Perfect Body? It’s in Your Head

 

The Office of Student Involvement and Leadership worked with the Office for Diversity and Inclusion to hold a discussion about the body image issues students face on campus.

 

The event was held in Room 208 in the UC on Jan. 31. Bethany Wendler, the associate director of OSIL, invited Megan Ulrich to lead the discussion because of her history with Student Health Services.

 

Ulrich asked participants what it means when someone is “healthy.” Participants conversed and she revealed that health comes in different dimensions.

 

“Health is described as social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical, environmental, financial, occupational,” Ulrich said. If one dimension is out of sync then the others will trickle down right behind it, according to Ulrich.

 

“I’ve never thought about the other dimensions of wellness,” a staff member said. “I thought we only paid attention to one.”

 

Ulrich discussed how society tends to use social health the most because we depend on socialization. A Ted Talk video about body positivity versus body obsession was shown as well.

 

A woman talked about how her body wasn’t the problem, it was her image. It was an increasing problem for both men and women.

 

“Society defines the ‘perfect body’ as this image that you had to have,” the woman in the video said. Social media is a factor too because we believe the definition of beautiful is based on celebrities, from their makeup to their clothes.

 

The participants thought about whether self-image affects the way you function. Confidence plays a huge part in self-image because it helps you get through the day, according to a student.

 

“Whatever I choose to wear is what I like to wear, so I’m going to wear it,” another student said. Each person was given a slip of paper with a question on it that they had to ask aloud. One topic was about the use of fad diets.

 

This weight loss option focuses on eating one type of food to shed pounds. Instead of using fad diets, try eating foods that fit the vitamins or food pyramid, Ulrich said. One student’s slip said, “When does my body feel at its best?”

 

“My body feels its best when I sleep,” the student said in response. Ulrich ended the conversation with encouraging self-love tips: accept your size, trust yourself and adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Students made a contract with themselves afterward.

 

Dr. Robert Canida, director of ODI, wanted to look at the broad and different factors of identity. It is better for students in a dialogue setting so they can have a conversation, according to Wendler. She believes this is a great mental break from classes.

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