An interesting admittance – It’s never too late to say sorry

You might have seen this story in the news recently. On the surface, it’s ‘one in the eye’ for the diet industry, the huge corporate congolmerate that makes money out of people feeling miserable about themselves and aesthetically inadequate, peddling questionable ‘health regimes’ with dubious claims. However I think it’s much, much deeper than that.

Iris Higgins, a psychologist with a Masters from New York University, is an expert in hypnotherapy and coaching to overcome disordered eating, and a woman championing healthy eating and self-esteem. Her blog, Your Fairy Angel, aims to instill confidence in women and also offer tips, tricks and recipes to enrich life and restore a focus onto overall health and vitality and away from harmful fads and destructive diets. Last week, she published a remarkable post on her blog, entitled ‘An Open Apology to All My Weight Loss Clients’. Almost unbelievably, her former employment was in fact under popular American diet company Jenny Craig. Now, given her new public stance on all things dietary and healthy (both mentally and physically), she has taken the drastic step to publicly apologise to each and every one of the women she was involved with through Jenny Craig over the years.

In an incredibly revealing, yet not particularly surprising, expose, she laments the fact that many women walked into those meetings healthy and happy, and ‘left with disordered eating, disordered body image and the feeling that you were a failure.’ So incredibly sad, but also true.

Many companies that make money from aesthetics operate on blowing open the beliefs that are usually already brewing at the back of your mind, creating issues and imperfections that do no exist, therefore compelling you to ‘fix them’. Another reason why I am so opposed to these organisations – and here we have proof.

She goes on to detail how as a Jenny Craig consultant she ignored serious mental health issues such as BDs and EDs, She gave bad (and potentially dangerous) advice to those with health concerns such as thyroid problems, diabetes and even pregnancy. Importantly she notes the harsh calorie limits placed on female clients, who despite part-taking in considerable amounts of exercise were encouraged to eat 1,500 calories a day.

She admits that whilst working there she did not believe in what she was doing and would not have touched the diet herself.

Some of the cynics among us (myself included) may say, What an Incredible U-Turn. 3 years is long enough to make money out of something you believe to be wrong. In addition, this lady is also now presenting herself as a health guru, and making money from the royalties of various healthy cookbooks and articles on positive body image and disordered eating. Whatever the motive, it’s commendable that she want to help others. But I can’t help thinking that for the rest of us, who have been on the receiving end of issues cultivated by the likes of Jenny Craig, and who have always shunned this toxic sort of ‘self improvement’, the whole thing is a little hollow. More importantly, the damage has unfortunately already been done for all those women she influenced during her time with Jenny Craig.

What are your thoughts on this one?




The Importance Of Family

I do realise this is probably something you’ve heard before. A lot of times. But please stick with me on this one.

Day to day when you’re busy being successful, stressed, anxious, embroiled emotionally and physically in every aspect of your own life, it’s very easy to neglect those around you who matter the most. In fact, and we’ve all been here, it’s often the case that we will treat the ones we love the worst, because we know that they accept our flaws, and love us for who we are, no matter how they treat us.

Don’t forget that this is one of the most precious and rare amenities available to us an human beings. Unconditional love, respect and interest isn’t easy to find, is it? Think about how many people you’ve spoken to, been fiends with, been on dates with, who you’ve worried may not like you? Might even be bored by you? How many times have you had this with family?

Families aren’t always easy. We know this! But who can you count on the most in your life?

Take some time today, or even this week, to be a little thankful for your family. Maybe spend some time with them. Cook for them, buy your Mum flowers, take your Dad out for a drink. Appreciate what you have.



Hair Loss – What To Do

Many people do not realise that sometimes severe hair loss can actually be a result of stress, anxiety and also Eating Disorders. Losing your hair is scary, especially for women. In addition to this if you’re not entirely sure why, and therefore are unable to prevent it, it can be extremely distressing.

