Edmonton will be formally recognizing Eating Disorder Awareness Week for the first time Monday.

Sue Huff has seen her own daughter battle anorexia and said it was something she never expected.

“When she was diagnosed she had lost a tremendous amount of weight already and needed to be treated at the University of Alberta hospital.”

Huff said her daughter had lost about 25 per cent of her body weight before she was diagnosed.

“It was absolutely alarming how rapid it was. People say, ‘How could you not notice? Your child lost all this weight. How could you not notice?’ Well, they don’t want you to notice. So, they wear baggy clothes. They wear big sweatshirts. They wear multiple layers,” she explained.

She said she hoped that through the events during the week many Edmontonians will start to understand more about eating disorders.

“Like with all mental illness it is unpacking that stigma. It is breaking the shame. It is sharing the stories so that people can understand and that they can offer compassion rather than judgment.”

One of the events on Saturday is a bathroom scale smash at Churchill Square where people can bring their scales and smash it with a sledge hammer, Huff explained.

“Then take a piece of that and incorporate it into this art installation that we have created about positive body image.”

Huff has documented several families’ struggles with eating disorders and will be launching her book, ‘Book of Hope’ at the Lois Hole Public Library on February 8.

“It features the stories of families who have been through eating disorders and come out the other side.

“I hope that people feel encouraged to keep going because it is a very long, complicated illness and at times you really feel like giving up. But keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually your kid will get better and eventually you will have a healthier family.”

With files from Veronica Jubinville