Thursday, February 16, 2017

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week: Be Happy in Your Skin

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) organization promotes an awareness week in order to bring attention to eating disorders, as well as provide information on available resources. This year, National Eating Disorder Awareness week is February 26th to March 4th. Eastern Illinois University will be celebrating National Eating Disorder Awareness week from February 20th through February 23rd. The Health Education Resource Center (HERC) and the Counseling Center will be on campus, encouraging students, faculty, and staff to take the pledge to promote and wear good body positivity. Our mission is to provide everyone who visits our table with a better understanding of body positivity, as well as provide information on how to help those around them that might be struggling to love themselves.

What is an Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder can be an array of things but they are primarily mental disorders defined by abnormal eating habits that negatively affect a person’s physical and mental health. Eating disorders can have many different signs and symptoms, including:

The Mind:

1. Low Self-Esteem: feelings of inadequacy
  • Perfectionism: when they cannot achieve perfection they unrealistically blame and find a need to punish themselves
  • Unmotivated: when they feel depressed and isolated; they try and fill the void with food
2. Guilt: For not meeting the expectations of others or themselves
3. Power: the need to control physical and emotional surroundings. The eating disorder is a negative coping mechanism
4. Deception: Helps maintain that control they need
  • Lying about food intake or lack there of
  • Lying to avoid eating or to sneak food
  • Hidden use of laxatives
5. Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Isolation and loneliness

The Body:

  • Feeling faint
  • Brittle hair/hair loss
  • Dental problems
  • Frequent headaches
  • Dry skin
  • Dramatic weight change
Compulsive Overeating
  • Exhaustion
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Decreased endurance
  • Muscle soreness

Want to Help Someone you Care About?

1. Support and encourage
  • Make a plan to talk to your friend and gently express your concern
  • Be caring but honest about what you have been observing and concern
  • If willing, offer your help
2. Attentively listen
  • Allow your friend a time to talk and encourage them to verbalize what they are feeling
  • Accept what is said in a nonjudgmental way
  • Gather information to find a path to recovery
3. Social support
  • EIU Counseling Center: A staff member will provide a FREE phone consultation for students with questions or needing assistance
  • Offer to take them and wait at their first appointment

Mindfulness Encourages a Positive Relationship with Food

Mindfulness is about experiencing life in the present. When practicing mindfulness, you are not judging your thoughts and feelings as “good” or “bad” but instead observing them.

Intuitive eating means being aware of your hunger and fullness cues, without judgement and not using emotions to fuel eating habits.  An intuitive eater has a peaceful relationship with food, not a dieting mentality, and does not label food “good” or “bad.”

Tips for eating mindfully & intuitively
  • Sit down at the table
  • Eliminate distractions, such as TV
  • Put away phones/social media
  • Choose a smaller plate or bowl
  • Portion your food (you can always go back for more)
  • Put down your utensil between bites
  • Resign from the “clean your plate club”
  • Enjoy the flavor of your food in each bite
Mindfulness and intuitive eating are just two ways to help form a healthy relationship with food. Other techniques include keeping a journal to describe how you feel before or after meals, or expressing your emotions to someone you trust.

On Campus Resources

Counseling Center
Office: 217-581-3413
After Hours Phone Number: 217-581-3413 or 1-866-567-2400
Human Services Building

Health Education Resource Center (HERC)
Booth House on 4th Street

Health Service
Human Services

Housing & Dining
MLK Jr. University Union
*Through the Health Education Resource Center, EIU students can meet with the Nutrition Promotion Coordinator to discuss their personalized nutritional goals. For more information or to set up a free nutritional analysis consultation, please click here.

Off Campus Resources

Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital
1000 Health Center Dr.
Mattoon, IL
Journey Counseling
304 8th St.
Charleston, IL
750 Broadway Ave. East
Mattoon, IL

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Practicing Healthy Sexual Behaviors

With Valentine’s Day today, it’s important to communicate with your partner about healthy sexual behaviors.  Below are ways you and your partner can have a healthy relationship, the importance of being tested, and resources that are available to you.
10 Tips for Healthy Relationships:
1.      Keep expectations realistic

2.      Talk with each other

3.      Be yourself

4.      Keep a balanced life style

5.      Be dependable

6.      Think before you speak

7.      It’s an ongoing process

8.      Welcome change

9.      Respect each other’s space

10.  Show your warmth

STI Services:
The HERC offers one-on-one consultations on sexual health to discuss preventative methods and current sexual health behaviors.  This consultations and free and confidential.  To schedule a consultation, complete the online request form.

