National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDA) has been filled with a variety of events that promote healthy body confidence.

On Wednesday, at the Counseling and Psychological Services center, the university organized a body image workshop to inform and engage others on a positive body image.

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Jade Garneau-Fournier and Janice Delgado lead the informative forum and discussion.

The conversation was initiated after a presentation of an intriguing and thought provoking Ted Talk by Meghan Ramsey.

Ramsey’s message depicted the social pressures and beauty standards for the modern day woman based on social media and the concept of “likes.” She also shared how the rising trend of #Thinsporation and #Pro-Ana are skewing young girls’ perception of what a healthy body looks like.

Moreover, she gave a shocking fact that in the U.S., Finland, and China, students  who are concerned with body image have lower grade point averages in comparison to those who are not preoccupied with body image issues.

“We need to start judging people on what they do, not what they look like,” Ramsey said.

The Ted Talk lead to an open discussion where students were able to express what they felt concerning the video.

Garneau-Fournier asked a student specifically what body image expectations and struggles does she face as a black woman.

The student talked about the pressure in the black community to look “slim thick” or have an “hourglass” figure.

Moreover, she continued to say that the struggles in the black community are also rooted in colorism and self-hatred.

She said that as a black woman, that there are certain expectations for their appearance that if they don’t add up, one often feels as though they are “not black enough.”

Afterwards, the leaders gave everyone a list of positive body affirmations.

The participants had to share which one stood out to them or “spoke” to them the most.

One particular participant said the affirmation: “My body is a miracle,” impacted her the most.

She then described a situation in which she was seriously ill and in the hospital for months. The fact that she was healthy and recovered was a reminder that her body is truly a miracle.

Garneau-Fournier said that the affirmation “My body is a gift and I cherish its abilities, great and small” was one of her favorites.

She said that it reminded her to treat her body with respect because it is the vehicle that carries out our daily activities. She continued with the vehicle analogy by saying that just as you fuel your car, you have to fuel your body with the proper nutrition and take care of it just as much.

Delgado said that individuals who are struggling with body image issues should try to connect with others who are facing the same issues. She said that there is a Body Wellness group at UCF that students are welcome to join.

Garneau-Fournier said that if you have a friend who is dealing with body image issues, you should never negate their issues. She explained that oftentimes we try to make people feel better by brushing their struggles to the side with compliments. However, we should be active listeners to understand their perspective and see where the root of their problem is.

By: Abisola Adeyemo