Why Are We Celebrating Our Bodies?

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Kate Sayre, MPH, RDN, LDN
Body

Beginning next Monday, February 16th, Nutrition Services is partnering with many offices across campus to host a positive body image week.  In the past, we’ve celebrated National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, but found that students are already aware of eating disorders.  Renaming the week and focusing on learning to embrace our bodies can help students to move away from some of the behaviors that might increase risk of developing disordered eating and exercise patterns.

Here’s a breakdown of the events we have going on next week, all of which are free and do not require tickets.

Monday, February 16th:

From 11am to 1pm, The Center for Multicultural Affairs is offering lunch at their Monday Motivation titled “Being Fine with Who You Are”.  At a roundtable discussion, students can discuss culture and body image with Mazella Fuller, PhD, MSW, LCSW from CAPS, J’nai Adams from the CMA and Kate Sayre, MPH, RDN from Student Health.  Courtney E. Martin will join the discussion.

Our keynote speaker’s talk and launch of our “Identity Over Image” campaign will take place at 7pm in the Nelson Music Room.  Courtney E. Martin, author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters and TED talk presenter, will discuss how effortless perfection is harming young women.  One of her quotes that we find most powerful is “We’re a generation of young {people} who were told they could be anything and heard they had to be everything”.

Tuesday, February 17th:

Have you heard of the “fitspo” movement?  These “inspirations” to exercise can be much more damaging than helpful.  We’re hosting a “true fitspiration” event in Brodie Gym from 5-7:30pm.  Here students can focus on positive reasons why they work out.  It may be to build strength, relieve stress or be able to sleep better.  It’s important we think of these benefits rather than superficial ones.

Those of us who treat eating disorders are often asked by students how they can approach a friend who they think is struggling with disordered behaviors.  Partnering with Duke students, we’ve created a recurring event called “Is This Normal?: How to Help a Friend with Disordered Eating”.  Embody Carolina is joining us to empower our community members to help each other.  This session will start at 6:30pm in McClendon 2.

Wednesday, February 18th:

WHOspeaks images remain powerful reminders of how we view our bodies.  The Women’s Center is hosting a showcase of these pictures as well as a discussion from 2-4pm.

Thursday, February 19th:

Me Too Monologues just wrapped up another very successful year.  We’re grateful to those who shared their stories, the actors and all in attendance.  We’re hosting a screening of past monologues that discuss body image.  Join us in the Keohane Atrium at 6:30pm.

Friday, February 20th:

To wrap up our week, we’re kicking it back at the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity from 3-5pm.  Karen Kuebler, the art therapist from Veritas Collaborative, is leading an activity titled "Using Visual Language to Promote Self-Compassion and Positive Body Image". We’ll be creating individual and collective positive art and would love you to join us.  Food will be provided.

With this week of events, we’re hoping to start and continue conversation on campus of how we can better treat ourselves and our bodies.  If you aren’t able to attend the events, we ask that you do your part.  Use positive language, disallow “fat talk” in your social circles, and celebrate your body for all it is capable of.  If you’re concerned about your own behaviors, please take our anonymous screen to assess.

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