The Collegian
Thursday, October 29, 2020

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Maintain Don't Gain raises controversy about body image

The Maintain Don’t Gain challenge, hosted by the Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness, encourages participants to monitor and sustain their weight throughout the holiday season.

The 46 people who have registered for the challenge weighed in this past week and will also weigh in after winter break Jan. 12 through Jan. 14 at the Weinstein Center. Participants who remain within three pounds of their pre-holiday weight will earn prizes.

“It’s really just to have people think about being active over the holidays,” Heather Sadowski, assistant director of wellness, said. “We really just wanted this to be a fun challenge.”

Throughout the challenge, participants will receive emails every Monday that contain a motivational quote and tips about healthy living including hydration, eating at holiday parties and exercising.

Tracy Akers, president of the University of Richmond Images club, said she thought the challenge might lead some people “astray.” The Images club promotes positive body image and self-confidence. 

“[The challenge] might give people the wrong idea of what the standard is of being healthy,” she said. “Everyone has something specific that they need to be healthy.”

Akers said she thought the challenge was “planting something in the minds of people who aren’t even doing [the challenge],” as it might cause them to presume that losing weight is the best and only way to make a difference in their health.

Kate Pawlukiewicz, who was in charge of organizing Delta Delta Delta’s Fat Talk Free Week this past October, shared her thoughts about weight change. “If people are putting on muscle, that is going to cause them to gain weight, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For some people, gaining weight isn’t a negative thing,” she said.

Throughout Fat Talk Free week, students were encouraged to reflect positively on their own body image.

“There are a lot of people who look around them and either look down on themselves or other people because they don’t feel that they’re in the place that they need to be,” Akers said. “People really limit themselves to what they think is beautiful.”

“I’m just hopeful that [the week] passed the idea that body image is all about being healthy and doing what’s right for you,” Pawlukiewicz said.

Sadowski said she hoped this challenge would accomplish wholesome lifestyles.

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“Whatever we can do to provide healthy activities is great for the campus community,” Sadowski said.

Contact News Editor Alyssa Gunville at alyssa.gunville@richmond.edu

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