Staying Body-Positive When You're Studying Abroad And Surrounded By Food
Start writing a post
Lifestyle

Staying Body-Positive When You're Studying Abroad And Surrounded By Food

"It's one step at a time" — Jordin Sparks

506
Staying Body-Positive When You're Studying Abroad And Surrounded By Food
Dana Joy Seigelstein

"I am never eating pasta again after this semester"

"I need to workout I just ate an entire pizza"

"I am going on a diet"

"I'm going to get a salad because I feel disgusting"

"I've gained so much weight since I've been here"

"I'm going to do a juice cleanse it's cheaper than going out and eating pasta and pizza"

I studied abroad in Italy this past spring and these are all things people have actually said to me since being here. At Virginia Tech (where I go to school when I'm not booling in Europe) I am a part of a group called The Body Project. Point blank; I promote body positivity to groups of sorority women, we discuss the pressures of looking a certain way and we talk about ways to "derail" fat talk.

An example of fat talk would be saying "I need to go on a run after this meal because I am going to feel disgusting." Basically, any dialogue where you shame your body or other people's bodies- a lot of common dialogue with women in their high school and college years can be "fat-talk" whether or not they realize they are doing it.

Being in Italy, their main staple foods are pasta and pizza. I have seen these past months as a learning experience for my palette — I have tried foods I've never heard of and sometimes don't even know what I order when I order it. I constantly have the mindset of "I don't know when the next time I'm going to be here is, so dig in" (I say to myself after my fourth cheesecake of the night).

There were so many times over this semester when I would hear people I just met complaining about their bodies, saying how fat they feel and how they need to go on a diet. This has become such a common conversation topic that after someone will say "I need to go on a run I just had PROSCIUTTO PIZZA" someone else needs to say "YOU HAD PROSCIUTTO PIZZA? WELL, I HAD SPAGHETTI CARBONARA, LOOK AT THESE THIGHS" and then all of a sudden people are going back and forth seeing who can shame themselves more.

It was hard to step in a lot of times being that I would just meet these people and they would say these things that usually would be a trigger for me but I almost felt powerless because there was no convincing them otherwise. I am fully aware that everyone feels differently about their bodies, but the danger of talking like this (while there are many reasons) is it elicits insecurities from people listening to the conversation that maybe they didn't know they had in the first place. Hearing that someone else "HAS TO GO ON A RUN" after eating the same exact meal that you just ate can mess with someone's mind... understandably, yes?

What I would always end up telling them was to enjoy the time now while we are young and living in ITALY to eat up, drink up and live it up because I am more than positive that in 3 months I am going to miss going to a restaurant and choosing from over 50 pastas and 100 sauces rather than getting that salad for dinner.

I consider myself lucky to be a part of The Body Project because these values have been ingrained in my head for almost two years, and I carry them with me every day. I am aware that not everyone thinks like that, nor is everyone capable of thinking that way but I want to encourage everyone to try their best to think positively about their body and embrace who you are! It allows you to enjoy the present. Give compliments, tell your friends and family you love them and eat that damn gelato.

"Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels pizza"

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

'Hotel Transylvania: Transformania' Film Review

Solid animation can't raise the newest entry in Sony's colorful monster series beyond the basics

42882
'Hotel Transylvania: Transformania' Film Review
Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6suJohjIvfo

I take a slight issue with the idea that Adam Sandler didn’t have a good dramatic role until ‘Uncut Gems,’ what about ‘Hotel Transylvania’ (he says semi-seriously)?’

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

4 Common Reasons Couples Get Divorced

Are some people just not meant to be together? Is there any way to prevent an impending divorce?

76023
4 Common Reasons Couples Get Divorced

We've all heard the statistics. Roughly 50% of married couples eventually end up divorced. This can lead to complications, problems with your children, financial issues, and no small amount of negative emotions.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

​Pets are Good for the Soul

Millions of Americans have found comfort in pet ownership. The media has been awash with stories about a surge in pet ownership, as Americans have taken advantage of the ability of pets to improve emotional well-being.

74754
Good for the Soul
Pets are Good for the Soul

America is going through a mental health crisis. This crisis predates the global pandemic, but has in many ways been dramatically exacerbated by it. In 2019, 19.86% of adults, or 50 million Americans, reported suffering from a mental illness. The emotional toll of the pandemic has been heavy, with over half of U.S. adults saying that they have experienced stress and worry related to Covid-19. Anxieties over work, uncertainty about the future and other triggers have intensified the mental health crisis. Millions of Americans have found comfort in pet ownership. The media has been awash with stories about a surge in pet ownership, as Americans have taken advantage of the ability of pets to improve emotional well-being.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How Your Sleep Position Affects Your Health?

You changed into your pajamas, turn off the lights, and get yourself ready to sleep. How do you prefer to sleep, on the back, on your side, or on your tummy? Although there’s no scientific result that sleeping position affects your back, here are some interesting facts that have been discovered.

180669
Sleep Position

You changed into your pajamas, turn off the lights, and get yourself ready to sleep. How do you prefer to sleep, on the back, on your side, or on your tummy? Although there’s no scientific result that sleeping position affects your back, here are some interesting facts that have been discovered.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How to Throw the Ultimate Winter Bash

As the year starts to come to an end, make sure you find the time to have some fun as well.

123679
Ultimate Winter Bash

As the year starts to come to an end, make sure you find the time to have some fun as well.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments