UC Davis‘ annual Celebrate Your Body Week will begin Feb. 23.
Hosted by the Association of Body Image and Disordered Eating Committee (ABIDE), the week will showcase a series of events designed to promote healthy body image within the UC Davis student community. Celebrate Your Body Week is run in conjunction with National Eating Disorder Awareness Month in February.
“This week … is a great opportunity for students to be critical about those images they receive [about body image], and also, to affirm who they are, celebrate their own person and feel good about what is going on in their life,” said Joy Evans, an ABIDE committee member and assistant director at the Women’s Resources and Research Center.
Celebrate Your Body Week will kick off Monday with the Great Jean Giveaway from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the ASUCD Coffee House, where students can donate old jeans to the needy.
Karin Lawson, Psy.D., a committee member and CAPS eating disorder program coordinator, said that the purpose of the Great Jean Giveaway (which will run continuously throughout the week) is to encourage students let go of those jeans they hold on to in the hopes of losing weight.
“It’s a way to be proactive in your own life – giving away those jeans that don’t really make us feel good about our bodies. It’s much more interactive on a personal level,” Lawson said.
Afterwards, Chenese Lewis, a media personality, plus-size model and advocate, will present a keynote address and body image and empowerment workshop beginning at 5 p.m. at ARC Ballroom B.
“It’s exciting to have a woman who is articulate about the diversity of women’s bodies … there are messages we receive [from pop culture] about what standard of beauty we should fit into; it’s a real narrow window, and the effects are personal,“ Evans said.
On Wednesday, noon to 1 p.m. at the MU Art Lounge, ABIDE will host “How to Help a Loved One,” where individuals can hear expert advice on how to help significant others with body image and eating disorders.
“At CAPS we have people coming to consult with us all the time about how to help a roommate with a problem. ‘How to Help a Loved One‘ is really about how people can take an active role for the people in their lives who are not in a healthy place in terms of body image or an eating disorder,“ Lawson said.
Other events during the week include “The Art of Mindful Eating” (5 to 6 pm. at the ARC Meeting Room 3) and “Love Your Body Yoga” (12:15 to 1 p.m. at the ARC Meeting Room 1).
“It’s not just about food and nutrition, but how we speak about food, about how we feel when we eat, and the relationship between body and mind,” said Ryann Miller, also an ABIDE committee member and a registered dietician at Cowell Student Health Services.
“The yoga class, [is] one of our favorites, because you can really feel that body-mind connection; we’re going to have an instructor giving positive affirmation during the class,“ she said.
ABIDE is composed of members from Campus Recreation, CAPS, Cowell Student Health Center, and the Women’s Resources and Research Center dedicated to “raising awareness about how society might influence one’s relationship to one’s body and to food” with the goal of “preventing and reducing eating disorders and the prevalence of body image oppression through education, outreach, support and intervention,” according to the group’s website.
“[ABIDE] is a really, really great resource that is working hard to get the word out. I think it’s especially important because working at Cowell, I’ve seen the high volume of disordered eating on campus … these events really point out that this is an issue,” said Sara Shwartz, a fourth-year clinical nutrition major and nutrition intern at Cowell. “It’s a professional staff of people who have volunteered their time to help improve the health of all students.”
Find out more about the ABIDE Committee as well as the events for Celebrate Your Body Week at wrrc.ucdavis.edu/abide.
ANDRE LEE can be reached at email@example.com.