National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

You may have heard of the Writing Center, One Stop, or the Office of Financial Aid, but are you familiar with any of the Wellness Offices on campus?

University of San Diego offers many different resources on campus that assist with academics, anxiety, alcohol and other drugs, but also has many outlets that support the social-emotional well-being of students.

This week honors the National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. From Monday Feb. 22 to Friday Feb. 26, there will be events on campus to promote awareness and create dialogue regarding these disorders, which many college students suffer from.

In the United States, according to the National Eating Disorders Association, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically diagnosed eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating. Even more alarming, according to

The Walden Center for Education and Research, 40 percent of female college students have eating disorders and 91 percent of female college students have attempted to control their weight through dieting.

Although these numbers may be frightening, these statistics don’t stop the community of USD from living a healthy lifestyle. USD students, along with the Wellness Centers offer great advice on how to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.

Some students find it easy to maintain a healthy routine by being involved in sports teams on campus, in addition to off-campus extracurricular activities.

Sophomore Kristen Gengenbacher, a member of the Women’s Volleyball team, admits that playing volleyball makes it easier for her to stay in shape and health conscientious.

“It’s nice because I don’t have to take time out of my day to work out, it’s just naturally a part of my schedule,” Gengenbacher said.

Although she is very physically active, Gengenbacher believes the benefits of healthy eating triumphs exercise.

“Eating is much more important in my eyes,” Gengenbacher said. “A lot of the time, I don’t realize that what I put in my body is fuel for my day. It’ll help me pay attention in my classes, have the energy to exercise, and not to mention, there are long term benefits for eating healthy.”
Another sport fanatic, junior Felipe Toscano has found being on the Men’s Soccer team is helpful for staying in shape, not only because of the strenuous level of physical activity, but also due to the support of his USD teammates.

“There is nothing like being a part of a successful team where everyone contributes to each player’s wellness,” Toscano said. “As a team, we share meals together and try to constantly remind each other to make healthy choices, because there is no I in team.”

If you spend your free time studying, participating in sorority and fraternity life, or laying low and watching Hulu, keep in mind that you don’t have to be on a sports team to live a healthy or physically intense lifestyle.

Senior Giulia Dugo discusses that although it may be easy to take the semi-fast tram, she sticks to walking.

“I try to avoid the tram, so I can spend more time outside and walk more,” Dugo said. “I also am a big believer in the power of vitamin C, so I start every morning with a glass of Emergen-C for my immune system.”

Dugo opens up about eating disorders and what she would recommend about maintaining a healthy perception toward body image.

“At the end of the day, you have to love and live with yourself,” Dugo said. “It’s also important to be realistic. Everybody has a different shape and sometimes you have to come to the terms that no matter what you do you may not turn into a 5’11’’ toned and tanned Victoria’s Secret model.”

The Center for Health and Wellness Promotion at USD released new information on their site regarding nutrition and healthy eating. Specifically there is a movement toward intuitive eating, a positive non-diet based route to weight management with the goal of choosing to eat food without guilt or judgement.

“There are no good or bad foods… rather, food is medicine, and we move toward foods that energize and stabilize us and make us feel well, but we also give consideration to the enjoyment factor and true preferences (versus eating only what we think we ‘should’ eat),” USD Center for Health and Wellness statement says. “Intuitive eaters are attuned at listening and responding organically to hunger and fullness cues.”

While it might be easy to get distracted by the pasta bar, crepes, or pizza that USD offers, the dining facilities offer a wide variety of healthy food options that are more appealing and satisfying than just lettuce on a plate.

Egg whites, brown rice, veggies, noodles, baked chicken or fish, and tofu are always available, not to mention full access to a great salad bar which offers different types of protein and condiments for vegetarian and vegan based diets.

Look for these symbols on your favorite treats at Tu Mercado, Pavilion Dining and Missions Cafe for the low down on different food and drink characteristics that promote healthy dietary needs and restrictions.

It may be tempting to skip a meal because you know Spring Break is around the corner, but remember there are other options for staying in shape and maintaining a healthy diet without compromising all the good things, including occasional indulgences.