Ella, 28, has eating disorder for 20 years, participant of Project 2020

"Ella is in the midst of a tough and intense battle with her disorder, but I feel she is already on the right path, and am very happy to have the chance to be part of her journey."

Update sent to crowdfunding supporters, 7.9.2013:

I had been searching for a long time for a participant suffering from compulsive eating who would agree to take part in the project. Ella was the first to agree. This morning, I traveled to meet her. Already at the entrance to her home in Holon, I was surprised by the sign: “Ela and Yoavi live here happily.”

The door was opened by Yoav, a pleasant man who suffers from overweight. “Ella is showering, she’ll be out soon,” he said politely, inviting me in. After a few minutes, she peeked at me from the hallway, her face bright and beautiful, and she smiled, “You’re early…” I waited in the living room, looking around. There was a bookshelf with self-help and awareness books, photos of a loving couple, and a pink guitar.

Yoav finished getting ready and left the house, then she came out to me, a beautiful and large woman with a big smile, illuminated. “I’m very glad you came,” she says, sitting down next to me on the couch.


Her eating disorder started at a very young age, around first grade. As a little girl, she experienced severe trauma and used food as a refuge. The fat protected her. At home, they hid the sweets, but when she was alone, she would go on frantic searches and binges, looking for and finding the forbidden food, eating and eating. Even when she was full, she continued to eat.

At home, they didn’t address her condition, and she didn’t stop gaining weight. She tried to fight herself, but it always ended in defeat. Until this year.

About eight months ago, she realized she needed help. The turning point came when she found herself arguing with her partner over the last chocolate he ate. She demanded he go out in the middle of the night to buy her another one and went into a hysteria. After that argument, she looked at herself from the side and realized she needed help. Food was controlling her life, and she didn’t want to live like that anymore.

From a Google search, she came across a group of compulsive eaters anonymous and the 12-step method. She went to the first meeting with skepticism. In the circle sat people from all strata of the population, simple workers and senior managers.

Women and men, young and very old, bulimic eaters, anorexics, and compulsive eaters.
“How did I not hear about it until then? How many years of my life have I wasted?”
She thanks God for bringing her there in the end.

At first, she just listened and suddenly realized she wasn’t alone. Ela has lost 15 kilos to date and has another 35 kilos to go. She is a strong and determined woman, ready to start a new chapter in her life. Every evening, she commits to the menu she plans to eat the next day. Every evening, she also talks with her group mentor, a woman who has been attending meetings for years and is now strong enough to support new people.

She invites me to join her at a meeting and observe, and I agree. It’s strange, during the time I was ill, I never considered going to a support group; the shame was too great for me. Listening to her, I recall that dark period when food controlled my life. Ella serves as a mirror to my sane life today, showing me how much space recovery from this illness has freed up. What a relief and release to know I’m no longer there.

I look at her and see a determined and optimistic woman who has already decided enough is enough. I greatly admire her for her determination and the steps she is taking for herself.

Ella is in the midst of a tough and intense battle with her disorder, but I feel she is already on the right path, and am very happy to have the chance to be part of her journey.


Update sent to crowdfunding supporters, 7.1.2013:

It took me three months to finish Ella’s painting. We weren’t in touch during that period. The day after I finished it, I unexpectedly received a message from her. Strange, I thought to myself, as if she sensed her painting.

On Friday, she came to see it. On the phone before the meeting, I prepared her for the fact that her painting was a bit different from what she had imagined since I had taken the questionnaire she filled out and based the painting on it in a different place than other paintings so far.

When I turned the canvas around and she saw it for the first time, she started to cry with excitement. For half an hour, she stood there in awe, continuously thanking me, very emotional. I was glad I followed my instincts.
Ella continues to fight her disorder with determination and courage. Now, with your help, dear supporters, she has an optimistic vision of the future that will inspire and strengthen her on her way there.

Ella meets her painting

SUPER SPRING  | Ella’s painting

Photos from the 2020 project exhibition:

Project 2020 is an optimistic social art project. The project began in 2012 and continued until 2015. The project was inspired by my personal and optimistic journey to overcome a 16-year struggle with an eating disorder.

For project details and artworks

Project 2020 | Solo exhibition

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