loved ones who feel scared, frustrated, angry, and helpless in the face of the eating disorder. I decided to work in this specialty field because I get it and because I WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Our culture is one that glorifies thinness and perpetuates fat shaming, which creates a breeding ground for eating disorders. I want to be a part of changing the way our culture talks about bodies.

Our culture is uncomfortable talking about mental illness and eating disorders thrive in shame and guilt. I want to be a part of creating an environment where people can be vulnerable enough to ask for help.

There are a lot of myths about eating disorders, which are harmful for the people struggling with them. For example, many still believe that eating disorders only exist in extremely thin bodies, or that once eating is restored the disorder is gone. I want to be a part of changing people’s perceptions about eating disorders and recovery.

Today I will make a difference. Today I will speak in a body positive way. Today I will show love and compassion to those around me. One day I will host a conference on eating disorder prevention. One day I will speak to rooms full of people about society and the eating disorder epidemic. One day…, but today I will make a difference in a smaller way. And who knows…sometimes the smallest change can make the biggest difference. 

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Tamara Duarte

Tamara Duarte is a counselor, author, speaker, and activist. Her private practice, Get Centered Counseling in Vancouver WA, helps women with food and body issues learn to love themselves, their body, their life, and their relationships. Her life’s work is steeped in personal experience, having fifteen years in recovery for anorexia, in addition to being a breast cancer survivor. An up and coming force in the counseling community, Tamara has been published in a textbook called Treatment Strategies for Substance and Process Addictions, and has sat on a panel at the American Counseling Association Conference, where she spoke to her peers on strategies and tools to use with clients struggling with eating disorders. Having a deep, personal understanding of what it takes to recover from this condition, she seeks to be an example to those she treats, to let them know that recovery is possible. Currently developing a podcast which addresses the cultural issues that promote body shame, self-esteem issues and eating disorders, Tamara lives in Vancouver, Washington, with her husband and best friend, Adam, enjoying life to the fullest with their two beautiful children, Jacob and Chloe.