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

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