Tag Archives: anorexia

Dear health bloggers, please be responsible.

Ok so a bit of a rant. However I am getting increasingly annoyed and saddened in my line of work  by the impact that so-called health bloggers are having. I am seeing a definite impact upon young girls who are either following these social media gurus or are hearing about their nutritional messages through other channels.  Sadly there is no regulation for these new nutrition types and yet with thousands of followers, their advice is wide reaching.

Restricting your dietary intake under hear-say or because someone else tried it out and it worked, or due to social media advising it really isn’t the way to go. 

Firstly it can lead to your diet becoming overly restricted and make it hard to find enough foods to eat.

Secondly it can leave you lacking essential nutrients. 

Thirdly this can spiral downwards leading to weight loss and disordered eating.

Some phrases I often hear are: 

“Carbohydrates are not good to be eating”

“Gluten is toxic”

“Dairy is full of fat and hormones”

“I only want to eat healthy fats”

So I spend a fair amount of my time with these clients, dispelling the myths and explaining the science. Some of these clients  I manage to catch early on, before things have gotten too far. For others though the damage has already started. What started as healthy eating has spiralled downwards into overly restricted eating. They are too scared to eat certain food groups and have continued to lose weight, taking their bodies into an unsafe area. Many of these clients then realise what has happened and actually become quite angry. Angry at the incorrect advice they have believed and the influence of the health instagrammers. Angry that they have been drawn into this culture. Angry that they now have many months of hard work ahead of them to turn things around. Angry at the impact on their minds and bodies.

Now I’m not saying that health bloggers are the reason for eating disorders. But I am saying that for some, the instagram health blogging world shows a world they want to be part of. The perfect body, the perfect diet, the perfect workout, the perfect food pictures. In my mind there is no perfect. At least not in this world. Instead we aim for balance with a healthy does of reality. However I am a 3o something year old, wife with 3 children. In my teens I too had issues with body image, I know I would have been easily influenced by the perfect diet and have followed the clean eating trend. Now with 2 daughters, I want to ensure they, and many others do not fall under this spell. 

health-bloggers-please-be-responsible

So, if you give nutrition advice, please spare a thought for how it could affect people. How it could be miscontrued. Think about whether it is correct, evidence based and sound.

How about we have the rise of the evidence based, trustable health bloggers? 

Please.

Mealtime Guidelines for Eating Disorder Sufferers.

 When you have an eating disorder or disordered eating it can lead to mealtimes becoming a stressful, hated time. For parents, carers, loved ones and friends it can become an anxious minefield. With everyone treading on eggshells, what should be a relaxing eating experience turns into an emotional melting pot.

I’ve spent a number of years eating more meals than I can count with people suffering from all types of eating disorders. In that time I’ve worked with hundreds of clients and listened to their stories of meal times, spent time finding ways to make eating more bearable and sat with them practising it. I’ve had food thrown at me, been shouted at and watched all kinds of odd food behaviours. I’m no stranger to tears at the table, tantrums and food mysteriously disappearing. I’d pretty much say I’ve seen it all and this means I know how hard it is for the sufferer and for the carer too. So here are my top tips for sufferers on making mealtimes easier.

Planning and Preparation.

Plan out in advance what is going to be eaten, don’t get caught out by the element of surprise. If you are preparing the food yourself then keep it simple as the act of preparing the food can put you off eating it.

Distraction is your Friend.

Find some good ways of distracting your mind from your food.

  1. Have someone sit with you and talk to you, but set boundaries such as not talking about food, diets and body image. Having a list of topics to discuss can help the person sitting with you. Good topics include holiday destinations, movies, music, topical TV shows. If you get stuck have the paper to hand to get topics or even read a quotations book aloud.
  2. Have “feel good” music on in the background or the radio, but not the TV.
  3. Read a magazine/book.

Keep Calm and Carry On Eating.

Eat in a calm, quiet and comfortable atmosphere and place. Keep it as stress free as possible. As soon as you feel anxious your “fight or flight” pathway kicks in. Think about it. Your heart beats faster, you may feel hot and sweaty, you may feel shaky and clammy, your throat constricts, your appetite gets less – so it will definitely be harder to eat!

Portion Perfect.

Only put on your plate what you need to eat. Don’t overload it as it will seem overwhelming.

Meal Motivation.

