In an effort to raise awareness on the topic of eating disorders, the Southern Smash College Tour will partner with UM Sports Nutrition, Student Dietetic Association and the UM National Panhellenic Conference to host its “Smash the Scale” event.
The event will take place in front of the Student Union from 11 to 3 p.m. today and Thursday.
Both days will have various activities that promote a positive body image. Participants will have the opportunity to get their picture taken in a Be*YOU(tiful) photo booth, release balloons with the ‘perfect number’ and smash a scale with sledge hammers.
Southern Smash was founded in November 2012 to fill a silent void in our society. This event aims to start a movement about appreciating our bodies and having self-worth.
McCall Dempsey, founder of the non-profit organization and a UM alum, travels throughout the country, visiting different schools and treatment centers where she discusses her personal struggles with an eating disorder.
President of the Student Dietetic Association Grace Talbot said the event is designed to promote positive body image and raise awareness for eating disorders. Many people may not know what an eating disorder looks like and some may not know they have disordered eating patterns, Talbot said.
“I think that here at Ole Miss and just college campuses in general, there is such a bad stigma about body image and what students get wrapped up in,” Talbot said. “Getting wrapped up in getting the spring break body and worrying about your GPA, it can become really negative.”
Talbot said she hopes people will become more aware, promote a positive image and essentially walk away with smiles on their face.
According to the National Eating Disorder website, 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States suffer from an eating disorder at some time in their life.
Registered sports dietician and UM grad assistant Hillary Ake said an eating disorder is an imbalance in your brain that can spiral out of control like depression or anxiety.
“We decided to put a positive spin on it and do something with body image awareness and I think that’s a lot better,” Ake said. “Body image awareness is something that everyone can improve on so it’s kind of a little more positive but also has more of a universal target.”
The Southern Smash College Tour came to the University in 2013 and has recently held events at Louisiana State University, University of Georgia, the University of Alabama, the University of Wisconsin and several other campuses throughout the country.
“It’s a hard time because you’re in college and outside of adolescence but you’re getting a lot of pressure because people may not be the same size as you,” Ake said. “My advice is to challenge the societal views of the ideal body, listen to your body and practice mindful eating tips.”
Ake’s mindful eating tips are taken from the National Eating Disorder Awareness and include listening to your body and detecting when you’re getting hungry, knowing when your body has had enough food and eating in moderation.
“I think this type of event really speaks to college kids,“ Ake said. “You don’t feel uncomfortable like you’re being preached at about eating disorders and hopefully everyone will take a bit of education away from it.”