Category Archives: Other

Polly’s Eating Disorder Recovery Story

When I heard Polly’s eating disorder recover story I knew I had to share it. Working in the field of eating disorders can be frankly hard work. It is a long road to recovery and a battle. It takes dedication, support from others and challenging yourself at every meal time. However it is possibly and it is worth it. I hope sharing this inspires others. 

“It took 10 years for me to finally ‘come out’ and be open about my Eating Disorder. But now I’ve come to realise that in being open I can help others, never will I keep quiet again. I hope that by sharing my story I can help you, or someone you know who is struggling, and show you that recovery is possible.

Why was I silent for so long? I didn’t think anyone would think negatively of me. At age 33 all my peers are open and mature enough not to judge in such belittling ways. Perhaps it was that people wouldn’t take me seriously as a health professional – I’m a Personal Trainer & Nutritionist who helps Mums get in shape. Ironic? Not really. Because needing to lose weight or gain weight often come from the same root psychological cause. I think a lot of it was that I just wanted to forget that horrible time in my life, sweep it under the carpet. But in doing that I’m not able to help and inspire others. The can of worms had to be opened. 

They say that to develop an eating disorder you need to have the right genetics (science shows there’s a link), the right personality (typically perfectionistic and with high personal standards – me to a T), and an immediate trigger or stress at the time of developing the disorder.

I first felt fat age 8. My Dad got remarried and family life was changing. Not in a bad way, but a lot for a young child to process. I first made myself sick age 12 at boarding school. I was bullied, not for being ‘not skinny’ (I wasn’t fat), yet somehow I figured being thin was the answer. But the problem never really took off until, at age 17 at dance school (i.e. where we spent all day in a leotard being judged on how good we’d look on TV), and my then boyfriend was sent to prison. I was also living alone in London and had struggled to fit in at the college. On a subconscious level, all would be well if I lost 3 kilos. Then I would be happy. Reading this back, how silly does that sound now?

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I only ever meant to take the laxatives (half a box of them) once, just to ‘erase’ Christmas day. Each day I would swear on ‘no more Yule log’ and it was salad from now on. I never binged, but every time I ate something ‘non-diet’, I took more pills. Or vomited. Or did an extra 4 hours exercise (it was the holidays, I had time). Or all of the above. Nobody knew. I was way too ashamed to tell anyone.

It was only when this cycle started to impact my daily life about 6 weeks later – skipping classes to make myself sick, blocking up the loo in my flat, not being able to think about anything else but my fat thighs and pathetic self-will, that I switched to a new tactic – restriction. 

It started innocently enough – cutting out fat, then bread, meat……until I was probably living off about 500 calories a day of primarily vegetables, and my condition was noticed, I was removed from dance school, and put under the care of an outpatient clinic. 

And herein began six years of treatment that I resisted as much as I could. Meal plans, counselling, CBT, supervised meals, meals in tubs to take home to eat, and three times I was hospitalised at a dangerously low weight. Nothing worked. 

Why was I so resistant? To say I was miserable doesn’t cut close. If there is a Hell, I have been there. I was also diagnosed with extreme clinical depression unresponsive to medication, borderline OCD, showing bipolar ‘tendencies’ and one therapist suspected I had Borderline Personality Disorder, which some say is what Amy Winehouse had before she died. I self-harmed, and I attempted suicide twice. 

But my eating disorder kept me safe. By this time it was a way of life, it was my identity, and in some distorted way it made me feel special. This is what it comes down to in the end – I never felt special. I felt like a worthless waste of space, yet ironically struggling with this eating disorder only reinforced how much of a waste I was. After all I was putting my family through so much stress and worry. None of it makes sense, but I guess that’s why mental illnesses are so hard to recover from.

So how is it that I can be here today, happier than I have even been in my life, married with two children, and helping other women learn how to treat their body well?

I often get asked what made me finally recover. Honestly? I don’t know. I remember being in a pub garden one summer with a couple of friends, fresh out of another hospital admission and going downhill already. One companion announced she was getting married, the other that she was pregnant. Suddenly for the first time since I developed anorexia, I felt lonely. The eating disorder had been my only friend who stuck by me, yet this ‘friend’ was turning against me. Everyone was growing up, creating careers, moving on with their life. I was stuck in this child like state, being left behind. If there’s one dream I had all my life even throughout the illness, it was to have children. A little girl I could bring up as my little princess. That was not going to happen if I carried on. I was at that time infertile and no man in their right mind would be attracted to an emaciated mess. 

It was like I woke up, or a lightbulb went off, or something switched in my brain. I didn’t want this illness in my life anymore. This time I really didn’t want it.