If you google ‘hair loss’ or ‘help with hair loss’, you’ll find an inordinate amount of bulloney, adverts for miracle hair-growth products promising several inches in a matter of days, thicker ,fuller, stronger hair almost instantly.

I’ll be brutally honest here – as this honesty helped me immensely when I was going through losing my hair. There is no quick fix. At least, not for the root of the problem, if you excuse the pun. Of course, some products will make your hair feel a little thicker, perhaps make it shinier, give it a bit of volume. But the real solution for hair loss starts with the scalp.

There are a few general tips below which I have used over the years to prevent and alleviate hair loss, as well as strengthen it after a significant loss after Anorexia.

1. Massage your scalp a little every week. Yes, it’s time consuming – but this will increase blood flow to the hair follicles which stimulates new hair growth. It’s really relaxing and is especially good for your hair and scalp if you combine it with nourishing oils (see below!)

2. Use a special shampoo. Don’t get taken in by the expensive brands – not all of them work. Anything with caffeine or peppermint in is great for scalp stimulation – avoid anything heavy or containing lots of chemicals. Organic and natural shampoos are great – and an old favourite, baby shampoo, is perfect. Ultra-gentle, try to find organic, natural baby shampoo. It will cleanse without harming your hair, and nurture any new hair growth coming through. If that doesn’t take your fancy, then all-natural shampoo bars are also a great way to go. (You can read my reviews of hair loss shampoos and natural methods for more information!)

3. Supplements. Do be careful with these, especially if you are on any other medication. Please consult your doctor before starting anything new, and make sure you source them from somewhere reputable. I have found Biotin to be incredibly effective in boosting the strength and health of my hair, skin and nails, as well as 100% B Vitamins. Sea Kelp can be very good at preventing hair loss also.

4. A good serum or ointment to compliment your hair regime can be a welcome addition to your routine. I used Wella Energy Serum the first time I lost my hair.

5. All the favourite health advice applies. Get Plenty of Sleep, don’t smoke or drink too much.

6. Possibly most importantly of all, eat well. I realise this is really difficult when you are overcoming an Eating Disorder. Foods rich in protein, Omega 3 and B-Vitamins are perfect – nuts and seeds, avocado, dark green leafy vegetables, steaks and oily fish, eggs. Whilst calcium is key to the recovery of your body in general, also drink milk and eat cheese to boost calcium and Vitamin D levels. All easier said than done, I know 🙁 If you’re in recovery, there’s a post dedicated to foods for hair here.)

7. Sun. Sunshine and heat is amazing for your hair. Yes, it’s not always the easiest thing to simply jet off on holiday, but if the weather is nice make sure you make the most of it and let a little get to your head. Again, the heat stimulates the scalp for new growth.

8. Invest in a good conditioner. My favourite oil for hair is castor oil – you can read why here. Argan Oil, pure and organic, is really very good for the ends of your hair or as a hair mask, and I also like coconut oil as a natural conditioner for hair. Adding essential oils can help the efficacy of the oils – my favourite hair growth recipe contains a combination of castor oil ,coconut oil and rosemary essential oil.

9. Relax. This is ironic I know, as it’s probably likely that your hairloss has been caused by trauma in the first place! Although it’s hard, try to remember that if you fret over your hair you will onlybecome embroiled in a vicious circle in which the hair loss is perpetuated by your anxiety about it. My only tip for this is distraction – try to focus on something else and rest easy in the knowledge that you are doing everything you can to help your hair.

10. Check your water. Sounds crazy – yet in some places hair water can make your hair dry and unmanageable. Cheap stores sell mineral water for around 20p for 1.5 litres – if you are feeling that your water is to blame, perhaps try washing your hair with mineral water and see if it makes a difference. I notice that when I am abroad, a higher mineral content of the tap water (usually diverted from a spring) makes my hair thick, soft and shiny.

Finally – don’t take all the advice you hear. Using millions of products on your hair will kill it. Keep it simple – choose a regime and stick to it; you will see results in time.