The Psychology Club held their weekly meeting, inviting Body Reflections to engage in discussion and educate those in attendance about eating disorders.
The discussion topic ranged between various types of eating disorders and how they can impact students and society in honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which lasts from Feb. 23 to Feb. 29.
Ahead of the meeting started, Amanda Reichert, sophomore psychology major and president of the Psychology Club mentioned that there were self-affirmation mirrors to decorate and take home.
Considering that eating disorders are such a sensitive topic, Jessica Farman senior psychology major and president of Body Reflections, passed out sticky notes for students to write questions on if they were uncomfortable to ask out loud, that Body Reflections would then respond to via email.
Before Farman began to display the educational slides about eating disorders, a trigger warning was issued about the topic.
“Eating disorders are such a prevalent experience that a lot of people have in our society, but it’s not talked about, even when we discuss mental health,” Farman said.
The lack of mentioning eating disorders when discussing mental health was one of the reasons the Psychology Club and Body Reflections joined to have the meeting.
The meeting began with discussing various types of eating disorders, from the most common, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, to others that aren’t as discussed; avoidant restrictive food intake disorder, orthorexia and other specified eating disorders.
Mikaila Leonard sophomore psychology major and vice president of Body Reflections said that the misconceptio,n of eating disorders is that someone wants to be smaller.
“People connect eating disorders to the image,” Leanord said.
Farman asked those in attendance to close their eyes and imagine what a person with an eating disorder would look like.
She received the responses she expected to hear: young, pale, a women, but she appears to be normal.
Farman emphasized that eating disorders don’t discriminate, they impact all identities. Naming a few for example: athletes, LGBTQ+, men and boys, people of color and more.
“Be cognizant when you’re around others,” Farman said.
Realizing that there are numerous variables in society that have a social impact on eating disorders, Farman asked those in attendance what they thought about the topic.
Students mentioned the unrealistic body image made by society, comparing body image to a close friend and even the fast food industry.
Farman also mentioned the impact of social media on eating disorders, and although said that platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are being more aware of eating disorders, there was a time where Pro-Ana sites were popular. These sites emphasized anorexia and painted it in a positive light.
Farman said that Body Reflections is a club that focusses the discussion on changing the way people think about their bodies.
“We want to make sure that there is a safe atmosphere for somebody to reach out,” Farman said.
Farman and Leonard ensured that they want to make sure there is a safe atmosphere for everybody to discuss eating disorders. At the end of the discussion, they shared the resources available on campus as well as the National Eating Disorders Website and helpline.
“People push it off,” Leonard said. “[Others say] it’s their choice. It’s not a choice, it’s serious.”