The gym is often a place where people go to change something they dislike about their appearance; University Recreation is combating this negativity and promoting a positive body image by sponsoring
Coinciding with National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Feb. 22-28, this weeklong campaign hopes not only to raise awareness about eating disorders, but also to promote a healthy lifestyle that is both physical and mental.
Body image is what one believes about their own appearance and how they view themselves. It is closely related to self-esteem and self-worth, influencing one’s confidence and value they place on themselves.
Christin Everson, the assistant director of UREC, believed that the campaign is a time to reflect not only on personal health, but also on how one views themselves and their body.
During the week, positive quotes and reminders will be placed all around the Fitness Center, from the cardio machines to the mirrors to encourage students to embrace self-love and care while exercising. A photo booth will also be set up for students to take pictures, celebrating the uniqueness of each
Students felt that this encouragement would help motivate them while exercising.
“Positive reinforcement while working out is always helpful and extremely motivating,” said Trevor Ka’aihue, a sophomore Environmental Science major.
Along with the positive messages, UREC will also hold a specialty group fitness class called “Yoga for EveryBODY,” on Wednesday, Feb. 24. This class focuses on self-care and love to promote a positive body image while also showing the versatility of yoga.
The theme for this year is “Positive Mind. Positive Vibes. Positive Life.” This slogan captures the connection between mental and physical health, showing how a positive mindset towards one’s own body affects their entire life.
“Project Positive does an excellent job of providing simple positive messages for people when they are least expecting it,” said Kennedy Dresh, a freshman who works as a referee at UREC. “Every encouraging quote or reminder can uplift someone who was just having an off day or someone who struggles with serious body image and confidence issues.”
In today’s society, unrealistic body images are promoted through media portrayal Advertisers and other platforms often use editing techniques to achieve a level of inhuman perfection. This exposure to these unattainable body standards is proven to affect how viewers see their own bodies, especially in adolescents aged 12 to 20 years old.
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), 58 percent of college-aged women feel pressured to be a certain weight. This pressure often leads to unhealthy eating habits such as skipping meals and over-dieting; in severe cases these can develop into an eating disorder. ANAD reports that 25 percent of college-aged women engage in binging and purging as a weight-management technique.
It is not just women who feel pressured about body image, men also feel pressure to reach an ideal weight and muscle mass. The pressure to “bulk up,” often leads many men to anabolic steroid use, with a study from the American Psychological Association showing that 4 percent of adolescent males have used steroids. Along with this dangerous steroid use, ANAD reports that men are less likely than women to seek treatment for an eating disorder.
Project Positive hopes to bring these issues to light while promoting a healthy lifestyle through correct diet, exercise and self-care.
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