That’s not to say it came easy. Anorexia is like having a little devil on your shoulder, dictating what you should and should not eat, telling you how pathetic you are if you give in and eat. I’m not going to lie – those voices are still there every day, even 10 years on. But there’s a difference. Now, I shout back louder. 

It’s a fight, every day. I know people who seem to have completely recovered and they think the same way about food and their body as any ‘normal’ person. I may get to that place, I may not. But I’m happy, I’m healthy, and I will keep on winning this fight. 

I’m not a counsellor or psychologist, but I have been there, I do understand. So if anyone wanted to reach out and chat, ask advice, or hopefully to tell me they’ve been inspired to keep fighting, I’m only an email or social media contact away. If I can help just one person, that can of worms was definitely worth opening. ”

 

Pollyanna Hale helps Mums lose weight and get their body confidence back via online coaching with www.thefitmumformula.com/. A qualified Personal Trainer, Polly knows from personal experience and though helping hundreds of women that there is more to having a healthy body than just following some cookie cutter meal plan. Long term success comes from learning to love yourself and your body and treating it with the respect it deserves. It doesn’t matter if you’re overweight or underweight, or somewhere in between. The weight is just a symptom. Everyone deserves to feel special. 

 

Nominated for “The Drinks Cellar Food & Drink Blogger Awards 2016”

It is always nice to open up your emails and find you have been nominated for an award! I’m delighted to be on the shortlist for the Drinks cellar food and drink blogger awards 2016. 

Over the last month, online retailer The Drinks Cellar and world-renowned winemakers Luc Belaire have been on a relentless search to find the best food and drink blogs on the web. They have seen fit to include Dietitian UK in their list!

From July 4th you will be able to vote for me, so I will be asking for your support. Prizes include Luc Belaire French sparkling wine, so if you are local I may be able to invite you to a party 😉

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Priya, Finalist for Influential Woman of the Year 2016

Women in business. Alway something I like to support, shout about and get behind. This time I’m the one in the limelight. This week I found out I am one of 3 finalists for the Southampton Venus Awards “Influential Women of the Year Award” 2016.

Priya Tew 2016 Venus Awards Finalist

 

Pretty amazing huh. Well I was shocked anyway.

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I had an interview with the sponsors of the category a few weeks ago and I can honestly say it was a delight. The people from Peter Cooper Motor Group who chatted to me seemed genuinely interested in our businesses and also in the person (me) behind it all. I came away quite uplifted.

Almost as amazing was the fact I found out at a posh afternoon tea event at Botleigh Grange Hotel and they provided me with a decent wheat free version. I’ll be honest I was expected not to be able to eat anything…  but then there arrived a platter of goodies just for me, that’s the way to a pregnant girls heart.

I love the fact we have local Awards that celebrate Women in Business. It can be a lonely place to be, so these awards are a chance to celebrate what people do, to meet and network and to have a glam night out too. Now someone just needs to find a dress to fit me at 35 weeks pregnant! 

The big Awards Ceremony is on Friday 15th April. 

I will be the one with the large bump, holding the baby in. Come say Hi 🙂

The Venus Awards were set up in Dorset in 2009 by Tara Howard to recognise the hard work, effort and skill it takes women to successfully juggle business with other commitments. The Awards have since been expanded to Southampton, Brighton, Devon, Oxford, Portsmouth, Birmingham, Isle of Wight and Bristol. Distributed on behalf of Venus Awards – www.venusawards.co.uk

 

Why dietitians need to be on Social Media.

This week I gave a talk on social media to a group of dietitians as part of the South East Branch Meeting of the British Dietetic Association. Rather nerve wracking but they were a lovely crowd and it went down really well 🙂 

Here is a photo someone took of me and posted on Instagram. Thankyou to Tash Guildford (@NGuildford82 on Instagram).

Thanks to Tash Guildford for the photo (@NGuildford82 on Instagram).
Thanks to Tash Guildford for the photo (@NGuildford82 on Instagram).

What it really highlighted to me was the lack of expertise we have in the profession in this area. Which is understandable as it’s not exactly what we were trained in! However in this world of technology when everyone has a smart phone and listens to the info on the internet we need to be have a presence. A good presence. A loud presence. A big presence. 

If as dietitians and trained nutritionists we think we are the people that the public should be seeking out for their nutritional knowledge then we need to be visible and easy to find. Otherwise there are plenty of others out there giving nutrition advice. Not all good, evidenced based, sensible advice either. 

