“Diets Are a Disaster.”

heart shape by various vegetables and fruits - stock photo

Unusual dieting, eating disorders, and body image issues have been a factor in the lives of college students for many years. Strange diets seem to have become a fad in young people and some Chico State students would say they actually work. The counselors at Chico State have had hundreds of students come to them regarding body image issues and feeling insecure about their appearance. Although students may seem normal and healthy on the outside, many could be dealing with eating disorders and no one would ever notice. Media and celebrities contribute a lot to low self-esteem issues and crazy diets.

Dr. Stephanie Chervinko, Chico State counselor and resident expert on body image issues said that when students start dieting it is often related to issues including depression, anxiety, increased stress, and low self-esteem. A lot of these issues may develop at schools, such as stress from school work and self-esteem issues from seeing other students’ “perfect bodies.”

“Many people believe that changing their body will fix the other issues they have with themselves, and popular media and advertising really want us to believe this,” Chervinko said. “The reality is that everyone is human and we all have our ups, downs, and foibles. Conforming to a particular standard of beauty doesn’t change that.”

Students start diets for a short period of time and quickly become addicted to them without noticing it and eventually develop a problem. In a college environment such as Chico State, there is increased peer pressure to look thin. Due to the busy schedules of college students, many don’t have time to exercise or diet properly and often want the “quick and easy fix.” This fix may include crash dieting, excessive exercising and unusual methods of eating. In general, the three major factors for dieting and eating disorders are a person’s biology, environment, and psychology.

“Diets are a disaster,” said Marjorie Bommersbach, Chico State counselor. “They are a set up for eating disorders and do not work.”

Bommersbach said social messages and media play a big part in eating disorders and body image issues, but people have been anorexic pre the media era. It can be from feeling out of control, due to conflict in the family, or sexual trauma. These problems may often link with anxiety, obsessional thinking, and low self-esteem. This problem is very common at Chico State and in many college campuses across the country.

According to the Tripbase blog, unusual diets used today include, the baby food diet, the kangaroo meat diet, the “air” diet, the morning banana diet, and the fork diet. Most of these diets have become popular because celebrities used and promote them claiming that they work. Since students want to lose weight quickly, their own health and safety are rarely a concern when it comes to dieting,

“According to date from the Chico State Healthy Minds Study (2007), 28 percent of our students say that they feel fat even though others tell them they are too thin.” Bommersbach said. “Body image issues are a huge problem at Chico State. It goes on all the time.”

Dr. Devjani Banerjee-Stevens, Chico State counselor, also disagrees with the use of any type of diets. She said they tend to put foods into “good” and “bad” categories and eventually it becomes more tempting to eat “bad” foods.

“You’re more likely to enter the “cycle of shame” if you allow yourself to indulge.” Banerjee-Stevens said. “That is, you’re more likely to feel out of control when you do eat something “bad.” Not a good way to live.”

She also said body image issues can emerge and persist at any point during a person’s life. Most of the time puberty and young adulthood aren’t the most common times to develop an eating disorder, a person’s functioning or impact self-esteem.

“I’ve worked with clients for whom pregnancy, extreme weight loss/weight gain, or entering a sexual relationship can trigger body image concerns for the first time later in life,” said Dr. Banerjee Stevens. “I also have worked with clients in their 30s and 40s who continue to struggle with bulimia and anorexia, and body image issues often accompany these disorders. It’s also important to remember that both men and women can struggle with negative body images.”

Although many believe dieting is not a good approach to losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Dr Banerjee-Stevens is in favor of mindful eating and exercise. The Health at Every Size approach to eating/exercise is one she definitely endorses. [This approach can be found at http://www.haescommunity.org/index.php.%5D There is always a healthy way to monitor eating habits for a long lasting and satisfied life.

The counselors at the Chico State Counseling and Wellness center are extremely caring and supportive people. If anyone on campus feels that they have even the slightest problem with body image issues, self-esteem issues, or just want to express their feelings to someone then that is the place to go. The Counseling and Wellness center is located in the Student Services building on campus. Self-love is extremely important and everyone was made in different shapes and sizes. There is nothing wrong with living a healthy lifestyle and wanting to cut back on the sweets, but it should not become an obsession.