Health Service offers STI and HIV testing at the EIU clinic and most of the cost is covered through student insurance.  To make an appointment, call, walk-in, or use the MyHealth tab through your PAWS account.
Rubber Lovers:
A free interactive program offered through the HERC that educates students on condom use and healthy sexual behaviors.  Students also get a discount card at the EIU Pharmacy for safer sex supplies. 

Upcoming open sessions:
                MLK Union: Effingham Room
6 PM
                MLK Union: Martinsville Room
6 PM
                MLK Union: Martinsville Room
7 PM
                MLK Union: Effingham Room
5:30 PM
                MLK Union: Martinsville Room
7 PM
                MLK Union: Martinsville Room
6 PM
You can also request a presentation by filling out the Program Request Form to have us come to you!  If you have any questions, contact the Health Promotion Coordinators at 217-581-7786 or and

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Coping with Work Stress

According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (2016), job stress can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Job stress can lead to poor health and even injury.

The concept of job stress is often confused with challenge, but these concepts are not the same. Challenge energizes us psychologically and physically, and it motivates us to learn new skills and master our jobs. When a challenge is met, we feel relaxed and satisfied. Thus, challenge is an important ingredient for healthy and productive work. The importance of challenge in our work lives is probably what people are referring to when they say “a little bit of stress is good for you.”

Warning Signs
When people feel overwhelmed, they lose confidence and become irritable or withdrawn, making them less productive and effective. Their work then becomes less rewarding. If the warning signs of work stress go unattended, they can lead to bigger problems. Beyond interfering with job performance and satisfaction, chronic or intense stress can also lead to physical and emotional health problems. Some signs and symptoms of excessive stress include:
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Stomach pains
  • Social withdrawal
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope
  • Feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed
  • Apathy, loss of interest in work
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating

Preventing Stress
No standardized approaches or simple “how to” manuals exist for developing a stress prevention program. Program design and appropriate solutions will be influenced by several factors: the size and complexity of the organization, available resources, and especially the unique types of stress problems faced by the organization.

Although it is not possible to give a universal prescription for preventing stress at work, it is possible to offer guidelines on the process of stress prevention in organizations. In all situations, the process for stress prevention programs involves three distinct steps: problem identification, intervention, and evaluation.
Coping with Stress
The troubled economy may feel like an emotional roller coaster. Since job and workplace stress grow in times of economic crisis, it’s important to learn new and better ways of coping with the pressure. Feeling emotional and nervous or having trouble eating or sleeping are often common reactions to stress, but they aren’t beneficial to your well-being. Engaging in healthy activities and getting the right care and support can put problems into perspective and help stressful feelings subside. The ability to manage stress in the workplace can make the difference between success or failure on the job. Listed below are a few tips to help you manage both work and general stress.
  • Avoid pitfalls
  • Communicate effectively
  • Plan regular breaks
  • Prioritize tasks
  • Delegate responsibilities
  • Don’t over-commit yourself
  • Break projects into small steps
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals
  • Exercise on a regular basis
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Talk to others about your feelings
  • Avoid using drugs or alcohol to cope
  • Recognize when you need help

On-Campus Resources
Health Education Resource Center
(217) 581-7786

Counseling Center
(217) 581-3413

Health Service
(217) 581-3013

Friday, January 27, 2017

Snacking Made Simple

When you hear the word “snack” what are the first foods that come to your mind? If you thought of foods such as chips, crackers and cookies, trust me, you are not the only one. In recent years, food marketing has convinced consumers that junk foods are just the same as snacks. However, with the month of February being National Snack Food Month, it is important to recognize and promote the benefits of healthy snacking!

Myth Busting Snacking

1. Snacking spoils your appetite for meals= False

Snacking, with the correct portions, can increase your control at your next meal because you are not excessively hungry.

2. Snacks are fattening = False

Snacks are not equivalent to junk foods. In fact, choosing better alternative such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains can increase our consumption of beneficial nutrients that may be low in our daily meals.

3. Eating late at night causes weight gain= False

Research has shown that it is not the time of eating that causes weight gain, but the amount of food eaten. However, do not forget that we may be more likely to overeat or choose unhealthier options when we eat late at night.

Benefits of Snacking Right

  • Increases energy to help you finish your busy day
  • Boosts brain power & increases concentration in class
  • Controls appetite
  • Regulates mood (makes you happy!)
  • Can help maintain your weight
  • Great opportunity to eat more fruits and vegetables that you may not eat at mealtime
Simple Guidelines for Snacks

1.      <200 Calories
2.      < 200mg Sodium
3.      < 10% Saturated Fat
4.      > 10% Daily Value (DV) of nutrient such as Potassium, Vitamin D, Dietary Fiber or Calcium.

