Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Eating disorder awareness month: Embracing body positivity

Bright pink fliers promoting the film “Embrace” were scattered throughout the Brew inviting people to attend the Gävle rooms on Saturday, Feb. 24. Sponsored by couseling services and Davenport’s Amy’s Gift, the body image movement documentary aimed to help change the way in which people view their bodies. 

Augustana is full of students with diverse perspectives and experiences because there are students who come from all over the world. This makes each and every student unique and valuable to the community.. However, there are also experiences that many students, no matter where they come from, have experienced at least once in their lifetime. For example, many have dealt with body image issues. 

Stephanie Burrough, program coordinator for Amy’s Gift, an organization that focuses on providing resources and spreading awareness about eating disorders, said that nearly one in every ten people experience eating disorders throughout their life.

“Eating disorders tend to occur more frequently during adolescence, but also in times where people are undergoing growing stages,” Burrough said. “Other factors that can lead to eating disorders are stressful environments or also having extreme emotions and attitudes towards the things that we eat.” 

The film “Embrace” was all about understanding beauty as a concept of acceptance and uniqueness, apart from displaying the lifelong journeys of different women towards achieving love for their bodies. 

Living in a world of technology that provides people with editing tools and social media filters to modify every single aspect of their body has made it acceptable for people to create ‘flawless’ images of who they think they should be. 

“If you have disordered eating, maybe you are struggling to follow all of the trends that are happening online, or maybe you’re trying to fit into this image of what you think your body is supposed to look like. All these are factors that can cause a person to have a difficult relationship with food,” Burrough said. 

Eating disorders often put students in a state of vulnerability that can make them feel intimidated to ask for help and explore the different resources that are available to them in order to guide them through a safe recovery process. 

Bill Lavarone, director of counseling services and a certified therapist, said that apart from offering a variety of services that can help students who are struggling with eating disorders, the office of student counseling services can also help to connect students with nutritionists from all around the community. 

“You can come to see us. We’re included in tuition. We’re here every academic day from around 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and we are licensed,” Lavarone said. “The other option is timely care. Timely care is also included in your tuition and you can access it through an app that enables you to talk to someone immediately in any language that you feel comfortable with.”

Therefore, if you or a friend is experiencing an eating disorder, know that you are not alone. There are many people and organizations such as Amy’s Gift that are willing to help you. 

“My hope is that people were able to leave knowing that they can become an advocate for greater self love and body positivity, as well as hopefully an advocate for somebody who doesn’t know how to reach out and get the resources that they need,” Burrough said.

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