Why these diet bars are some of the WORST things you could eat (especially if you want to lose weight)

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Despite having a daughter who constantly nags her and continually informs her of the evils of dieting and the truths of nutrition and good general health and wellbeing, my mum still struggles with her weight and self-esteem. She’s held negative beliefs about herself (and well-developed bad habits) for many years now, so it’s understandably difficult for her to change, but I’m making progress. She’s now only eating wholesome, healthy foods, consumes full-fat everything and is slowly but surely starting not to worry about calories and fat content.

Imagine my horror then when I return home to find a box of diet ‘treat bars’ on the coffee table – open.

Although for obvious reasons I can’t name the manufacturer, these were chocolatey sweet bars made by a popular diet company and only available via their regular meetings. The photograph on the box depicted an artificial-looking slab of cocoa and bright pink marshmallows with a creamy drizzle on top. It certainly didn’t look anything like healthy. Although I’m an advocate of real food, I don’t condone people cutting out conventionally ‘unhealthy’ things from their diets completely – food is all about balance. But what I totally disagree with is diet companies flogging expensive crap filled with additives and sugars which people trying to be healthy then buy, thinking they’re making a positive choice.

Here are just a few reasons why you should never buy these types of diet bars – and what you can eat instead to nourish your body and take care of your mind, too.

 

1 – The FIRST ingredient was sugar

As you may have gathered, I am very strongly against diets and diet foods for a number of reasons (some of which I’ll discuss in this blog). So I grabbed the box and studied the ingredients list, and straight away I confiscated them. The very first ingredient was a type of sugar. And the second, and the third. Then there were chocolate chips – predominantly made of sugar. And mini-marshmallows – predominantly made of sugar. As I went down the list it became clear that these bars had absolutely NO nutritional value whatsoever. And yet they were being marketed as a sensible choice for people who wanted or needed to lose weight or get healthy.

2 – The rest of the ingredients were largely unrecognisable

The ingredients I could make out all involved lots of sugar and little substance. But more frighteningly there were plenty of things on that list that sounded like the type of thing you’d clean your toilet with – totally unrecognisable chemical names which didn’t belong on a list of things contained within something a human being is going to digest. Again these chemical substances will never contribute to weight loss, and are more likely to contribute to weight gain. What’s more they won’t nourish your body in any way.

3 – There was zero nutritional info on the packet

Surprisingly given the nature of the brand there was no clear information explaining the nutritional value of the bars (laughable, since that’s about zero in reality!) Checking packets for nutritional content is not something I agree with at all (all the best foods don’t come in packets and we should eat without anxiety or over-thinking) but I thought it was telling that the actual contents of the bars were omitted, as if they had something to hide. I imagine that’s because one look at the calorie content would probably send serial dieters running for the hills.

You’ll know if you’ve read my books that I don’t believe calories are very helpful, and that they shouldn’t be counted or rationed. However most foods should display nutritional info, and if they don’t I think that’s pretty suspect.

What’s the alternative?

It wouldn’t be fair for me to talk about diet bars and what people ‘shouldn’t’ be doing then not discuss the better alternative. I go into more detail in my books, but after battling an eating disorder then spending years eating crappy diet foods and abusing my body I suffered the consequences and developed IBS. After that I made sure I mostly ate foods with good nutritional value – things which tasted lovely but benefitted my body, too.

I often make quick, easy and cheap cookies, cakes and bars which would perfectly substitute sweet rubbish like the bars my mum brought home this week. These are high in protein, low GI and full of good fats – great all-rounders if you’re peckish or fancy a snack. They’re real food, and you’ll recognise all the ingredients as most of them are in their raw state! If you fancy reading more about how I eat you can take a look at Nutrition in a Nutshell, or pre-order my recipe book here.

If you’re not into making your own food then there are other alternatives. How about mixing almond butter with cocoa and palm sugar and refrigerating for a Nutella-style snack? Boiled eggs with spinach? A slice of wholemeal toast with peanut butter? A little fruit with some cream or yoghurt and pumpkin seeds?

Nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated – in fact I believe getting in right involves keeping it simple.

You can read more about diets and my view on nutrition here.

 

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Hair Loss – what to do (the update)

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I’ve covered the route for those who aren’t so bothered about the chemical aspect of cosmetics (the route I took myself initially and last year!) but I’m now keen to try a natural alternative to keep my whole body (and hair) healthy, so I wanted to compile an alternative post for those wishing to try all-natural to combat hair loss themselves.