Keep in mind the reasons why you need to eat these foods. Either think it through in your head or have a list of reasons written out to refer to at the table or just before your meal. Use your long term goals, physical health reasons or any others that are positive. 

Reflect.

After a meal reflect on what went well/not so well. If you struggled, think through how you could improve this for next time, what would help/did not help. There will always be highs and lows in recovery. That is normal, the trick is to not give up.

After Activity.

Have something planned to do afterwards to distract yourself and to help you relax. Listen to relaxing music, watch TV or phone a friend are all good options. 

If you need one to one support, an individual meal plan and more guidance on this, please get in touch. An eating disorder is a very difficult illness to live with, live through and for some to let go and live without BUT it CAN be beaten,

Do you think you have an Eating Disorder?

Are you worried you may have an eating disorder or do you have a loved one you are worried about? Read on for signs and advice on what to do next.

Eating disorders are characterised by an abnormal attitude towards food that causes someone to change their eating habits and behaviour.

They can affect all types of people at all stages of life and are more common than you think with 1 in 250 women and 1 in 2,000 men suffering from anorexia nervosa. Bulimia is 5 times more common than anorexia and 90% of sufferers are female. Binge eating usually occurs later in life affecting both men and women.

Eating disorders often occur out of the need for a person to feel in control of life or as a reaction to stress or a bad experience in life. They can be a way of coping with feelings that are making you unhappy or depressed. It may be difficult to face up to and talk about, feelings like anger, sadness, guilt, loss or fear.

Common Signs:

  •  Severe weight loss
  • Periods stopping
  • Feeling disastified with your weight and body shape
  • Having a fear of gaining weight
  • Becoming obsessed with calories adn what you eat
  • Thinking about food all the time
  • Feeling guilty after eating
  • Excessive exercising
  • Being sick after eating
  • being secretive about food and not wanting to eat with others.
  • Feeling out of control and eating large amounts of food in one go

If you feel you or a loved one may have an eating disorder the best place to go to get help is your GP, they can signpost you to your local eating disorder services and give you initial advice and support. It can be hard to admit you have a problem, but think about how much better life would be if you didn’t have to worry about your eating.

If you have a close friend you trust maybe try talking to them about how you feel, talking about it can be very therapeutic. Recovery is a step by step process that takes time and usually involves psychological help as well as input from a specialist dietitian with experience in eating disorders.

The Beat website www.b-eat.co.uk is also a great place to get good information.

This post is take from http://www.slimsticks.com/priya-tew-do-you-think-you-have-an-eating-disorder

A battle of the mind.

This week it’s Eating Disorders Awareness week (see the Beat website for more). A topic very close to my heart. I have worked in the field of eating disorders for about 7 years now.

 

Remembering back to my first few days in my NHS post I was pretty petrified! What was I going to say to someone who was refusing to eat? How could I help? How much of a challenge was this really going to be and was I up to it?

7 years on I’ve completely fallen in love with working in this field. It’s flipping hard work most of the time, but it’s so rewarding too.  I’ve met some amazing people who have shown such strength and grim determination. It hasn’t always been enough and it certainly hasn’t always been a happy place to be, but it is a job that makes me thankful for my life and my health almost everyday. Most of the people I’ve worked with have talked about a raging battle going on in their mind, to me that’s one of the key challenges – how to overcome this battle.

My approach to working in Eating Disorders has been to celebrate the small successes, however small. There have been moments when I have literally jumped up and down in excitement when a client has managed 1 mouthful of a slice of toast. In fact I feel like celebrating all over again now – WOOHOO! If that doesn’t make you excited then a career in Eating Disorders probably isn’t for you 😉 In my job I have to be empathetic, caring, patient, calm, focused and have attention to detail, but also direct, firm and in charge. To my clients I am the authority on nutrition and I have to show I know my stuff or they aren’t going to trust me. Fortunately for me, this has all come pretty naturally. I’m not sure my husband would say I’m a naturally patient person, but put me in front of a client with an Eating Disorder and suddenly I am.

Recovering from an Eating Disorder takes courage, tenacity and TIME. There is no quick fix. Living with someone who is recovering is amazingly hard too. If you know someone who is struggling then be patient with them and be kind. Try not to tell them they look like they have put on weight or that you’ve noticed they are eating more. Just support them quietly and gently, ask them if/how they need support. Give them time. It takes time to become ill so it will take time to get well also. Lastly remember that just because someone is a normal weight does not mean they are all better.