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Let’s talk about body language

Last updated on March 9, 2019

By Katelyn Marshall

Join Pioneer Prevention at Volunteer State Community College for a discussion about healthy body image with guest speaker, Mackenzie Fox from Tennessee Voices for Children to speak to students about Body Image and Healthy Eating at Wood Campus center in the Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room B Feb. 28 from 2p.m. – 3 p.m., according to Vol State’s website.

“How we perceive ourselves physically has so much to do with our self-esteem,” said assistant professor at Vol State Kendal Joy Shriver, who has previously worked for Sumner Regional Medical Center in Gallatin as a Wellness and Exercise Specialist for 22 years. She also worked at Sumner Healthplex and Sumner Station Fitness Center.

Shriver mentioned that she does not think that there is such thing called a “normal” body image. “A lot of little girls may think ‘Barbie’ is normal, but we know it is not. Body image is an individual thing, but highly influenced by our ‘ideal images’ through TV, movies, and what society claims is a beautiful body image.”

body-languageIn explaining how people can improve body image, she said that, “genetics is an important component, of course, but we can improve our body image as much as we can by proper nutrition, sleep, fashion, and of course, exercise. When we have done what we can to improve our bodies—I want to tell (especially young girls), be who you are and be proud.”

Shriver adds that people can be too confident or not confident enough in their body image. “For young people in particular, that unfortunately has a lot to do with peer pressure. Hopefully health is the most important and it should be our first priority, but of course, we want to fit in and be liked. Body image has a lot to do with that.”

Pertaining to eating when you are not hungry, “food is fuel. We have to feed our bodies. Food stimulates our metabolism so in order to burn calories for energy, we have to eat calories. Generally, our problem is that we eat too much high caloric and unhealthy foods, so weight gain becomes a problem,” Shriver said.

When it comes to who worries most about body image, Shriver stated, “females, I think. Females think they have to look a certain way, weight, color of hair, and etc. to be loved and appreciated, especially by the opposite sex. I think that’s changing, hopefully.”

She advised that for someone with poor body image, “do as much as you can with what you have. Good diet and exercise can enhance the body image so much, along with flattering fashion for your body type.”

Shriver added, “I think the whole movie, fashion, and model industry has a tremendous impact on how we see ourselves and how we want to be seen.”

“We have been given a fantastic gift in our body. We may not always like the way it looks, but it’s ours and if we care for it, it does wonderful things for us,” Shriver said as her quote to the world pertaining to body image.

Sarah Payne, MS, RDN, LDN, adjunct associate professor in health at Vol State explained, “Dietitians are about food, really. That’s why I became a dietician. I really enjoy food. We help people eat well. People who have body issues problems may benefit from a dietician helping them eat well, but they would also see a licensed professional counsel or therapist about the mental side of the body image issue. The mental side is out of my scope of practice. There is a great resource we have in our area, and that website is”

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