True Beauty Movement and National Eating Disorders Association Athens Walk

It was an honor to speak on behalf of True Beauty Movement this weekend at the NEDA Walk held in Athens, GA. It is my sincere hope that the speech I shared impacted and inspired those around me. I have decided to publicly post the words of my speech to reach a larger amount of people who need the encouragement today in their individual walk. Thank you for allowing me to share my testimony

- Amanda

Good morning! My name is Amanda Moreno and I want to tell you the truth about beauty. 

Growing up, I looked as if I had it all together. I come from a wonderful family with parents who love each other beautifully. I did well in school, participated in extracurricular activities, and could be found reaching toward my dreams at any given moment. I was known for being the happy and optimistic girl no matter what came her way. 

But on the inside... I was slowly beginning to break. The bullying about my looks and weight I experienced as a young child continued until my early college years. At that point, my heart was seeking validation and worth in all the wrong places. What began as a diet to try and look more "beautiful" in society's terms...  turned into the beginning of my biggest battle. Low self-esteem, lack of positive female role-models, and the constant pressure I put on myself to be perfect led me down a dark path of an eating disorder. 

I was able to conceal this deadly disease for almost 2 years - constantly flopping between anorexia and bulimia. It wasn't until one night when I felt like my world came crashing in that I opened up to my parents about my life threatening condition. The habits and voices that once comforted me finally heard me battle back for the first time as I said to myself "I'm worth fighting for and I was created for more than this - I do have a purpose and I am beautiful." That night I was embraced by my family with an outpouring of love and hope. The disordered thoughts once made me to believe that no one would care or that I would never find a way out - but that night my family put those thoughts to rest and we set out on a mission to recovery. 

Shortly after that sobering night, I began treatment at Atlanta Center For Eating Disorders where I was blessed with a team that would help me on the road to recovery and would encourage me to recover for myself and fight for my life. It wasn't an overnight fix - and it never will be. I'll be fighting for my life for the rest of my life. 

Although I'll never be perfect by society's ever changing definition... I've come to find that when I appreciate the beauty I innately have... my worth and value are in no way correlated to size of my dress... but yet in every way correlated to the size of my heart. 

I now live my life on a mission to help other young women define their beauty based on remarkable character, confidence, and intentional living. If just one person is able to see their beauty and step and out of an eating disorder because of something I've done or said... then I've accomplished my goal of turning my test into a testimony.

To those fighting the good fight - I want you to know that recovery is possible and that you are worth fighting for. You have a purpose and calling on your life that only you can fulfill. The world needs you. Eating disorders are a real battle that unfortunately I know far to well and I know many people here can relate to the same feeling.... but they are a battle that you are a warrior of. They are a battle that you will be an overcomer of. There will come a day when you no longer remember how long it's been since you used symptoms and you will be able to say with a brilliant smile "I made it."

When the voices seem loud and the temptations become fierce, I encourage you to look deep in your heart - put on your full armor - and fight for your life and the beauty that you are. 

Today as we walk to end eating disorders, I ask that we celebrate the recoveries, journeys in progress and those who have lost their fight.

It's critical that we use their stories and power to magnify this terrible disease that robs people of their worth, value and definition of beauty. 

Because the truth about beauty... is that the the unfading, undeniable, and true definition of beauty comes from loving yourself, beautiful character and remembering that you are always worth it.