Walk brings awareness to eating disorders

- Making a meal may not seem like a big deal to a lot of people. But for 23-year-old Ryan Benger, it's significant.

Since childhood, he has struggled with an eating disorder.

"I would say it probably started around middle school time when I was kind of realizing my sexuality. Dealing with that as a kid was a lot of pressure for me. My mom would pack me lunches and I would just throw them away. I didn't feel like I deserved the food," said Benger.

Last year, he hit rock bottom.

"I hadn't eaten in three days and I was on a self-destructive path to nowhere," said Benger.

He reached out to his family and sought treatment.

"He's really worked through a lot of hard things from having to start to eat again, from having to gain weight from having to like his body again," said eating disorder specialist Kourtney Gordon.

Now Ryan wants to help others fighting the battle with food.

He's taking part in the Celebrating everyBODY Walk for eating disorder awareness.

"People just don't know how to bring it up or others don't understand they feel like they have no support around them so these groups and this walk are to help them know that they're not alone," said Gordon.

Ryan says recovery isn't easy but it's worth it.

"I feel like I have the tools to recognize it and work hard to fight it," said Benger.

The Celebrating everyBODY walk is on Sunday, March 4th at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

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