To make your snack healthier, combine foods from more than one food group. Try these!
·         Low-fat/Fat-free or Greek yogurt topped with granola
·         Apple and peanut butter
·         Unsalted nuts and dried fruit (raisins)
·         Carrots and hummus
·         Whole grain crackers and peanut butter
·         Low-fat cottage cheese and peaches

If you would like to learn about your specific nutrient needs or want assistance with planning your meals and snacks, contact the Nutrition Promotion Coordinator for a FREE nutrition analysis. Please visit for more information, or contact with further questions at


Friday, January 13, 2017

Health Service Advisory Board

What do they do?
The Health Service Advisory Board represents the students and helps advise the administration of Health Service relating to services, policies, promotional efforts, financial issues, and what programs are available.
Tasks include:
  • Serving as a liaison between students and the staff and administration of the Health Service.
  • Consulting with the Director of the Health Service on policies for the operation and management of the Health Service.
  • Offering recommendations for new programs or modifications of existing programs.
  • Providing a mechanism for student feedback concerning complaints and positive outcomes.
  • Reviewing the annual budget proposal with the Director in advance of its presentation to the Student Tuition and Fee Review Committee.
  • Informing students of special health problems on campus.
  • Creating awareness of both general and special services offered by the Health Service.
  • Promoting the general welfare and health of the student community.
  • Providing such other advice on health and Health Service matters as the Director or the Vice President of Student Affairs might request.
Who are they?
The Health Service Advisory Boards is comprised of up to 30 students (undergraduate and graduate), faculty, and staff members, subject to the approval of the respective student, faculty, or staff Senates as necessary, shall constitute the voting membership. None-voting members shall include the Health Service Director, Assistant Director, and members of the Health Service staff.

Are there leadership positions?
Three students are elected from the membership to form an executive committee.  A Chair and a Vice Chair shall be elected in the spring, prior to the new fiscal year. A Recorder and an Outreach Coordinator shall be elected in the fall of that fiscal year.

We meet every 3rd Thursday of the month at 1:30pm.  Please contact Amanda at or (217) 581-7786 if you are interested in joining or want more information.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Choose to Eat Mindfully this Holiday Season

It’s already mid-November, which means finals week and the holidays are right around the corner. During this time of the year, the last thing we might be concerned about is proper nutrition. However, nutrition plays an important role in keeping our immune system strong to prevent us from getting sick. You may be thinking; how can I eat healthfully while still enjoying my favorite holiday foods? Here’s the answer: Mindful eating!

So, what exactly is mindful eating? Mindful eating is being aware of the amount of food you are eating, while using all your senses to choose satisfying and nourishing food, and acknowledging your responses to food (likes, dislikes or neutral), as well as hunger and satiety cues. Overall, mindful eating encourages a positive relationship with food.
During the holidays, we can become overwhelmed with the abundance of food served at parties. By using mindfulness and incorporating light exercise, maintaining weight and enjoying the parties will be possible!
How can I eat mindfully?
  1. Remain in the Moment: Sit down and put away or turn off electronics
  2. Use Nonjudgment: Notice when you feel guilty and interrupt negative thoughts with positive self-talk
  3. Be Aware: Taste what you are chewing
  4. Savor: Identify the texture and flavor of foods, such as sweet, spicy, smooth, or crunchy
  5. Observe: Recognize what your body is telling you. Are you full? Satisfied? Stressed? Rumbling stomach?
Other helpful tips!
  • Look at all the food options and choose your favorite
  • Choose a smaller plate
  • Take smaller portions (you can always go back for more!
  • Put down your utensil(s) between bites
  • Resign from the "clean plate club)
  • Eat until you feel satisfied--your body will thank you later
  • Skipping meals before a party may cause you to overeat

Healthy Holiday alternatives you’ve got to try!
Instead of sweet potato casserole, try roasted sweet potatoes!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Thoroughly scrub potatoes before cutting into cubes.
  3.  Add sweet potatoes to a mixing bowl and combine with remaining ingredients.
  4. Lay sweet potatoes in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until fork tender.
Instead of green bean casserole, try oven-roasted green beans!

Oven Roasted Green Beans
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen green beans
  • 2-4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and prepare baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and toss until blended. Spread beans onto baking sheet.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes. At 15 minutes, remove to stir. Serve immediately.
For more information about nutrition and the nutrition services provided by the Health Education Resource Center, please visit or contact the Nutrition Promotion Coordinator at or (217) 581-7786.