Brittany Rouille remembers walking out of the Student Health Care Center in tears when she was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa more than two years ago.
The concerned pleas of her mother and friends saved her, Rouille said.
Rouille, an advertising senior, was one of two UF students who spoke about battling eating disorders to a crowd of about 30 on Thursday afternoon at 9 Minutes of Nakedness, an event hosted by the Student Health Care Center for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
Heather Marees, a nutrition and eating disorder outreach assistant for GatorWell, said the event promoted natural beauty by taking a stand against unrealistic body image standards.
GatorWell handed out T-shirts at the event with the number nine on the back of them.
“It’s nine because nobody’s a perfect 10,” Marees said.
From 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., students stopped at the Reitz Union Colonnade to look at a bulletin board with photo manipulations from magazine ads and facts about eating disorders.
Nicole Crouse, an exercise physiology sophomore, said that even though she didn’t know anyone with an eating disorder, the message of the event was clear.
“If you can be healthy and be yourself, it’s the best thing you can do,” Crouse said.
GatorWell employees also passed out sticky notes to students and encouraged them to write about overcoming body image issues.
Behind the bulletin board with the notes was a stage where Rouille shared a poem that she had written after her recovery in an Arizona facility.
“I saw this girl the other day,” Rouille read. “I saw her, and I saw myself.”
Rouille said she wrote the poem for the girls who she knows have eating disorders on campus, the ones she wishes she could help.
“I can tell in the arms and the faces. There’s such an empty look to them,” she said.
Journalism senior Mead Bowen came to the stage after Rouille to talk about his battle with body image, which followed him from middle school to his first year of college.
After Rouille and Bowen spoke, UF RecSport’s Group Fitness Demonstration Team performed Zumba, kickboxing and yoga demonstrations.