The University of La Verne Counseling Center sponsored informational events to recognize National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
The theme for the week was “Lets Get Real: The Truth About Body Image, Diet, and Nutrition.”
Information booths set up in the University Quad provided a variety of information regarding body image and eating behaviors from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
The Center also hosted a panel discussion and open forum on Tuesday evening in the President’s Dining Room.
“We need to get real about what body image really is,” said Rachel Hahn of the University’s Counseling Center, who coordinated this week’s events.
Eating disorders are a growing problem on college campuses. On average 11 percent of college students develop Bulimia Nervosa.
Guest speakers included psychologist Karen Greenbaum-Maya, and two young women who are in recovery from disorders; Brynn and Erica, who wished not to disclose their last names.
“Eating disorders can happen to anyone,” Greenbaum-Maya said.
The never-ending quest for improvement is what triggers a disorder. In most instances, it starts as a diet, but then a binge will follow.
“Our society teaches to aim high... and at times the price we must pay isn’t in the picture,” Greenbaum-Maya said.
Brynn’s problem began small but quickly escalated.
“It started as a diet, but it went to extremes that became addictions, and it was almost like my brain shut off,” Brynn said.
Brynn developed Bulimia Nervosa in graduate school. Her eating disorder was accompanied by feelings of loneliness and isolation. She would starve herself all day and when night rolled around she would eat uncontrollably and then purge.
The panel discussion also included the viewing of Jean Kilbourne’s award-winning video “Slim Hopes.”
The video gave an in depth look at how the media sets and shapes the standards for what is considered an acceptable body image.
Kilbourne shows viewers the airbrushing and editing done to photos that are placed on TV or in magazines. Editors use techniques and body doubles to create what are fake or doctored images.
“I felt like I wasn’t thin enough, and that I always had to compare myself to someone else,” said Erica, one of the guest speakers.
Erica, a 24-year-old graduate from ULV, is now attending the University of Redlands to get her masters in psychology.
Erica has been battling anorexia since her junior year of high school and is in her eighth year of recovery. She said that she still feels the urge to go without eating during stressful times.
Purple and green ribbons were handed out to promote national awareness of eating disorders and the Counseling Center also raffled off prizes for those in attendance.
Students were invited to take part in surveys and questionnaires for eating disorder research.
For a confidential and anonymous online screening for body image and eating behaviors go to https://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/screening/loginpage.asp and enter keyword “univlaverne.”
For more information about body image or eating disorders, contact the ULV Counseling Center at (909) 593-3511 ext. 4831.
Danyel Fogarty can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and Joe Lovallo can be contacted at email@example.com.