Top tips:
1. Find a platform you like best. Set up an account and watch what others post/do. I like twitter the best. I get business through Twitter, I learn through it, I network with other professionals on it. That’s just my preference however.
2. Follow other nutrition professionals and follow who they follow! Start asking questions and interacting. 
3. Post interesting content. Things your patients ask you. Research papers you have read. Websites you like. Good fact sheets. 
4. Share other people’s good content. It makes them feel that what they are doing is worthwhile and it stops you reinventing the wheel. 
5. Find out your departments social media policy and look at starting a department account that several people can post and run. 
6. Don’t get drawn into arguments. It is quite easy to do! Either step back and ignore those types of comments or take it off line. 
7. If you are unsure about anything then ask! There are lots of more experienced dietitians on social media who will help. I chatted to some of the U.S. Dietitians in the early days to get tips on how they do
things and they were delighted to help me. 
8. Join in Twitter chats and network with others. Don’t sit there silently, just watching. Come and “join the conversation” (twitters tag line).
9. Be yourself. I share some personal info on my social media. It helps people see a bit about who I am and how I work. But don’t over share and be careful what you share. In our house we have some rules about what we post about the children for example.
10. Check out the BDA and HCPC’s social media policy and your local departments too. 

If you aren’t following me on social media then go and do it!! Then get chatting to me 🙂 

Beetroot, Courgette and Cheddar Pesto Pinwheels.

I love a bargain and I love using up leftovers. This recipes combines both! Using some puff pastry I found reduced to 16p and the veggies that were in need of being eaten quick. This was a bit of a gamble as I haven’t cooked a whole heap with beetroot but the sweetness of the beetroot really works and it gives these a beautiful colour.

Beetroot is packed with the phytonutrients: Betalain, a good antioxidant, this gives them their red colour.  They also contain a good amount of folate, manganese and potassium plus provide fibre. 

Although puff pastry isn’t something I would recommend people eat everyday, this recipe is packed with veggies and makes a good alternative for lunches. 

 

Dietitian UK: Beetroot, courgette and cheddar pesto  pinwheels

Beetroot, courgette and cheddar pesto pinwheels.
Yields 10
Quick to make, easy for luncboxes.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
55 calories
2 g
8 g
4 g
3 g
2 g
47 g
65 g
2 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
47g
Yields
10
Amount Per Serving
Calories 55
Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
6%
Saturated Fat 2g
9%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 8mg
3%
Sodium 65mg
3%
Total Carbohydrates 2g
1%
Dietary Fiber 1g
3%
Sugars 2g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
3%
Vitamin C
7%
Calcium
6%
Iron
2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 roll of prebought puff pastry
  2. 1 tbsp tomato puree
  3. 1 tbsp pesto
  4. 2 grated beetroot
  5. 1 medium grated courgette
  6. 80g grated cheddar
Instructions
  1. Let the puff pastry defrost enough to be unrolled.
  2. Spread on the tomato puree and pesto, mixing them together as you spread.
  3. Grated over the beetroot and courgette making sure the whole sheet of pastry is covered.
  4. Grate the cheese on top. Just a thin layer is fine.
  5. Roll up.
  6. Slice into 10-12 pieces and place on a lined baking tray.
  7. Bake at Gas Mark 7 for 20 minutes,
beta
calories
55
fat
4g
protein
3g
carbs
2g
more
Dietitian UK http://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/

Dietitians’ Week: A snapshot of my life as a dietitian.

This week 8th-12th June is officially DIETITIANS WEEK. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean a week off for us hard-working dietitian’s. Maybe I should suggest that! Instead many departments and dietitians around the UK are taking the opportunity to work even harder and put on special events to celebrate and highlight dietitians. There are also twitter chats happening and receptions at places like the House of Lords!

To celebrate I thought I would share a snapshot of how I work as a dietitian. I’m a freelance dietitian, so there is no big department for me, instead I work either on my own from the delights of my loft… or as part of a team of therapists and health professionals. A large amount of my work is supporting clients with eating disorders, either face to face or via Skype. I also enjoy getting involved with media work and project work. I love the variety my work brings me.

I work around my 2 small children, which means I can tend to work odd hours. Plus I also run a Pilates business with my husband. That’s currently 24 classes run from our studio. Life can get a bit hectic!

Dietitian UK: Dietitians Week 2015

My job role:

1. Eating Disorder Clients. I tend to have 6-8 clients a week. These are via Skype or I see people at Wings Counselling where I work as part of a team of therapists and a psychiatrist. These clients can take up quite a lot of me time as once I have chatted to them there can be meal plans to adjust, phone calls to liase with the GP and often I am in daily email contact with the client.

