When you're struggling with eating and body image, remember

12 Reminders For When You're Struggling With Food And Body Image

Food is important for daily functioning, no body size is best and your life is worth more than these worries.

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Body positivity, true healthy eating and self-compassion can be hard, especially in a word filled with fatphobia, the idea that men must be muscular, diet tips and photoshopped models. Add stress and emotions, which can cause changes in weight and appetite, and your body may not feel like home.

However, our bodies are super rad. They do so, so much for us; they carry out so many intricate functions that we may not even know or comprehend. Our bodies are the only true home we'll ever have, the only thing that will constantly be with us, so let's learn to appreciate it and love it right. Trust your body, and it will trust you.

1. Food = fuel.

Food gives us the energy to hug our friends, to travel, to go to work and make money, to go out with friends, to watch our favorite shows, to kiss.

2. At least 20% of the energy you receive from food goes towards your brain's functioning.

That's your grades, your ability to read articles, getting ready in the morning, creating happy memories, being an efficient employee and being able to have conversations with loved ones. Plus, people with eating disorders think about food up to 100% of the time. Imagine how much that limits your daily living!

3. Fat (or any other body type) isn't bad, and we need fat to live.

Fat does not have moral value. It's simply a nutrient necessary for life.

4. Worrying about food is a waste of time.

Believe me when I say it is not worth it to be stressed about food when you're eating out with friends. Believe me when I say it's better to eat what you want and your mind be able to focus on those who bring you happiness.

5. Wanting seconds, wanting to eat when others aren’t, and eating emotionally do NOT make you a bad person.

You are allowed to eat when and what and how much you want. Embrace your body's wants and needs!

6. When you get older, you will not look back on your life and wish you were smaller.

You will wish you would've spent more time with people you love, going on adventures and enjoying that 2 a.m. Waffle House.

7. Think about everything you are, and your size becomes less and less relevant.

Daughter. Son. Doctor. Gas station worker. Lover of noodles. Avid football watcher. Fashion lover. The funny one. The friend. Someone who has the strength to get up and live. The rap music lover.

8. Yeah, maybe you don’t love some aspects of your body -- but that isn’t all of you.

You are whole. You are a combination of so much and cannot be defined by only a couple of details.

9. Not eating -- or eating too much -- won’t solve your problems. Neither will having a different body size.

Geneen Roth has some amazing books about compulsive eating. The food isn't the problem, it's what you're trying to fight by using food. Your body isn't the problem, and fat is not a feeling.

10. Body struggles are not dealt with exclusively by a certain kind of person or body type.

All people -- genders, races, ages, levels of ability, sexual orientations and more can be affected. Those who are minorities often struggle more with body politics and are disproportionately affected and also stereotyped against. You don't have to look a certain way to be "sick enough" or valid.

11. Can’t feel body posi? Try body neutral.

AKA: I have a body. My body helps me get places and completes other cool functions.

12. Many resources are available to you for however you feel.

I'll say it again: you deserve help, no matter who you are or what you look like!
  1. National Eating Disorders Association on Eating Disorders
  2. National Eating Disorders Association on Body Image

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ASU Students Push For A Healthier Dining Hall To Counter 'Freshman 15' Fears

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap.

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Arizona State University students are pushing for change within the downtown Phoenix dining hall as they strive to avoid the infamous freshman 15.

The downtown Phoenix campus offers fewer dining options than the Tempe campus and has a less appetizing dining hall. The freshman 15 is a common scare among students living in the dorms, who are often freshman.

The freshman 15 is defined as a student who gains 15 pounds or more in their first year of college. Studies prove the average freshman does not exercise the right amount, is sleep deprived, has a poor diet, increases their stress level, alcohol consumption, and fatty food intake, which is most likely causing their weight gain.

Lauren Hernandez

Daniella Rudoy, a journalism major and fitness instructor at the SDFC, relived her freshman year as she provided tips for incoming freshman.

"There are a lot of workouts you can do in your dorm room as long as you have access to YouTube or a floor. You can go on a run, a walk, or do exercises that do not require equipment," Rudoy said in support of college fitness.

Rudoy said that mental health, fitness, and nutrition all correlate with one another.

"I follow the saying abs are made in the kitchen. So if you are working out day and night, but eating a giant pizza and chicken wings with a pack of beer when you come home you aren't doing yourself much good," Rudoy said.

Lauren Hernandez

The main cause for weight gain is increased alcohol consumption. 80 percent of college students drink and this includes binge drinking, which is unhealthy for many reasons.

Students who do not drink are most likely gaining weight because of their exposure to an all-you-can-eat dining hall. The downtown Phoenix campus offers a salad bar as their only consistent healthy option for students, therefore students are left eating hamburgers, fries, and pizza.

"I haven't been to the dining hall this semester. Last semester, I went because I had no other options. I am a vegetarian and the dining hall is not accommodating to those with allergies or food restrictions. I find it very difficult to find vegetarian options," Lexi Varrato, a journalism major said.

