Jenni Schaefer, author, singer and songwriter and ambassador for the National Eating Disorder Association, will share her struggle with anorexia and bulimia on Wednesday, Feb. 23.
Schaefer’s speech is the keynote address for Body Appreciation Week at the College, which runs from Feb. 21-25.
Titled “Goodbye Ed, Hello Me® — Recover From Your Eating Disorder and Fall in Love with Life,” the presentation will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Corey Union Function Room.
Schaefer’s talk is part of the Spring 2011 semester “Wellness Wednesday Series” featuring speakers, exhibits, self-help workshops and other programs intended to encourage campus and community members to explore new topics around the theme “Wellness for Life.” Topics range from opening a dialogue on building a multicultural community and recovering from struggles with food and body image to enhancing life with Zumba and exploring spirituality.
Sponsored by the Health Promotion Office and the Student Development Center, the series will take place each Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, unless otherwise noted. The events are free and open to the public.
Also during Body Appreciation Week, with the president’s approval the campus will once again sponsor the “Love Your Genes” initiative for faculty and staff. By donating $1 per day next week in collection envelopes placed in offices by health promotion interns, College employees will be entitled to don buttons and stickers while wearing jeans and dress down. All proceeds will support the Body Appreciation Week Programs.
Schaefer’s presentation will use poetry and humor, from intimate thoughts in her personal journals about her eating disorder to the ultimate freedom she experiences today.
“Find the hope, inspiration and belief that you and your loved ones can recover from struggles with food and body image and move on to live life to the fullest,” Schaefer said.
With her latest book, Goodbye Ed, Hello Me: Recover from Your Eating Disorder and Fall in Love with Life (McGraw-Hill), Schaefer takes readers a giant step further on her journey and theirs, outlining the path from recovery to liberation.
“It’s not just about food and weight,” she says. “I’m here to help people to fall in love with life.”
Born in Texas, she recalls feeling she wasn’t thin enough at the age of 4, when she began to study dance. To this day, she carries her dance costume to some speaking engagements. As she grew up, she says, “I fought for a long time not to look like a woman,” restricting food as a teenager in order to keep “a little girl’s body.”
Her unrelenting perfectionism made college a particularly rough time. Although she graduated summa cum laude from Texas A & M University with a B.S. in biochemistry, she took a year off after being accepted into medical school, realizing that because of her eating behaviors she would not be able to take on its challenges.
She moved to Nashville, where the isolation enabled her illness to progress to “a new level. I hid it from everybody until one day I told my boyfriend and got help.” That began a long, slow recovery that changed her life.
Living in Austin, Texas, Schaefer is a contributing editor to self-help/recovery publications nationwide including Recovery Today, The Phoenix and Steps for Recovery.
Her 2004 book, Life Without ED: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too, garnered national attention. That led to an opportunity to be a contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Recovering Soul (2005) and Chicken Soup for the Recovering Soul: Daily Inspirations (2006).
Schaefer has appeared on radio and national television programs, including “Dr. Phil” and “Entertainment Tonight.” Her work has been published in the Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Times, The Washington Post, Woman’s World, CosmoGIRL! and Publisher’s Weekly.
For more information about the talk, visit Schaefer’s website at www.jennischaefer.com.
For more information about Body Appreciation Week, Wellness Wednesdays, or accommodation to attend an event, contact Catherine Smith, the College’s health educator, in the Health Promotion Office, Van Hoesen Hall, Room B-1, or at (607) 753-2066.