  1. Supplements and diet – make sure you’re taking Biotin (1000mcg) every day for your hair (if you are at a safe weight and are okay health-wise to do so). I swear by this and always have done, plus it isn’t something which you will need to worry about harming your scalp! I know I don’t need to bang on about it – eating right helps too, but I know that isn’t always so easy.
  2. Use natural oils – Instead of conditioner, switch to oils. It’s a bit messy, yes, but you can buy squeezy bottles which make life easier. Even expensive conditioners contain silicones and chemicals which are less than helpful for your hair. Also take into account that any conditioner claiming to ‘aid hair loss’ is making a mistaken claim because combatting hair loss really does begin and end with the scalp. The rest of your hair is dead, so whilst combatting breakage will help your hair retain thickness and is important to the health and look of your hair, it won’t stop it from falling out at the root. I love castor oil and coconut oil. (You can read my post all about castor oil and its fabulous hair benefits here!)
  3. Invest in essential oils – Essential oils are renowned in alternative and homeopathic medicine for many health benefits, some of which are calming or uplifting effects on the mood which are added benefits to using them for your hair if it has been caused by anxiety or an eating disorder. Certain essential oils are specifically good for hair – such as Rosemary and Peppermint. Rosemary is said to maintain a healthy scalp and shiny locks, and peppermint stimulates the scalp – that’s why it is tingly when you apply it. I use a Rosemary Hair Oil every week which smells lovely and does my hair the world of good – click here for the recipe.
  4. The Inversion Method – I’ve only recently come across this – I’ve always massaged my scalp to aid hair growth but this is quite a sophisticated way of doing so which promises some pretty drastic results! I’m not sure everyone will see a few inches growth in just weeks as some internet die-hards claim, but it definitely makes sense to give it a go. I’ve been doing this for a few weeks now – my hair already grows very fast and I’ve had decent regrowth round my forehead but I’m looking to sort some of the patchiness on the back of my head so I will see how I get on with those and post an update! I use the Rosemary Oil in conjunction with the Inversion Method to make it super-potent.
  5. Natural shampoo – When you’re losing your hair, you’ll try anything. (I have!). There’s countless hair loss shampoos on the market but as with all mainstream shampoos, they’re full of chemicals and we all know how harmful they can be for your skin and hair. Whilst I saw fantastic results from Alpecin and Nioxin, I’m really starting to move more towards natural methods now I’m maintaining my hair and regrowth. Natural shampoos can be hard to come by (lots claim to be natural or Organic, but they actually just contain a few natural ingredients and are not 100% natural). If you don’t feel you can, or want to, go all-natural, then try to choose the next best thing – it will be fine if you follow the next step, which is….
  6. Don’t wash your hair as much – I wash my hair once a week only. I know there will be lots of horrified people reading this – but honestly, I haven’t had anybody notice!! What I have personally noticed (and had comments on by friends and family) is the thickness and healthy look of my hair. When you first stop washing your hair so regularly, you of course feel towards the end of the week that your hair is a little greasy or looks a bit oily at the roots. I combatted this originally by using Klorane dry shampoo in between washes – but I haven’t had to use it anywhere near as much as I thought I would need to. (Now I use a chemical-free, home-made cocoa dry shampoo – recipe here!) The reason washing your hair less aids hair loss is that it allows your scalp to maintain a natural cycle and means you are not exposing your hair and scalp to chemicals so much, which not only strip the oil from your hair (confusing your scalp into producing more, hence more washing) but you are also possibly helping your hair loss by using harsh artificial detergents. You’ll notice that the greasiness really is only in the scalp area, and that this will only last for the first couple of weeks or so whilst it adjusts to not being stripped constantly. Now, after 2 months of only washing once a week, I generally don’t need to wash my hair more than that.

Combatting hair loss can happen, and it can be easy, it just takes time and patience (a lot of it!) I know from experience that it’s easy to become obsessed with progress and how much you’re shedding etc but the best thing you can do is secure a routine, follow it religiously and keep positive until you see the results.

Fancy going all-natural? Take a look at my no-poo post here!

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PLUS: Read What Not To Do for more tips

Tough Cookie is a blog for support and inspiration during recovery from Anorexia. Eating disorder recovery can be tough – but so are you!

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Why I hate ‘Thinspo’ – and why I want it banned

 

When I see Thinspo or Thinspiration, whether it’s on social media or on TV or in magazines, it makes me physically shudder. Maybe that’s because it’s usually accompanied by an image of an impossibly thin person, all rib bones and protruding hip bones; maybe that’s because the connotation for it for me is far from innocent and in fact represents something very dangerous.

I’ve said this before on the blog but I have to say it again for the purpose of this article making sense – ‘thin’ is not healthy. Looking at people as ‘Thin’ and ‘Fat’ is like looking at everything in ‘black’ and ‘white’ – there’s always a grey area. If you fail to be categorised into either you’ll force yourself to fit – it’s human nature. Of course, not many people want to fall into the ‘fat’ category – hence the absence of the ‘fatspiration’ hash tag.

Some people are naturally slim and that is fine. We are all built differently, that’s what’s incredible and diverse and interesting about us as humans. This isn’t an attack on the naturally thin.

What I want to highlight is that ‘thinspiration’ encourages us to become slimmer than we are supposed to be; it shames us into thinking and feeling that we are somehow inadequate because we are not thin. For people with body dysmorphia, every single person they see is some form of this ‘inspiration’. Inspiration of how to be, how to look. Whether that’s hair, skin, height, or weight. This isn’t something which needs to be highlighted and then spread via Social Media.

