The Every Body Is Beautiful Project

Why I Became a Student Warrior for Change

Recovery, CommunityOphelia's Place1 Comment

Lindsey Trimarchi, Student Warrior
Syracuse University May 2018 Graduate, B.S. in Biology
Columbia Institute of Human Nutrition Fall 2018, M.S. in Human Nutrition Science.

The Student Warrior program is a learning experience hosted by our cause, Ophelia’s Place, aimed at empowering scholars of all ages who have a shared passion and heart for those struggling with eating disorders, disordered eating, and body dissatisfaction.

The program is designed for students requesting an internship experience, working on a class project or senior thesis, or interested in volunteering.

Interested in learning more about the program? Contact Jill at jill@opheliasplace.org.


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WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A STUDENT WARRIOR?

I was inspired to become a student warrior from my own struggle with body dysmorphia and body dissatisfaction, as well as the similar feelings I witnessed in the beautiful women surrounding me.

I suffered from an eating disorder as a sophomore in college. It stemmed from insecurities and anxiety I dealt with my entire life.

When I entered college, all of these feelings were magnified by constantly comparing myself to the girls around me. I always wanted to look like someone else and never felt enough.

I struggled with symptoms for about a year before realizing that it needed to end. I was lucky to reach this point of self-recognition and find support in those around me. My own battle with my body and seeing this same struggle in females and males all around me inspired me to join Circles of Change and try to change the conversation around beauty, bodies, and health.

WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR INTERESTS IN THIS FIELD?

By going through the student warrior program, I was exposed to a large amount of people who have all either gone through some sort of body dysmorphia struggle themselves or witnessed this in others.

This program really forced me to face my body dysmorphia head on and fight it back.

The more I spread words of body positivity and self-love to those around me, the more I began to feel it spread into my own life.

Speaking, even in casual conversation, about Ophelia’s Place and Circles of Change helped me to begin to heal.

Although body dissatisfaction is a constant battle that I don’t know if I will ever be fully past, I have learned how to speak about my personal experiences more comfortably.

This program also allowed me to discover my passion in helping others beyond healthcare. It provided me with an outlet to give advice on a healthy and positive lifestyle to those in my community.

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HOW DO YOU THINK WE CAN CHANGE THE CONVERSATIONS OUR CULTURE HAS AROUND HEALTH/BEAUTY/BODIES?

I honestly think that the biggest challenge we face when it comes to trying to promote body positivity and healthy habits is social media.

Social media, itself, isn’t malicious and even the most positive posts have effects on others far beyond what we realize when we post them.

When I struggled with bulimia, I followed countless numbers of weight-loss Instagram accounts that featured hundreds of photos of skinny girls. They promote the idea in adolescents that this is what their body should look like. They make us believe that this is the only image of beauty.

I think in order to change the way we think about our bodies and beauty we need to recognize that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and sexes, and that every body is beautiful.

WHAT IS ONE NUGGET OF TRUTH YOU CAN LEAVE WITH US?

The lesson that took me the longest to learn was that the number on my scale means nothing. My best advice is to get rid of your scale.

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND OTHER COLLEGE STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM AND WHY?

I absolutely would.

The program helped me to gain a deeper understanding of myself. It opened me up to a community that is deeply rooted in support, love, and passion for the people who allow it into their life.

IN THE SPIRIT OF WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH, WHO HAS INSPIRED YOU AND WHY?

I find inspiration in all the women around me and for different reasons.

My two best friends, Ronit Davis and Sarah Kinzler, have been my biggest support system over the past year of extreme growth for me. They inspire me everyday with their fire for life and the confidence in me even on the days I lack it in myself.

My mother and sisters inspire me with their deep-rooted love and support for me. They are my mirrors; constant reminders to me of the internal and external beauty that I have grown up in awe of.

Jill Catherine, our fearless Lead Warrior, inspired me the second I met her. I look to the words in her book, A New Body Consciousness, when I feel lost and weak.

Most recently, I have been inspired by the team at Breathe Yoga. Practicing Yoga has brought so much more than I ever imagined into my life. It has brought a spirituality that I have never felt before and I cannot thank them enough for that.

We are currently working on a collaboration between Ophelia’s Place and Breathe Life Yoga in order to extend this practice into the lives of others within the community. 

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LINDSEY TRIMARCHI

STUDENT WARRIOR FOR CHANGE