‘Be Body Positive’ creates impact

Brenda Echeverria, Staff Reporter

Everyone has heard of the “freshman 15.” It’s a common conversation that looms over all new college students as they enter their freshman year, and many fear it. Will they gain weight like everyone says?

Things like the “freshman 15” can create harmful stigmas around weight that can cause students to build a negative body image. The Body Positivity program is an 8-week program on campus that is trying to change that by changing the conversation.

“With the program, we don’t talk about scale. We don’t talk about weight. We don’t talk about calories. We don’t talk about dieting behaviors, things like that, because that doesn’t help and because the scale doesn’t determine what you’re worth,” said registered dietician Rachael Omdoll.

Omdoll is the facilitator for The Body Positive program, which was held for the first time on campus this year and will be back next semester.

She first stumbled on the program while doing some research for sports nutrition. The program was created by The Body Positive, a nonprofit organization that teaches people to listen to their bodies, learn and thrive.

Their ultimate goal is to end the harmful consequences of negative body image: eating disorders, depression, anxiety, cutting, suicide, substance abuse, and relationship violence. They are especially concerned about poor body image in teens and young adults, which is why they have been training educators and student leaders for more than twenty years to create Body Positive programs in their schools and communities.

Omdoll said she has experienced some insecurities when it comes to her own body, which is why she wanted to bring the program to campus.

According to the The Body Positive website their program is focused on 5 competencies, fundamental skills for a more peaceful and healthy approach to body image.  The competencies include reclaiming health, practicing intuitive self-care, cultivating self-love, declaring your own authentic beauty and building community.

Omdoll believes the program can be a good way for students to start thinking differently about their bodies, and hopes to see more students join the program next semester.

“No matter your gender identification, or your race, culture, none of those things should impact anyone’s desire to join. The program is very conscious about things like gender, identity, and culture and all those kinds of things, said Omdoll. “So, I just really want students to know that no matter if you’re blue, purple, whatever the case that I would love for them to join.

The program will be held Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting Jan. 28 through March 18. For more information contact Rachael Omdoll at [email protected]