Doris Cowan speaks at Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Doris Cowan at one of her lowest points during her journey with anorexia.

WITH National Eating Disorders Awareness Week being held nationally from 26 February to 3 March, Coffs Coast anorexia advocate Doris Cowan will speak out on the disease at local events.

Ms Cowan, the International Women’s Day Coffs Coast Woman of the Year, has personal experience of living with and surviving anorexia.

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Through her 3R’s (rest, refuel, recover) community group, she has partnered with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) as a collaborator for the week-long campaign.

She is one of many around the world who are taking action to increase awareness about eating disorders.

“I am taking part in Eating Disorder Awareness Week in several ways,” Doris told News Of The Area.

“I have been invited to be on the panel of the Little Wings International Women’s Day morning tea on 5 March, where I will talk about my lived experience.”

Little Wings is a not-for-profit children’s charity covering NSW, ACT and QLD that provides free ongoing flight and ground transport to children and young people with chronic and complex conditions, flying them into treatment at John Hunter Children’s Hospital.

“I am in talks with Amanda Bos, a friend who is a newly qualified psychologist and a Body Image Movement Global Ambassador, who has worked in promoting positive body image through her lived experience,” said Doris.

“Through her program, Embrace Kids, our plan is to hold a community event for National Eating Disorders Week.”

Doris and Amanda are also looking into collaborating with Embrace Kids to bring eating disorder awareness into schools.

“There is much focus on appropriate language used by teachers around food such as not referring to food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but rather ‘everyday’ and ‘sometimes’,” Doris said.

In 2022 Doris published a book about her journey with anorexia, ‘My Passion Became My Obsession’.

The autobiographical account begins one year before her first three-month long admission to an eating disorder clinic in 2015.

The story continues through to 2021, when she finally felt she had truly recovered.

In delivering the roller-coaster journey in an honest, authentic account, she shines a light on the illness that thrives in secrecy amongst sufferers.

From the day the book was published she heard directly from people that reading her story was helping them with their own personal battle with an eating disorder.

“Many local families have reached out for help with loved ones suffering with an eating disorder,” Doris said.

“I also had the privilege of being a part of a survey for the effects – both positive and negative – that in-patient treatment has on recovered anorexics as a whole and ways to improve and educate the programs offered.”

Doris will be sharing results from the survey in her work during National Eating Disorders Week.

“I believe that awareness of this second highest mortality disorder amongst all mental illnesses needs to be increased as well as highlighting that recovery is possible and I am living proof of this, hence hoping to make a difference especially during this important week.”

Inspired by the National Eating Disorders Awareness Week theme, Get In The Know, Doris is offering her lived experience to anyone who feels they may benefit, including as a guest speaker for organisations such as school or medical groups.

She is also offering a free signed copy of her book for the first five people who reach out during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week via her Facebook page or email

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