Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State participating in National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

February 19, 2014

Every day, Americans are barraged with advertising featuring models that are thinner than 98 percent of U.S. women. Those images create an unhealthy body image in both men and women, according to a counselor with Indiana State University's Student Counseling Center.

The National Eating Disorder Association estimates that 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life.

Body dissatisfaction and the thin ideal are both significant risk factors in the emergence of eating disorders, said Melissa Grinslade.

"People need to accept that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and don't all adhere to one standard or stereotype, like the media would like us to believe," Grinslade said. "We're all unique individuals."

Grinslade and a committee of Indiana State staff and students have planned a series of programs for Feb. 23-March 1 coinciding with National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, an annual campaign to bring public attention to the critical needs of people with eating disorders and their families.

The programs, following the national theme of "I Had No Idea: Get In the Know" raise awareness about body image and bring attention to the severity of eating disorders, which are illnesses with often devastating - sometimes life-threatening - consequences.

"Recovery from an eating disorder is possible, but intervention is key," Grinslade said. "But many people, including doctors, aren't aware of the signs."

The Student Counseling Center will be in Hulman Memorial Student Union throughout the week educating students on eating disorders, providing screenings, resources and support.

Other activities planned include Mirror less Monday, covering mirrors or sticking positive affirmation notes on mirrors or tables across campus; wearing blue on Tuesday; wearing jeans on Wednesday as part of "Love Your Genes," educating how genes determine body size and shape;" encouraging people to hit the gym for fun and fitness on Thursday and to let their natural beauty show through by going without makeup on Friday.

Grinslade is most excited about the program set for Wednesday, Feb. 26 from 7-9 p.m. in Dede I of Hulman Memorial Student Union.

"Beauty Recognized: From the Inside Out is a fashion show that celebrates that beauty is unique," Grinslade said.

Participants, who were nominated by their peers, will also be able to choose their own outfits that reflect their unique style and personality. As they walk down the catwalk, Patsy Kelly of WTHI-TV will read the reason behind that person's nomination.

"We are excited to celebrate the beauty in everyone during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week," Grinslade said. "We hope that our efforts continue to raise awareness in our community about eating disorders and recognize that everyone knows someone who has been affected."

10 Signs of an Eating Disorder

Courtesy of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

1. Drastic weight loss.

2. Preoccupation with counting calories.

3. The need to weigh yourself several times a day.

4. Excessive exercise.

5. Binge eating or purging.

6. Food rituals, like taking tiny bites, skipping food groups or re-arranging food on the plate.

7. Avoiding meals or only wanting to eat alone.

8. Taking laxatives or diuretics.

9. Smoking to curb appetite.

10. Persistent view of yourself as fat that worsens despite weight loss.