Do you know someone who might have an eating disorder and you aren’t sure how to help? If you do, or would like to learn more about eating disorders, Eating Disorder Awareness Week is February 26 through March 4. Vandal Health Education (VHE) is working with the Counseling and Testing Center and the Women’s Center to bring awareness to campus.
Events include free belly dancing classes, how to help a friend presentation, VHE health huts, Drop-in Mindfulness Meditation, eating disorder screenings, Vandalizing the Kitchen cooking class, Friday Crafternoons, and free yoga. The goal for this week is to share resources offered on campus and spread hope.
It is important to know some of the eating disorder warning signs because early detection is key. Lack of awareness about eating disorders can contribute to an eating disorder remaining undetected, even by the person experiencing the disorder. Warning signs can include dramatic weight loss, being preoccupied with weight and dieting, making frequent comments about being overweight, denying feeling hungry, appearing uncomfortable eating around others, having extreme mood swings, and having impaired immune functioning.
This list is not complete and someone experiencing an eating disorder may or may not exhibit these specific signs. Different people experience different symptoms, but these general signs can be helpful to identify potential eating disorders. If you are worried about someone you know or think you might experience some of these warning signs visit nationaleatingdisorder.org or call their helpline at 1-800-931-2237.
It can be difficult to approach a friend or loved one about an eating disorder. However, it is important to try and reach out to them if you are worried. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help to have that conversation. Do: learn about eating disorder warning signs so you can recognize them, express your love and support, be prepared for them to respond negatively to the conversation, let them know that you have had struggles before as well, and suggest that they seek out a professional for help. Don’t: sweep the issue under the rug, place guilt on them for things that they are unable to change at the moment, say things like “all you have to do is …”, or give advice about weight loss or appearance. Seeking treatment for an eating disorder requires professional help. Letting your friend or loved one know that you care is the first step in connecting them to help.
There are many resources offered on campus that can provide information and help with eating disorders. Our campus dietician, Marissa Rudley offers nutrition counseling in the Student Health Center for $15 per appointment. She provides personalized nutrition care plans, nutrition goal setting, and dietary analysis. Contact Marissa at (208)-885-6717 or at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to make an appointment. The Counseling and Testing Center (CTC) is another great resource here on the UI campus. The CTC offers free and confidential counseling services for a wide range of concerns including coping skills, prevention, and wellness. An appointment can be made by calling (208)-885-6716 or by visiting Mary E. Forney Hall, Room 306.
To receive further information about eating disorders or resources on campus please join us on campus for our many events during Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
Coral Knerr works with Vandal Health Education.