Mar 2, 2010

Maintaining balance: Seminar gives advice

by Kelly Marvel

National Eating Disorder Week is not a well known awareness week, but was brought to Liberty University students by the Student Care Office last week with Expressions From the Inside Out and the Women’s Health and Wellness seminar.

The progression of stages in developing an eating disorder was brought to students’ attention by the Expressions From the Inside Out walk-through exhibit. This exhibit taught students, both male and female, about the dangers of eating disorders, the different stages of body image and what students can do to help themselves or their friends combat an eating disorder.

Before students entered the exhibit, they were presented with facts about eating disorders among students, including that 10 percent of people who admit an eating disorder are male.

The walk-through featured five stages of body image, starting with the healthy and ending with the destructive.

“It starts off with having a good healthy body image, being grounded in the word … and it continues on through the different phases of starting to become obsessive about eating and being healthy, to then becoming destructive with your body and how you take care of yourself, to the final stages where you are fully anorexic or bulimic,” junior Leah Burling said.

Burling, a women’s ministry minor, hoped that students who have an eating disorder will be more willing to talk about it because of the exhibit.

“It’s something that kind of gets pushed under the rug and people try not to talk about it,” Burling said. “I think as you raise awareness about something, people are more comfortable to talk about it and if something like having an eating disorder or using a word, such as bulimia, become more casual people who are struggling are going to be more willing to talk about it.”

After looking at the different stages of body images, students concluded the time with a prayer room.

“What we also wanted to present was a place where people could pray,” said Life Skills Coordinator of Student Care Janet Brown. “Whether it was for themselves for healing or freedom from the struggles that they are having or maybe there is a friend that they know or a loved one … We wanted to have a place of hope and healing.”

The Student Care Office also put on a Women’s Health and Wellness Seminar on Feb. 25 to bring awareness to eating disorders and other health issues facing women in today’s society.
A panel of guests was at the seminar from different views of health and wellness fielded questions from women around campus, giving students a great idea of what can keep them healthy.

The panel consisted of Dr. Monica Rose, a professor in the Center for Women’s Ministry, Terri Page, a local nurse practitioner and professor in the Nursing Department, Dr. Bev Mahoney, director of Health Promotions, and Donna Barber, fitness instructor at the LaHaye Student Center.

Each of the women offered their expertise to answer questions that concern the women on Liberty’s campus. Some of these questions included whether hand sanitizer actually works, how to prevent sickness, how to deal with stress and anxiety, how to eat healthy on campus and issues concerning eating disorders.

“I feel like we covered a wide base of information,” Brown said. “I think I anyone could have gone and taken away something.”

Students found the information given by the panelists to be very helpful.

“I learned proper nutrition, like how to take yourself, get eight hours of sleep every night, how much water you should drink and just basic nutrition,” sophomore Lynn Plymale said.

The last question the panel answered was how students can balance their lives. Each of the panelists had something different to say but every woman said something about how important being in the Word was to keeping life stress-free and perfectly balanced.

After the panel finished their answers, Barber gave a live demonstration of her Heart and Soul workout, using hip-hop music with squats and lunges, to involve the women in learning how to have fun while taking care of their bodies.

“I loved the workout … it really motivates you to want to be healthy,” Brown said. “And I love how Donna had said that our motivation to stay healthy should actually be in line with pleasing the Lord.”

Contact Kelly Marvel at

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