#DolphinsLiveWell: Taking Care of Our Bodies

By Melissa McGovern '16, STAFF WRITER, Wellness Center for Health & Counseling

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is more than just about recognizing and making people aware of eating disorders. I think it’s about making people aware of their bodies.

Society makes us feel like there is only one way to have a body. Eating Disorder Awareness Week is a reminder to everyone that we need to take care of our bodies and minds.

How do you determine what an “ideal body” is? The females “ideal body” has many different forms. The Stone Age Venus figurines show the earliest of body preferences, which had an emphasis on larger bellies, breasts and buttocks because it represented good health and fertility. In ancient Egypt, people wanted slender shoulders with a narrow waist. In Classical Greece and Ancient Rome, no part of the body was emphasized, but instead was proportioned. The 1920’s American flapper influenced modern fashion as it is today – athletic and slim.

In the end, there is no “right way” to have a body. There are just fad diets, popular fashions, and photo-shopped models. We all are aware of this by now, but the issues lie with why are we still struggling to “Love the way our bodies are”? We struggle because it takes practice for that to happen.  Practicing being more mindful of the messages you are telling yourself, as well as the messages that the world is sending to you. If you walk around campus, you may have found some post-it notes on the bathroom mirrors telling you to, “Remember that you are beautiful just the way you are”, or  that “You are not your body”. Although this may sound cheesy, but doing this actually works. The more we tell ourselves positive messages, or give ourselves positive affirmations, the better we feel and the more positive of an outlook we have on life.

Taking care of our physical selves helps us emotionally. This month is also Nutrition Awareness Month, and it is probably no surprise that what you put in your body matters. Most importantly, we need to develop more of a health vs weight focus. Even though eating for nutrition is important, you do need to feed your soul. If we restrict ourselves from eating foods we want, it will just make us grumpy, and more likely to binge later.

One of my favorite quotes is by Dr. Ellyn Satter, a registered dietitian and therapist: “Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it -don’t just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good.”

If you or a friend is struggling with body image, obsessively thinking about food, their body, or losing weight,  talk to someone you trust or go to the Le Moyne Wellness Center. Eating Disorders can happen to anyone, and come in all shapes, sizes, and genders. It’s time to speak up about our struggles and learn to love ourselves no matter what.

For more information on eating disorders go to http://nedawareness.org/