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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Celebrate Your Body Week seeks to banish body image issues

This week, take a load off with meditation, yoga and perhaps even a cooking class to celebrate your body with the annual Celebrate Your Body Week (CYBW).

This week, the Association for Body Issues and Disordered Eating (ABIDE) has put together a series of events to help students on campus appreciate their bodies while also learning body image issues and eating disorders.

Student chair and senior clinical nutrition major, Phoebe Copp, has been working with the ABIDE committee to put on this event.

“ABIDE is dedicated to bringing awareness to body image issues and disorders of eating and the dangers that go along with both,” Copp said. “Celebrate Your Body Week has a bunch of different events that are focused on spreading that message.”

Some of these events include a keynote speaker, a movie screening, a cooking class and “love your body” yoga, all of which are sprinkled throughout the week.

“There’s something for everyone who is interested,” Copp said.

Stacy Brezing, the physical activity and nutrition health educator, is a member of the ABIDE committee and is partaking in the planning of this event for her second year. This year, she is a moderator for the “love your body” yoga, taking place on Friday at noon at the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) dance studio.

“The point of [CYBW] is to raise awareness of the dangers of eating disorders and body image issues,” Brezing said. “We promote proper nourishment and taking care of our bodies and try to focus on fun activities for the week. It is a great way to bring awareness, but we do it in a positive manner with positive activities and educational opportunities.”

Hayley Ortman, a first-year exercise biology major, is on the student board for ABIDE with Copp and said that she loves the fact that the week is set aside to address such issues as eating disorders, body image issues and overall struggles with health.

“We’re bringing awareness to how our culture is so obsessed with body image and how it can be detrimental to young women and even men,” Ortman said. “So we’re just trying to bring awareness to that and to love you for who you are.”

Brezing similarly stated the extent of body image issues in this day and age.

“It’s important to just raise awareness about these issues because they are so prevalent in our society; the more you know, the more you can help others and recognize someone who needs help or just be aware,” Brezing said. “It also gives you understanding that if you haven’t personally experienced anything related to body issues, it can still help you have empathy for people and understand it more.”

These events all have something different to offer. Whether it is helping the students who have issues directly, or they know of someone who is struggling with accepting their body.

“Body image issues and disordered eating tie into how people can get the wrong impression about food,” Copp said. “I want people to be healthy and working with ABIDE is a good way to bring attention to how to bring people back into positive thoughts about their body and about food. I think that’s important especially in college.”

Copp said that this event is unique to UC Davis for two reasons, the first being the fact that is run by ABIDE, a staff-run organization with various departments involved, from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the Women’s Research and Resource Center to the Student Health and Wellness Center and the Cross Cultural Center.

“We’re not just focusing on the eating side of body image issues, with just a dietitian, but also the psychological issues, which is where CAPS comes in or any sort of cultural aspect,” Copp said. “The staff are all very specialized in their fields and know a lot about what that specific resource can offer. Having them involved gives us more depth in each area.”

Copp also addressed the fact that this type of event is unique to UC Davis’ campus. Apart from the events that ABIDE puts on in the fall and spring, there are no other events on campus that confront body image issues.

“It’s an important event,” Copp said. “UC Davis doesn’t do a lot of things that are purely focused on making students feel better about their bodies.”

The fact that this struggle with health is so widespread makes this a valuable event for all students, organizers said, due to the fact that so many people can relate to this issue.

“It’s not something to take lightly; it can really affect internal self esteem, relationships and just living life to the fullest,” Ortman said. “I don’t feel that people really take it seriously. We see in the media to ‘love yourself’ and I don’t feel that people actually take it to heart. I feel that we as a student community can show that we are there for support.”

This support is the biggest aspect of the event, emphasizing the appreciation of one’s body and, as Brezing said, to focus on “unconditional acceptance.”

“This isn’t targeted specifically at people who have eating disorders, it is for everyone, anyone who wants to gain more awareness or wants to help someone they know or is just generally interested,” Copp said. “It’s about how to celebrate what you’ve got, like it says; celebrate your body.”

DEVON BOHART can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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