Eating disorder awareness

Live Healthy Liberty prepares to host its first NEDA week later this month

Liberty University is planning for its first ever National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) Week that is set to take place beginning Feb. 22.

Lia Fischer, a group exercise manager at the LaHaye Student Union, said she proposed the idea to Lydia Lee, a campus wellness manager for the Live Healthy Liberty initiative, last semester because the topic of eating disorders is personal to Fischer.

“I was praying, ‘Lord, it’s my last semester. How can I make a difference here at Liberty? What can we do that would make a lasting impact?’” Fischer said. “I thought about how many girls and guys on this campus … are struggling with self image and eating disorders … and so I approached (the staff), and we talked all about what we could do to make an impact on the campus in this area.”

Lee said they used to research tried and true ideas for activities but have chosen ones they think will best fit the culture of Liberty.

Some of the events include a wellness series, a panel discussion event and a mini expo.

“We have wellness series throughout the whole semester, but this particular one will be geared toward eating disorders,” Lee said. “Dr. Linda Mintle will be speaking, and not only is this a passion of hers, she has expertise in this area. Dr. Mintle has written several books on the topic and has been a part of events similar to NEDA week at other schools. Her talk will be called, ‘Get off the scales and get on with your life,’ and she will be a key speaker in our panel discussion as well.”

Lee said there will be a panel event Thursday, Feb. 25 titled “Food Fight: 30 million people suffer from an eating disorder in the US. Bring a Friend and Your Compassion.” This will be an event where professionals from different fields of work will come together in a panel and answer questions that will be submitted anonymously by the participants. For the second half of the event, each professional will join a group to lead an interactive discussion.

Lee said Student Counseling Services is going to be one of their main resources during the week, and she also urged students who are concerned about their eating patterns to talk to one of the counselors who are located in Green Hall 1830.
Fischer said the week is aimed at helping both people that are struggling with eating disorders and people who may know someone who is.

“I think it is so important to know warning signs as a friend or family member (so you are) able to see those things and know how to reach out (in the right way),” Fischer said. “Also if you are a person that is struggling with that, know that you aren’t alone and know how to take care of yourself and to reach out for help.”

Lee said this week goes beyond identifying whether or not you struggle with eating disorder tendencies.

“NEDA week is not just about a personal battle with disordered eating habits.” Lee said. “It’s actually larger than that. It’s about addressing a toxic culture that encourages body dissatisfaction and destructive methods to manipulate the body that God has blessed us with. We hope that even students who have not personally struggled will join us in a fight to change the narrative and influence the culture in a positive way.”

Foley is the asst. news editor.

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