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Sunday, 24 February 2013

Two Die From Dieting

Laura Willmot dies from anorexic collapse one week after being sent home by her doctors.
In another world, a millionaire's ex wife freezes to death in her car after her wine binge. In a barely noticed throwaway remark, her husband noted that "we ate separately, she was always on one sort of diet or another". Living these separate lives, the couple drift apart. Had they remained together, she would not have met her lonely end in the cold.

Maybe I'm stretching a point about the untimely death of Nicole Falkingham - but no-one has ever looked at the effect that constant dieting has on marital bliss. But from where I am sitting, I can see the toll that is taken by diets, nutritional quirks, men and women chasing hours at the gym in the pursuit of a perfect body and partners left alone at home while one or the other pounds the streets.

Two wasted lives. 1 in 5 people with anorexia are going to die sooner or later. And countless others are going to meet their end directly or indirectly through the need to be thin.

India Knight has written in the Sunday Times of her frustration sitting  in group therapy sessions listening to people wittering on about their stuggles with food and weight, psycho-babbling about things that may not really be going to help. I also sat in at one session at a very famous Addiction place listening in growing frustration as the therapist did not intervene in what I felt was a swirl of very toxic talk.

Anorexia is one special illness in which I feel the right of confidentilaity should be suspended. I know that many of you will disagree with me. Please check out more of my thoughts and questions about the death of Laura on http://eating-disorders.org.uk/two-die-from-dieting/

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Fatty! You're Fat! Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat!

So says Giles Coren writing in last week's Sunday Times. He feels rather pleased that obesity is now associated with the middle classes. This is based on some research carried out at Leeds Metropolitan University. (Perhaps , he suggests, this is because the poor have been eating low fat low cholesterol meals in the form of all that horse).

He claims that he has been victimised for his anti-obesity stance from left wing liberals who have interpreted his opinions as thinly veiled class snobbery.

The term "Middle Class" used to be used pejoratively, according to Coren, so he suggests that we should now assign the word "fat" to everything we hate. This is because we are no longer in danger of meaning poor people when we use the word"fat".

So why are the Middle Classes now gaining weight. Clearly we can't blame ignorance or bad food any more. Coren blames obesity in part on a failure of moral guidance at a national, non-economically mediated level, propelling us to consume far more of the worlds precious resources than we deserve. Perhaps he is right. When I go into our local cinema I look at all the junk for sale, I ask myself do we really need all this?

On the opposite page in the same paper, Janice Turner writes about our obsession with the appearance of Michael Gove and Teresa May, the Home Secretary, who has just efforfully lost some weight. Why make comment on how they look? Their looks say nothing about their capacity to do their work, which is far more important. Her view is that the tyranny of looks is damaging public life, weakening debate and making poor, disrespectful satire.

At the same time,the erstwhile head of the All Party Parliamentary Body Image group (Caroline Nokes) described the conservative politician Eric Pickles as a jolly fat man. Now that's not right is it, surely she should know better.

So here we have two top rate journalists coming together in a perfect storm about how we should think about people who don't appear normal (weight wise at least). Isnt that soooooo .... fat!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Where is Suzanne?

Suzanne who wrote a comment, its taken me a month to read it but I am hoping that you will see my reply....

The Theft Of Perfect Souls: Facebook?

Today I was reading about how girls as young as 11, 12 and 13 are persecuted on Facebook and Instagram etc to perform sexual acts.

They may be encouraged to self harm on camera, they are threatened if they don't do what they are told and they are slagged off if they dont obey.

They can be called slut,s slags and whores. The perpetrators of such horrible abuse can be the boy next door, or the classmate in school or the chap she thinks has been her friend, perhaps someone she played with when she was younger.

We now know that there is a link between the onset of eating disorders and this dreadful behaviour from which they can't escape.

I've already written more about this on our BRAND NEW WEBSITE (hurray!) Please check out what I have said at www.eating-disorders.org.uk  - the blog links are on our home page.

Dignity and self respect carry a young woman through the tumult of adolescence and protect her from substance abuse and eating distress. How are we going to protect our children from this filth?

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Avoiding the Big Six To Cure Or Prevent A Weight Problem?

At a recent eating disorders conference on emotional eating, Prof Haslam who is chairman of the National Obesity Forum has stated as follows:

“My advice for avoiding obesity? Stay away from the Big Six: pasta, rice, bread, sugar, potatoes and flour.”

One of the delegates is quoted as saying "Surely humans have been eating bread, potatoes and grains for many centuries – is it really the fault of the humble carb? What he explains is illuminating: that refined carbohydrates and sugars are present in ever-higher quantities in our diets, but they’re hidden. Crisps or pizza or fizzy drinks, for example, are classified as high-fat or high-sugar items, when in fact they’re loaded with carbohydrates. "

Is that so?  There are millions of people who remain reasonably slim who try one way or another to negotiate a clearly obesogenic society. We all live in central heating and this has been implicated in obesity. We sit down a lot and that is implicated (whether or not we try to compensate by going for a morning run). We are upsizing and downsizing and that is implicated too. Don't get me started on the causes of obesity, I could write a book.

So is the problem the hidden sugars in food? Yes, but only if you eat the foods with "hidden sugars" to excess - not by eating the humble carb.  Is there danger in such categorical opinions. (Has he been hi-jacked by the Dukan brigade?)

I weigh about 7 1/2 stones and my diet is largely based around the humble carb. I daily eat bread, slightly undercooked pasta with vegetables (another carb). I eat rice, couscous, barley, honey on my porridge, potatoes with and without skins and a bit of flour here and there for fun. I am highly trained in how the body works and I know that you need a good supply of carbs from many dietary sources. I have many people who recover from obesity while continuing to eat the humble carb.  Prof Haslam you are a doctor too, so where is this nonsense coming from. Recant!

Its really easy with a little knowledge and wisdom to avoid "hidden sugars" and high fructose corn syrups while continuing to embrace the lowly carb. in all its wondrous glory, with the fibre that helps us to maintain a healthy digestion and with the resistant starches that support the flora in our gut.  That reduces obesity too by the way.

I am uneasy about statements such as the one above which fosters fears about food, all or nothing thinking, good and bad food mentality etc which fosters obesity and leads to disordered eating. A professional needs to be careful about opinions? Without qualification?