Awareness events start conversation about eating disorders

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 Awareness events start conversation about eating disorders

Students educate peers during Eating Disorders Awareness Week

The Healthy Outlook Peer Educators, University Health Center, Women’s Center and several other campus organizations collaborated to create a series of events celebrating Eating Disorder Awareness Week February 27 through March 6.

The weeklong observance began with a free belly dancing class from local instructor Hallie Marie February 27 in Nebraska Union’s Centennial East Room. Approximately 15 participants enjoyed this fun, body-positive exercise and spent time discussing movement and body image.

On March 1, Nebraska's Student Health 101 magazine and Eating Recovery Center provided a free lunch where 20 attendees listened to a panel of experts explain how to help a friend suffering from an eating disorder. The panel included dietitian Emily Estes, movement specialist Cathy Jewell, psychologist Amy Chatelain and eating disorder survivor Addison Hudgins.

More than 100 students stopped by the self-care fair March 3 at the Nebraska Union Crib to learn about eating disorders and how to practice body positive behaviors. The event included an eating disorders resource table, eating disorder screenings, coloring books and crayons, a create-your-own aromatherapy station, a chance to stand against fat talk by writing affirmations on a poster, mugs with meal-in-a-mug recipes, cookies and more.

“It was an opportunity to open up a dialogue with students about the importance of being kind to yourself, whether that’s having a cookie when you want a cookie, caring for your health and well-being by eating breakfast every day or taking time for yourself to do something fun and creative,” said Aimee Grindstaff, communications/marketing senior analyst with Nebraska Medicine at the University Health Center.

The weeklong event concluded March 6 with Things I Learned from Fat People on a Plane, a program by writer, storyteller and speaker Kimberly Dark. With a combination of humor and honesty, she educated the audience of 50 about “living in a world that hates fat” and discussed everything from travel to exercise to sex.

“Healthy Outlook Peer Educators is proud to say that Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2017 was a success," said Erin Benner, Healthy Outlook Peer Educators president. "We believe that this week will always be a success because it gives the opportunity to discuss a topic that people are typically reluctant to talk about as well as the power to create an environment that challenges people to embrace their bodies instead of being at war with them."

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