National Eating Disorder Awareness Week event addresses body image issues

Keely Kennedy

Aiming to promote positive body image across campus, the Body Acceptance Movement kicked off its annual National Eating Disorder Awareness Week in the Student Center on Monday. 

To begin the awareness week, four women shared their personal stories with overcoming an eating disorder, or their current battle with an eating disorder, as part of a panel discussion. 

The panel featured current Kent State students, a current John Carroll student and a professor from the Kent State main campus. Each was willing to share her story and was eager to help out in any way she could by answering questions from the crowd or just sharing pieces of advice on how to handle different situations.

“Give yourself a mantra, and stick to it,” was a phrase repeated throughout the night. 

Each panel member had her own individual mantra that she said helped tremendously in her process of recovery, something she could hold on to for support and give her positive vibes.

“We have these tyrannizing ideals to be thin. (With an eating disorder) you can look like what you see, and it sends your body these mixed messages,” panel member Suzanne said. 

The panel members shared their own examples on overcoming these hardships, including the struggles that follow. 

“You never see what others see in you,” said panel member, Teri. “I will always look in the mirror and see someone heavier.” 

In dealing with an eating disorder, the panel members described the hard process of change as “tough love.” 

Teri referred to eating disorders as being similar to a drug or alcohol addiction: there are moments where you feel a high one minute and then the immediate regret from your actions after. As much determination you have in telling yourself that you’ll be able to handle the temptation, it is always best to get outside help, she said. 

Silence is never beneficial, and although it’s difficult to confide in someone, members of the panel agreed that it’s always best to express yourself in the long run. 

“You have to find your inner drive,” was another piece of advice often spoken of at the event. 

The drive to be better and healthier is all about breaking the bad habits, but it’s not a quick or easy process. Several of the panel members expressed that change is gradual and you most likely will see no results for a while, but it’s key to break the old habits of eating disorders and make new, healthier ones.

Emily Creque, the director of NEDA Week, represented the organization BAM and was the coordinator of the evening’s Q&A panel event.

“BAM strives to advocate healthy lifestyles and self acceptance. We do many outreach events to help people both mentally and emotionally in any way we can,” she said.

BAM has many events planned for the week in regards to National Eating Disorders Awareness, the schedule of events can be found at or twitter, @kentbam.

Contact Keely Kennedy at [email protected].