2. Chronic Fatigue Clients. This is a smaller part of my role and I have 1-2 clients on my books at present. Again here I work as part of a team that includes a physio, several Occupational Therapists and some nurses. This involves home visits and phone calls. I also advise the team on the rest of the client base.

3. Other issues. I also see a few clients each month for other conditions such as IBS, weaning and food intolerances. I have to be careful how much I take on so am quite specific about the areas I work in.

4. Media calls. These can vary but I usually do at least 2 a week. Sometimes I find I am doing these daily and then other weeks I only do a couple a week. I give quotes for the press, for websites and for magazines, chat to television producers, go on the radio and sometimes appear on the screen too.

5. Project Work is something I enjoy as it gives me the chance to get my teeth into something and run with it. Whether it is recipe analysis, writing text, advising a food company or making a video I tend to enjoy all the work I do. Maybe it is the chance to sit down and have a moments peace from the children 😉

6. Social Media. Now I’m no social media expert, it is something I’ve fallen into, but also something I’m now addicted to. I see the benefits to myself, to the profession and I enjoy it most of the time. Blogging, networking, tweeting, making videos, posting pictures and coming up with new ways to get messages across. I’ve taken part in Google Hangouts on nutrition and in live twitter chats. My latest venture is playing with Periscope. Go check it out.

So no hospitals and white coats for me. Being a dietitian is diverse. The world is your oyster. Go grab it.

 Dietitian UK: Trust a Dietitian

 

 

Winner of the British Dietetic Association Media Spokesperson of the Year Award 2015.

I’m still slightly in shock. 

However I have a trophy and certificate to prove it.

BDA Conference and Dinner 2015: winner of the media spokesperson of the year award, Dietitian UK

BDA Conference and Dinner 2015: receiving my award, Dietitian UK

This week I travelled up to Birmingham for the British Dietetic Associations Annual Awards Dinner. This was a great opportunity to network, meet lots of people who I’ve heard of, seen in the past or chatted to on social media… and also to get a little dressed up. 

The British Dietetic Association is my professional body. To receive an award from them is something I would never have dreamt of and is a complete honour. So I was pretty astounded when I received a call asking me to come up to Birmingham for the evening. My first reply was I wasn’t sure with 2 small children that I could make it. However on being told I had won an award I realised I needed to go. So we went up as a family. Why travel alone when you can take a 1 and 4 year old too.

I respond to a lot of Media requests. Personally I see it as part of my working week and my role. As dietitian’s part of our remit is to educate the public and pass on our knowledge. One way of doing that is through the Media. Making sure the right messages get out there and also ensuring that the name “dietitian” is one that is widely seen by the public and widely used by the media. So if I can help out I will. The vast majority of these media requests are unpaid work, they take time and thought but they do gain you some exposure in a variety of places.  I’ve been quoted in the Independent and the Times, lesser well-known industry magazines, the BBC News Website and other lesser read health websites. In fact I often don’t know where and when I am quoted until people tell me! I think my all time favourite media quote has to be talking about Madonna’s bottom, closely followed by Victoria Beckham’s face. Yes really.

If you are a dietitian I would highly recommend you get involved with media requests. Get to know your local press and radio station. I’m a regular on our local BBC radio station. Get known as someone who is happy to help, you never know where it will lead you.

 

Good Friday Mess.

This Easter Miss K is 4. Already she is telling me that the Easter bunny will be coming with chocolate eggs – which is not something she has picked up from home… so today we took full advantage of our local churches and descended into the full on Mess of Messy Church.

Good Friday morning we went to Highfield church, which was quite literally full of children. A room filled with about 10 tables of activities to choose from. My hardest job was trying to keep an eye on the toddler boy who was running around as if he had never seen a huge room before… and trying to help Miss K do various crafts. We made an Easter card using Hama beads, we decorated a stone, we played with clay (Miss K made a caterpillar!), made a palm leaf and used biscuits to make a tomb. All very creative and Easter like, giving us a good talking point later on at home.

Dietitian UK: Good Friday Mess 2

The church service was well thought out for mums of small ones as it was full of stations to move around and journey through the Easter story, this gave us time to reflect as parents and time for me to explain a little of what was going on. Finally a lunch of pasta, tomato sauce, cheese and ham. Minus the veggies sadly, but mine had veggies as a snack later that day to make up for it 😉 This led to a messy J-boy. A wonderful event that I would certainly not have been able to recreate at home. 

