JADE kicks off National Eating Disorder Awareness Week with three days of events

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Max Maisel explains the difference between self-criticism and self-compassion in “Be Kind to Your Mind” workshop. Photo credit: Diane Roxas

The Joint Advocates on Disordered Eating (JADE) launched a three-day event of workshops and activities starting Feb. 26 in participation of the annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAW).

“Our goal is to spread awareness on eating disorders, promote body positivity and share with students resources on and off campus,” JADE President Sarah Gordon said. “We regularly give informative presentations to different clubs and classes around campus, as well as conduct workshops.”

One of the workshops was led by Max Maisel, a psychology intern finishing his doctorate in clinical psychology. He teaches the advanced JADE course at CSUN, training students to become peer educators.

Maisel’s workshop, “Be Kind to Your Mind,” delves into self-criticism and how it relates to mental health concerns such as eating disorders. He explains that people use self-criticism as a source of motivation but it backfires and produces opposite results.

“When we look at studies done, self-criticism has an opposite effect,” Maisel said. “It often leads to lack of self-motivation and lack of risk-taking.”

Maisel details how self-criticism often leads to a cycle of shame that is evident in people suffering from bulimia, and the shame-pride cycle associated with people suffering from anorexia.

He teaches students to transition from self-criticism to self-compassion.

“It’s about recognizing that as human beings, we all suffer, and treating ourselves kindly because of that,” Maisel said.

JADE wrapped up Monday’s events with an hour of yoga at the Bayramian Lawn led by Jill Weiss Ippolito, founder of UpRising Yoga – a non-profit organization that uses yoga for therapeutic trainings in prison and underserved communities.

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Students relax after a long day with a yoga session on Bayramian Lawn. Photo credit: Diane Roxas

The yoga session allows students to exercise their body and also relieve their minds of stress through meditation. It highlights the importance of the mind and body connection in preventing eating disorders.

Kicking off Tuesday’s events is the Tabling Resource Fair at Plaza del Sol, where around 20 groups and organizations have tables to educate students on eating disorders and provide resources inside and outside the university.

There are tables where students spin the wheel to answer questions or to “Fish for Facts” about the issue and they get prizes in return. They also have a table set up to give away groceries to whoever visits at least 10 tables.

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A student tries her luck on the wheel, answering a question about eating disorders, to win a prize. Photo credit: Diane Roxas

“We have a lot of students find resources as they come to these events, finding activities that de-stress them,” Gordon said. “We’ve had a lot of positive feedback as well as a good turn out. We usually try to reach 200-300 students.”

Oasis Wellness Center, one of the groups at the fair, offers services to help students relax and relieve stress. An influx of students usually rush to their place in the USU towards the end of the semester when stress levels are high, according to Wellness Center assistant Jade Cantrell.

“It’s a place where students can come to relax in between classes,” Cantrell said. “They can come and take naps or go to workshops. We also offer massage therapy, acupuncture, and nutrition counseling. We have registered dietitians that can assess students’ diets and their relationship with food.”

The three-day event will wrap up with a screening of “The Illusionists,” a documentary about the role of media in defining beauty and body image, at the USU Theatre on Wednesday, Feb. 28 from 4-6 p.m.