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Thursday, 19 April 2012

Poorly Pics And B-Eat: The Truth Might Set You Free.

There is a movement to persuade the TV and the poular press to stop using "poorly pictures" of people with anorexia. Even I was gently chided by my colleague Susan Ringwood at B-Eat for appearing on a TV programme with an anorexic male alongside some photos of him when he was at his lowest weight. The pictures are usually quite shocking and show people in a very ill and skeletal state. If they didn't catch the eye, why then print them? Clearly there are some very thin people around who dont have anorexia and no-one says much about them. So what is this fuss all about?

Perhaps such pictures are deemed to add to the stigma of the illness. The public often regards people with eating disorders as vain, self obsessed and attention seeking.  If only they would just get a life and eat something. But, would it be more helpful to regard a person with anorexia as mentally ill or temporarily insane; that is hardly better either.

Then, might such pictures do harm by encouraging some vulnerable people to start losing weight too? I don't think so, nooooo. Perhaps you disagree?

Does this paint the wrong picture (to use a pun) of the typical anorexic?  Many are not very thin but the ones we worry about are very thin indeed. Anorexia is a starving, restricting illness whether we couch the restriction as a quest for health, control or purity or whatever justification comes to mind.

Some severely ill people are so thin that they scare the life out of us, drive parents insane with worry and hide their emaciation as best they can from others. And some are so fiercely proud of their emaciation that no one dares to talk about it. Carers and loved ones stand mute and silent for fear of bringing forth anorexic aggression. This IS what anorexia does to perfect souls.

So why not show it as it is? In all its skinny, wasted and emaciated glory. The truth may set you free.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

On Orthorexia

From someone’s diary before treatment.

“Everyone around me from the employees or the customers who spent hundreds of dollars on nutritional supplements and organic goods believed that eating in this way represented a healthy lifestyle which then would ensure a healthy outlook on life, There was a sense in that environment that the outside world was toxic and contaminated and that by controlling what we put in our mouths and on our bodies we could cleanse ourselves internally and spiritually".

Result: bizarre special diets, food allergies, food sensitivities, raw diets, low fat diets, low carb. diets, weight loss diets, intestinal cleaning and detoxing, vegetarian and vegan diets, food phobias and compulsive food rituals.

Will you really live longer, be healthier, be happier, be an inspiration to others, love, go to heaven? Is this really being in control?