Student Health Services to host Love Your Body Week

By Alicia Dobson/ Contributing Writer

When Keiran Ward, a senior majoring in communications, first came to FIU as a student athlete, he quickly noticed that he was among the smallest players on the football team.

Pressured by coaches to gain weight, Ward became motivated to make a change that was more than beneficial to his athletic career; it was beneficial to his life as a whole.

“The pressure didn’t push me into a shell ⎯ it pushed me to work harder and become the player I always wanted to be,” Ward said.

Atarhe Neal-Viegbesie, a junior majoring in biology, told a similar tale when asked about the importance of body image.

After years of feeling out of place and overlooked, she was sick of feeling like a stranger in her own skin. Seeking more than just a physical change, Neal-Viegbesie sought confidence and self-esteem.

“One day I looked in the mirror, didn’t like what I saw, and decided to make a change,” she said.

Inspired by the loss of very close loved one, Neal-Viegbesie began to develop new health and fitness habits that helped her transform into the person she always wanted to be, physically and mentally.

“I never wanted to be anyone else. It has always been about improving myself,” she stressed.

In an effort to emphasize the importance of being comfortable in your own skin,

Student Health Services is dedicating an entire week to promoting positive body image and self-acceptance.

Ebonie Parris, the wellness coordinator for Student Health Services, is dedicated to keeping students positive and healthy in coordination with the National Organization for Women.

“FIU Love Your Body Week is a celebration of NOW’s National Love Your Body Day, a day when women of all sizes, colors, ages and abilities come together to celebrate self-acceptance and promote positive body image,” she said.

Although NOW’s National Love Your Body Day focuses on women, FIU’s event adds men to the mix.

“We found that college men could also benefit from this type of event, as they aren’t excluded from societal standards and body image concepts,” Parris added.

During Love Your Body Week, student services such as the Counseling and Psychological Services and the Victim Empowerment Program will be tabling and providing speakers to make presentations about a number of topics related to loving your body.

All week long, the events will take place in and around the GC Pit. Students can expect to learn about reducing the risk of cancer, self-affirmation, nutritional guidance, self-care and much more.

From Oct. 7 to 9, Student Health Services will be tabling outside of Green library to promote the larger Love Your Body Event, which starts Monday, Oct. 13, through one of their many Random Acts of Wellness Days.

Sofia Pablos-Aguirre, a senior majoring in English and a wellness assistant for Student Health Services, refrained from revealing any exciting surprises that are in store for the Love Your Body RAW Day.

However, she hinted that the RAW Day will be an “Instagram-able opportunity.”

Much like Keiran Ward and Atarhe Neal-Viegbesie, many people feel insecure about themselves and their image at times. This event was created to remind students that they are amazing just the way they are.

When asked about women and weight, Keiran Ward said it best.

“Rock your size and do your thing.”

For more information about the FIU Love Your Body Day Week or any of the other RAW Days, you can visit Student Health Services in the University Health Services building, room 180, or e-mail


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