Panel will bring awareness to eating disorders

Liberty University Counseling and Psychological Services (LU CAPS) is bringing attention to National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (EDAW) by hosting an Eating Disorder Awareness Event Tuesday, Feb. 27 in Montview from 2-4 p.m.

Resources and information about EDAW will be displayed during the event and a discussion panel of eating disorder counselors and specialist counselors will begin at 5 p.m. in DeMoss 1286.

EDAW is dedicated to bringing awareness and hope to those who are or have experienced eating-related disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorders.

“Food is one of the most complicated topics on the college campus statistically speaking,” Emily Ellis, assistant director for outreach and embedded services and disordered eating counselor, said.

“Food is a topic (that) culture is very confused about and often teaches us to view in disordered ways,” Ellis said.

Ashley Vicari, a licensed counselor at the Renfrew Center and co-host of the podcast “All Bodies. All Foods.” will be virtually featured during the start of the panel to talk about the meaning of eating disorders, diet culture and how to take steps toward food freedom.

A second panel will begin at 6 p.m. featuring eating disorder specialists from the LU CAPS office and on-campus dietitians. Also, community counselors from the local clergy will discuss how to view food through the lens of faith and normalize talking about food being complicated.

There will be a time at the end of the panel for students to discuss and ask questions.

“Disordered eating affects a fair number of students on campus and is something we should create a culture around. In our office, we are passionate about the idea that food is holy,” Ellis said.

Scripture in the Bible can be used as an example when deeming food as holy, such as the act of Communion.

“Communion is the act of partaking, and a lot of Jesus’ interactions with people involved food. … God created our bodies to need nourishment and to crave,” Ellis said. 

Learning to see food through a holy lens can bring peace to those who are struggling.

Liberty students who attend this event can learn to create a culture of food freedom, ditching diet culture to prioritize overall wellness.

“Food is more than fuel,” Ellis said. 

LU CAPS provides individual counseling to those experiencing eating disorders in addition to group counseling titled “Making Peace with Food.” For more information,

McDonald is a news reporter for the Liberty Champion

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