As part of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, the Counseling Center will be offering free eating disorder screenings today.
The screenings are part of "Love Your Body" week at Marquette and will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Alumni Memorial Union 254, said Sandra Blaies, counselor in the Counseling Center.
"Love Your Body" week is meant to celebrate every body and to "encourage people to eat well and feel good about themselves at whatever size they are," she said.
The screenings are an "opportunity for anyone who themselves has a problem or if they know someone else who may have a problem," she said.
"Talking with a counselor is a way to talk about your concerns," Blaies said. "It's an education program, not a diagnostic one," she said.
Blaies stressed that the screenings themselves are not counseling.
Signs of an eating disorder include avoiding eating around other people, losing weight, exercising frequently or excessively and going to the bathroom immediately after eating, Blaies said.
In addition, those who frequently make negative comments about their size or whose weight has suddenly changed may also be at risk, she said.
Blaies said she encourages those who would like to get more information or who are concerned about the way they view eating to come to the screenings.
"We want to help students develop good eating habits before they develop full-blown eating disorders," she said. "I would encourage people if they have an interest or would like more info to come and talk to someone in confidence."
During the sessions, students will have the opportunity to watch an educational video and receive informational handouts, she said.
In addition, students can fill out a self-assessment form and talk with a counselor about their results, Blaies said.
"It's completely confidential," she said.
Blaies said students have no obligations beyond talking with a counselor about their self-assessment results.
Other events for "Love Your Body" week include Thursday evening's "True Life: "I Have Had an Eating Disorder" lecture at 7 p.m. in the Schroeder multipurpose room, according to Amy Melichar, health educator in the Center for Health Education and Promotion, the event's sponsor.
There, students will have the opportunity to hear from someone who has had an eating disorder, she said.
"It's a nice chance for students to share and interact with others," she said.
On Friday, the center is sponsoring "Fearless Friday: A Day Without Dieting," she said.
Throughout the day, peer health educators will hand out candy bars with information stickers on them, Melichar said.
"It's a chance for the peer health educators to do some interactive, on-the-spot information-sharing," she said.
Julie Schmelzer, freshman in the College of Communication, said she feels "pressured" to look her best.
"I work out three to four times a week," Schmelzer said. "I feel pressure from television, media, magazines — anything that shows a girl in a bathing suit."
Melichar said "Love Your Body" week is a "great self-esteem" boost to help students appreciate who they are.
"We're all unique and special in and of ourselves," she said.
This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on Mar. 3 2005.