Stephanie Chervinko, Ph.D.

California State University, Chico

Counseling and Wellness

(530) 898-6345


Devjani (Juni) Banerjee-Stevens, Ph.D.

California State University, Chico

Counselor and Cal MHSA Program Manager

(530) 898-6345


Marjorie Bommersbach

California State University, Chico

Counseling and Wellness

(530) 898-6345



Representation Has Replaced Reality

Nightclub party clubbers with hands in air and red confetti - stock photo

Guy Debord has said that representation has replaced reality. The pop culture influence on Deltopia has been great since this social event in Santa Barbara, California began in 2004. Participants consist primarily of college students from all over California. It is an event that takes place during the weekend at the start of spring quarter where parties are thrown with djs and multiple events on the 6500 to 6600 blocks of Del Playa Drive. I had the opportunity to go to Isla Vista and see what all the talk was about a couple weekends ago.

Upon arriving on Friday night, my friends and I were eager to get the celebrations started. Along with friends, we checked into a small motel on State St. After finally getting to the famous Del Playa Drive, and after paying the pricy $40 cab fare, it was finally time to experience what some peers called, “the best weekend of their lives.” We were quickly greeted by crowds of people walking up and down the infamous street and also noticed a lot of law enforcement standing on the sides ensuring everyone was safe and taking care of the ones who were seeking assistance. The excitement came on Saturday when a reportedly 15,000 people were in attendance.

The pop culture was quickly noticed when arriving at approximately 11:30 a.m., hearing well-known songs such as “Heads Will Roll,” as heard in the popular party movie Project X,  at every other house, beer pong tables everywhere, hats with sayings such as “party with sluts” and “let’s get wasted,” and the typical bro tanks on almost every guy there. After partying for what seemed to be forever, I was instantly brought back to reality when seeing numerous guys and girls being assisted by the EMT from alcohol poisoning and numerous other issues involved in extreme partying environments.  At about 5 p.m., the “daygers” as they were referred to died down and people went home to prep for the night parties and events.

I was expecting it to be just like the night before, unfortunately I was completely wrong.  Project X, which came out in 2012, shows that after the major party that was thrown that there was a large riot in which intoxicated party goers participated and where cops attempted to control, the bomb squad and what seemed like the SWAT team was present, fires were engulfing cars and houses, and there were news helicopters hovering the out of control riot in attempt to get a good news story. Many people exclaimed they felt as if they were in that movie with what occurred Saturday night the weekend of Deltopia.

At around 11 p.m. after attending a few parties I heard someone yell, “a cop just got stabbed in the eye!” My friends and I quickly run towards what seemed to be a billion people in a crowd chanting “fuck the cops, fuck the cops!” Chants kept changing from “Ole Ole” to “USA,” while people were smashing car windows, starting mini fires, and ripping stop signs up from the concrete. The police were quick to control the scene, using tear gas, flash bombs, rubber bullets, and bringing in what looked like the bomb squad in massive trucks. I remember hearing multiple people saying they felt like they were in the movie Project X, with the multiple law enforcements, helicopters, and officers yelling at everyone to “stand down!” I believe they were highly influenced by the pop culture movie because in the movie all of the kids get away with no consequences, in this case over 100 people were arrested and over 40 were taken to the hospital; this was including the events during the day.

No deaths have been reported from the weekend or the riot. An officer did sustain a head injury when he was hit with a bag which appeared to have alcohol inside of it. The impact this riot had not only on the local people of Santa Barbara but around the country was great. It made it on Good Morning America and was a major wake up call for local UCSB students to potentially end this party packed weekend for good. There are still a lot of property damage to recover and the relationship with law enforcement to be healed but popular culture among students does have a great impact for thinking they could be more authoritative or have more power over police just because they see it in TV shows and/or films, which many learned the hard way is not the case.