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Club Spotlight: Embodied: Living the Health At Every Size Way

Dominique Diaz

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Debbie Devine, a local marriage and family therapist, answered questions about eating disorders for Chico State's Embodied club. Photo credit: Chelsea Jeffers


A speaker stands in front of a handful of students in the room, their attention drawn to her compassionate and easygoing persona.

“I’m like a joy whore,” said Debbie Devine, a local marriage and family therapist. “I really want to enjoy life, and I want the people around me to.”

Devine introduced a box that held extrinsic and intrinsic meaning. On the outside of the box were words such as “famous,” “popular” and “desirable.” On the inside were words that pertained more to a person’s internal being, such as “happiness.”

“You can’t touch the outside of a person and really feel a connection without the inside stuff,” she said.

Embodied: Living the Health at Every Size Way began last semester to promote positive body image and healthy behaviors.

Devine is the organization’s guest speaker of the semester and a supporter of the movement, as well as the Embodied club.

“The beauty of a club like
this and the professors that are associated with it is they teach where
adiposity is a problem and where it’s not,” Devine said. “Quite often health is not about an
adiposity level. Health is influenced by genetics and activity and nutrition.”

Adiposity is a term used to describe something in relation to fat.

“I think what has happened
is that fat has become the scapegoat of a sick society,” Devine said. “It
has become an easy target to blame for all of the health problems in the world.
I think that we look for easy targets to pour our anxiety onto and in our
cultural time right now, that is fat.”

Hatred of fat plays a prevalent role in society, she said.

“It is the last socially
acceptable form of prejudice that is accepted openly,” she said. “People are stigmatized
for being fat in ways that we would never think of stigmatizing someone for
their color, creed or sexual orientation. We are perfectly comfortable
stigmatizing them for larger size.”

Hopefully the movement can make an impact in Chico, said Crystal Vasquez, senior nutrition major and founder of the club.

“I’m going to dream big and hope that weight is no longer an issue on campus,” she said. “That we don’t even look at it as an issue anymore.”

The club’s mission is to promote the Health At Every Size principles, which include size acceptance, mindful eating and enjoyable physical activity, said Michelle Morris, nutrition professor and faculty adviser to the club.

“Our goal is to promote the Health At Every Size paradigm on campus and off
campus
,” she said. “We do that through education, having guest speakers, Love Every Body Week and advocacy.”

Hopefully nobody worries about having to fit into a certain size, said Natalie Butler, senior nutrition major and club president.

“Every girl is like, ‘Oh I need to fit into these small pants,'” she said. “It shouldn’t be an issue. Wear what you want.”

Dominique Diaz can be reached at [email protected] or @dominiqueldiaz on Twitter.

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Club Spotlight: Embodied: Living the Health At Every Size Way