Hands-on ap­proach to body im­age

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Janie Smith

Learn­ing to love your curves and bumps isn’t al­ways an easy task, but it’s one Sarah Lang be­lieves is worth­while.

Ms Lang vol­un­teers for the Eat­ing Dif­fi­cul­ties Ed­u­ca­tion Net­work in West­mere and helped or­gan­ise to­day’s Love Your Body Day cel­e­bra­tions in Aotea Square.

Peo­ple are in­vited to add their hand prints to a gi­ant can­vas to vote for body sat­is­fac­tion.

She has been in­volved with the or­gan­i­sa­tion for sev­eral years and was briefly in one of its sup­port groups.

Once she de­cided she no longer needed to at­tend, she de­cided to start vol­un­teer­ing and is now a col­lec­tive mem­ber.

Al­though now happy and healthy, the 28-year-old grap­pled with dis­or­dered eat­ing and body im­age prob­lems in her late teens and early 20s.

She went through phases of ex­treme di­et­ing, over eat­ing, over ex­er­cis­ing and bu­limia.

“I’m quite pas­sion­ate about do­ing any­thing I can to stop other girls go­ing down that path, to help peo­ple feel pos­i­tive about their bodies rather than neg­a­tive,” she says.

Ms Lang’s ex­pe­ri­ence made her re­alise how wide­spread eat­ing dis­or­ders are.

“Even though peo­ple will talk to each other about their di­ets, a lot of peo­ple feel em­bar­rassed about eat­ing prob­lems and body im­age in the wider sense.

“It’s noth­ing to be ashamed of, it needs to be talked about rather than swept un­der the car­pet.”

Ms Lang is hop­ing for as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble to stop by and lend their sup­port to the event in Aotea Square, which also fea­tures en­ter­tain­ment, free mas­sages and goodie bags.

Net­work co­or­di­na­tor Ma­ree Burns says body sat­is­fac­tion is an is­sue that af­fects most New Zealan­ders.

“This is an op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple all around Auck­land to pro­mote body sat­is­fac­tion and cel­e­brate di­ver­sity.

“It’s also a lobby for bet­ter ser­vices for peo­ple with eat­ing dif­fi­cul­ties.”

Peo­ple can con­tact the ser­vice if they feel they have a prob­lem, or can be re­ferred through doc­tors and other med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion also runs health pro­mo­tion pro­grammes in schools.

Love Your Body Day is held be­tween noon and 2pm to­day in Aotea Square and peo­ple can also buy t-shirts on­line to sup­port the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Go to www.eden.org.nz for more in­for­ma­tion.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Hands up: Vol­un­teer Sarah Lang wants peo­ple to vote for body sat­is­fac­tion with their hand prints.

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