Lauren Hernandez

Varrato explained that she believes the freshman 15 is "100 percent real" and that incoming freshman should research their meal plans and ask their school how their dietary restrictions will be accommodated before purchasing a non-refundable meal plan.

Megan Tretter, a nursing major at Seattle University emphasized that not every dining hall is like ASU's and that the freshman 15 is "definitely not a problem" at her school.

"I always eat healthy at my dining hall. There are a lot of good and healthy options at Seattle University. I usually go to the smoothie line in the morning, have a salad for lunch, and make myself an acai bowl after work with avocado toast in our floor's kitchen," Tretter said in support of her school's strive for healthy options.

College students across the United States have healthier dining options than ASU, but many colleges still face the same problems that students here are facing.

Tara Shultz, a journalism major at ASU believes she has avoided the "very real" freshman 15 by living at home.

"I believe the freshman 15 targets dorm residence and first-year students who do not live at home as they do not have their parents as a guide and are forced to eat at a dining hall that only serves fatty foods," Shultz emphasized.

Lauren Hernandez

The downtown Phoenix campus offers students access to the SDFC, YMCA, and Taylor Place gym, where students can take group fitness classes, run on a track, play basketball, or swim. Alternative options for students are purchasing a membership at Orangetheory or EOS Fitness.

Most students agreed with journalism major Vanessa Gonzalez that they have little time to work out due to their workload, but many students like Varrato, Tretter, and Rudoy explained that they try to work out every day as it is a stress reliever and it enriches their mental health.

Steve Fiorentino, the owner of Powered Up Nutrition encourages college students to learn what they are putting in their bodies.

"I think it starts with nutrition. Students believe they can outwork a bad diet and I believe that is their number one mistake. My advice is to stop eating fast foods and start eating whole and healthy foods along with supplements," Fiorentino stated.

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap. The campus dining hall is not always the reason to blame as students have the option to decrease their meal plans, become active, and make healthy choices!

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Bigger Bodies Are Not Unhealthier Bodies

Got nothing nice to say? Then don't say anything at all.

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Okay, believe it or not, people have rolls. People have fat. People wear jean sizes in the double digits, and plus sized dresses exist.

Fat people exist. And their existence isn't disgusting, so it's time to stop treating them like they're gross and unworthy of feeling confident.

I don't know HOW many times I've seen social media shame fat people just for posting photos of themselves. A plus-sized woman could put a pic of herself in a bikini on the gram and is made fun of for having cellulite and stretch marks. People comment things like, "stop encouraging people to be unhealthy!"

Since when does posting a photo of yourself hanging out on the beach encourage people to be unhealthy? Are fat people not allowed to feel confident, or what?

It's honestly disgusting how vicious fat shaming is, and how the usage of social media makes fat phobia that much more widespread. What's truly saddening is that despite so many body-positive movements, these movements still lack the support for actual plus sized bodies.

I'm not talking about skinny models hunched over so you can see their slight belly rolls. I'm talking about women with thick thighs and stomachs that are far from flat. Brands claim to be inclusive but the plus-sized models they use could still fit into size 2 and 4 dresses.

Why is it so hard to embrace bigger bodies??

To many, the thought of calling an anorexic girl a skeleton and making fun of the lack of food she eats is beyond absurd. Yet, many people don't bat an eye when a fat girl is called a whale. People stare at her when she eats a burger but never mind the skinny girl bragging about eating an entire pizza on her own. It's quirky and cute, right? Wrong.

If people feel obliged to call fat bodies unhealthy for being too fat, where is the obligation to also call out skinny bodies for being too skinny?

I am 5'3" and this past September I weighed nearly 140 pounds. I was overweight but healthy. I am now 116 pounds, I have an eating disorder, low blood sugar, and severely low blood pressure. I am not healthy.

Your weight does not determine your health.

Stop judging people because of the bodies they are in. Just because you're skinny doesn't mean you're healthy.

A skinny woman might be able to drink a whole bottle of wine and eat an entire pizza to herself. She might be able to keep off the weight without working out. She might not like drinking water and opt for iced coffee. And she's deemed healthy.

Whereas the fat woman tries her best to eat balanced every day. She doesn't have a fast metabolism, but she loves sweating her ass off doing yoga. She adds fruit to her water daily, but she's the one that isn't healthy because she's bigger?

Ridiculous.

Stop fat shaming people. Let fat people exist in peace. Let them pose in photos and feel confident in their skin. Let them eat junk food when they want without judging them. Don't laugh at them in the gym.

Stop assuming that bigger bodies are not healthy bodies. The bigger me was the healthy me and the skinny me is not, but nobody would be able to tell that just by looking at me.

Mind your own business. Stop judging people. Stop reducing people's worth to the social stigmas of their physical bodies.

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