Then later in the day we went to Citylife Church, a place where we frequent for playgroup and other groups. This meant I could let the boy off to run around a little more. In fact by the time I had taken off my coat he was sat at a table looking at decorating a cake! I distracted him with paint. Here we decorated Easter cakes, made daffodil Easter cards, made an Easter garden and my favourite – used shaving foam and paint to decorate a paper Easter egg.

Dietitian UK: Good Friday Mess

 

Dietitian UK: Good Friday Mess 3

This truly was “Messy” church. The service part was very suitable for my small ones and led to Miss K really grasping the Easter story through a video. My boy sat on my lap on the floor and simple pointed to the screen asking for “More”. Bless him.

Coming home tonight in the car Miss K tells me “Mummy it must have hurt Jesus’ hands to be nailed to a cross”. At 4 years old this girl speaks volumes.

Easter in our house does involve Chocolate but it’s more about remembering the man who gave his all for us.

Happy Easter.

Welcome 2015, resolve to relax.

2014 you were officially a whirlwind. With a baby, a preschooler and 2 businesses to run I had to cut maternity leave short and get right back into the craziness of working around my littlies. Trust me this is not recommended and leads to generalised chaos, very little sleep and a never ending to-do list. 

2014 you were also full of celebration and new things. I love hanging with my small ones, being around daily to watch them grown and develop is so amazing. One of my sayings is to “celebrate the small successes in life”.  The baby saying “Moo” and pointing to a cow, Miss K, aged 4 putting a fresh toilet roll on the holder for the first time (all by herself, with no prompting) when she finished the last of the old roll. Little things, but lovely to take a moment and celebrate.

2014 was a huge learning curve. I’ve learnt more about social media, business, Pilates, nutrition, motherhood, cooking, recipe development, mental health, IBS and myself. Good job I love to learn.

I love a new year. It’s like a fresh notebook, clean pages, endless stories to fill it in with. So 2015, I look forward to seeing what you bring.

I don’t really make resolutions…  but this year I’ve a few small ones:

Dietitian UK: 2015 Resolve to Relax

1. To relax more. I felt like I was working all the hours I possibly could towards the end of 2014, yet still not getting everything done. So I’m going at it from a more backwards approach and builing in more relaxation time. My key will be to make this structured relaxation time. So it is put in my diary as set work/relaxing time.

2. To book in some CPD courses. Now the baby boy is big enough to be left all day I am looking forward to getting stuck into some day courses. I’ve already booked one. Go me.

3. To be more selective about what work I take on… and what I work I turn down. This has always been a hard one for me, but now with so much going on I know I can’t do it all. 

4. To get away more. A break away from work always helps put life in perspective and gives us much needed family time, even for a night. So I’ve already booked some holiday time, something to really look forward to.

5. To see more of friends. Having lost a dear friend recently I want to make sure I treasure my friendships and invest in them.

Notice none of these are about diet or detoxing? You weren’t expected them to be were you?! #trustadietitian

 

Tea Pigs Review

It’s a well known fact that I love tea… the two teas I was sent to review from Tea Pigs are not my usual cuppa, so it was great to try something new. They have a great branding and the products just look good. I was sent:

Organic Matcha.

This is made from green tea leaves, ground into a powder. I was sent a lovely Teapigs shot glass with this – look how amazingly green it comes out.

Dietitian UK: Tea Pigs Matcha Green Tea Review

I found the powder didn’t dissolve in hot water as easily as I would have liked, so it took a bit of stirring and squishing out of lumps. Miss K (my 4 year old) was bemused by the whole process but wouldn’t try it 😉 I found the flavour as a shot not to my taste, but when made into a tall drink it was far more palatable. I personally found this to be more of a “health” tea than a tea you drink for the taste. 

Green tea is high in antioxidants, known to fight the effects of free radicals in the body  and contains caffeine, a stimulant. So this tea can help to give you a boost. The primary antioxidant is called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and it is this that is credited to most of the green tea benefits.  The research on green tea is mixed but there are possible links with green tea reducing the risks of certain cancers – breast, colorectal  and stomach. Green tea has been shown to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease and stroke and improve cognitive functioning in older adults.

Spiced Winter Red Tea. 

Now this tea smells like Christmas in a teabag. Literally, the smell is amazing. Think mulled wine, cloves, cinnamon, and orange hints. It is made on a base of redbush tea, which for me is a win, as I love redbush. I personally liked this tea served without milk – and having small children I found out that this tea is not only great hot, but also cold. I reckon it would make a good iced tea too. 

Dietitian UK: Tea Pigs

 Thankyou Teapigs, loving your work.

Disclaimer: I was asked to review this product and was sent the tea free. All opinions are my own.