Heath Promotions encourages body positivity at SDSU

by Alex Hall , Staff Writer

San Diego State’s Fitness and Wellness Program Assistant for Aztec Recreation, Julie Hannon, teamed up with the Health Promotion Department on campus to host ‘Love Your Body Week’ during the week of Oct. 17-21.

This event focused on raising awareness of having a positive body image and being mindful of health habits.

Each day the Aztec Recreation Center hallway had  a different activity to focus on to promoting  body positivity and encouragement for students.

“I’ve done this at other schools I have worked at and I think it’s a really cool, positive thing to bring to campuses because it is a really prominent issue especially with college students in a gym setting,” Hannon said. “This week we were trying to get people away from always being super aware of how they look and just focusing on how they feel.”

Some of the daily activities throughout the week included revealing the truth about what happens when people use the four common diets, photos showing how Photoshop is used even with famous athletes and an intuitive eating lesson with a Hershey Kiss.

Students that participated in the activities entered into a raffle to win a $50 gift card to the SDSU Bookstore.

Hannon said one of the most effective events was on Tuesday Oct. 18 when there was a white board with a lot of negative comments people might say about themselves. They then had people choose one they could relate to and change it to make it positive.

“We started brainstorming about different activities that can make students aware of having a positive body image and have that empowering moment of ‘yeah I do love my body’ versus all these messages we receive through media, TV, ads, or magazines,” Hannon said.

Health Educator in the Health Promotion Department on Campus, registered dietitian and nutritionist Tyler Rolling said people are constantly bombarded with body negativity.  

Every day they put up  cards around the ARC that gave people reasons to love their body,  something positive or words of encouragement. In both of the group fitness studios paper covered all the mirrors in order to get people’s thoughts away from their looks or comparing themselves to others in the class.

“Even when I am instructing the class it is nice to read those words of encouragement and motivation,” Circuit Challenge Instructor at the ARC, Jeffrey Hinshaw said. “I think there are a lot of overall good sayings not only for fitness but for life in general, and you can encourage other people.”  

On the group fitness papers covering the mirrors students wrote messages like “loving yourself is the first step to loving life” and  “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

“In the group fitness classes because the mirrors surround every single wall, there is a huge focus on how you look,” Hannon said. “So it’s kind of nice to not think about that for a few days, whether is changes you for the year or even if it just makes you a little bit more mindful.”

This was the first year the ARC has put on this event. Hannon, a graduate student kinesiology student, said she  had a  goal of a low key, easy opportunity to reach everyone easily and give those who normally would not participate a chance to.