- Jason Wood
What a Year!
I launched Orthorexia Bites on February 9, 2021. I knew I needed to share my story, or make my mess my message as Robin Roberts would say, but I didn’t know how I would reach an audience. Plus who would even want to listen to some guy talk about his battle with mental illness?
Prior to launch, I emailed anyone I could find in the eating disorder community. Sometimes I would just find their name in a news article and reach out in hopes of a response or some guidance. I believed in my writing talents but doubted whether or not I could actually grow an audience.
One of those “cold calls” was Dr. Paula Quatromani from Boston University. She responded almost immediately and we set up a time to chat. It was the spark I needed. Paula suggested I reach out to This Is My Brave, with who I would eventually record my first interview a few weeks later. She also connected me with another eating disorder survivor, advocate, and author Rachael Steil. Rachael would be my guide and mentor through the self-publishing process of Starving for Survival.
At the end of our first chat, Paula gave me the best piece of advice and something I keep in mind as I continue to grow this movement. Stay in my lane. I didn’t need to be a mental health professional, a nutritionist, a marketer, a lobbyist, or any of that. I simply needed to be me and share my story. A story that is about a lot more than just an eating disorder.
I am now speeding down my lane one year later. I cannot believe this idea that came to me while watching Robin Roberts’ Masterclass is now a reality. Here I am, 55 blog posts, 23 podcast appearances, 7 published articles, 6 speaking engagements, and 1 published book later. Not to mention, countless new friendships across the globe with individuals who inspire and empower me daily. We are building a supportive community that will defeat the stigmas and stereotypes once and for all. It’s a community that celebrates the good days with me and gives me strength on the tough ones.
At first, I thought this would simply be a blog about orthorexia, then I thought maybe male eating disorders. Then the focus broadened to men and mental health, but I now realize that this blog is about more than that. It’s about life.
We all face obstacles. We all fight battles. And we all have stories to tell. This blog, while it may focus on my eating disorder, is about triumph over tragedy. It’s about healing and growth. It’s about changing the narrative and providing hope.
Eating disorder and mental health advocacy has become my life’s work. I will not stop until everyone out there knows they are enough and it’s okay to ask for help. With the release of Starving for Survival, I see my advocacy evolving to the next chapter and it’s a journey I look forward to sharing with all of you.
Today we celebrate year one and tomorrow we get to work making year two the best one yet!