When I look at images of celebrities and models and these so-called ‘inspirational’ images, I feel worse and worse about myself as a consequence. Hashtag or no hashtag attached, they’re inspiring me to obsess over how I look. They’re inspiring me to believe that I am somehow ugly or strange or ‘fat’. When I am none of those things, factually speaking, even though I believe that I am.

I advise fellow sufferers of BD and people with eating disorders to ration social media. I do this because of the huge exposure to this sort of thing – which consciously or unconsciously damages us and compounds our negative beliefs about ourselves. ‘Thinspiration’ wasn’t around when I was poorly – if it had been, I’d have been all over it. That is to say, my eating disorder would have latched onto it within no time and I actually think over-exposure to it would have made it more difficult for me to recover.

I’m anti #Thinspiration and I hope you can see that it is false and absolutely not how you ‘should be’. There are so many different types of beauty, which I try to celebrate here on the blog. You are individual – unique, and beautiful the way you were made. It might take time to realise it but for now start to see the falsehood in the media and know that it is NOT a reflection on you!

Who else hates #Thinspo?

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Tough Cookie is a blog for support and inspiration during recovery from Anorexia. Eating disorder recovery can be tough – but so are you!

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How to eat well – frugally

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In my post on 13th January, I discuss the expense of living and eating well.

Here are my top tips on eating ‘clean’ and nutritiously on a tighter budget:

  1. Shop Local. I’m not talking about these fancy ‘farm shops’ where a raspberry meringue sets you back £3 (although I do LOVE wasting money in those places). Most people think that going to your local grocer, butcher or fishmonger is expensive in comparison to the supermarket but often they are surprisingly competitive – don’t forget they now have to compete with the price wars going on at top level to keep local custom. You also have the added advantage of the produce being locally sourced and often organic, even if it is not advertised as such. Delicatessens stocking local cold meats and cheeses are also fab – there’s a lot of fairly-priced artisan food out there nowadays which is sourced right here in the UK.
  2. Look Online. Brands stocked in Holland and Barrett, Tesco and Win Naturally are mostly available online for a reduced price or in wholesale packs (ebay is good for this). Often if you place a large order you also get free delivery, so it’s win-win. The internet is also fab for buying dried fruit and raw nuts, which are frankly extortionate at the supermarket and only ever come in tiny bags! Specialist foods such as gluten free flours, oils and natural sugar alternatives are also more readily available.
  3. Buy in Bulk. Whether that’s through a mail order meat site such as Muscle Food or through your local butcher, as I say in my post about prep if you are lucky enough to have the freezer space, it’s easier (and cheaper) to think ahead and stock up with a lot of food at once. It will keep fresh and you can get excellent quality meat and fish at much lower prices when you buy a lot of it.
  4. Don’t discount Aldi and Lidl. So many more people are latching on to the Aldi and Lidl frenzy now but there are still many who are slightly sceptical when it comes to buying produce. I buy loads of basics (such as oats, unsalted butter, whole milk) from Aldi; but it’s also great for genuine specialist continental foods such as big juicy olives, rich cheeses and spicy meats. The fruit and veg is cheap as chips and they’ve even started an organic range now which unsurprisingly is also perfectly priced. Both Lidl and Aldi also do a great range of raw nuts – Lidl even has a ‘pick n mix nut bar’ where you can choose your own.

All in all, eating naturally will always cost you a little more than if you relied on processed foods. However if you can afford it, the benefits are incredible. Your body is your most precious asset!! I hope that this post demonstrates that it can be done on a budget.

Any more ideas I have missed on how to live and eat well frugally? Share them here!

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Why BMI and Weight mean absolutely nothing

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The massive importance of BMI and Weight – one of the biggest myths of our time.

As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, weight is a number on a scale which essentially tells you what your relationship with gravity is. It doesn’t tell you anything else; it doesn’t take into account other physical or personal qualities. I wanted to expand a little bit on this though because I get a lot of people talking to me about ‘weight loss’ and when I explain why I disagree with that so much I’m often met with a lot of confusion and questions!

I think the main reason for this confusion is the conditioning we have all been subject to over the last 30 plus years, which has seen the idea of ‘weight loss’ painted as a positive and ‘fat’ as a negative.

Of course in the 40’s, there was an influx of adverts promising ‘curviness’ for ‘skinny’ girls, who were ostracised just as bigger women are nowadays for their ‘undesirable’ size. Doesn’t that just go to show the power of the media, and the consequent effect it has on society? Someone, somewhere decides what is ‘normal’ or ‘good’ and we all follow blindly as we are told to do. At the moment, ‘skinny’ is in, and as a consequence we have all become obsessed with how much we weigh, with fat as a rule avoided like the plague.

BMI has long been painted by health professionals as an accurate and reliable gauge of a person’s health, based on the correlation between their height and weight. Contrary to this, many will now tell you that it in fact does the opposite and tells us very little about a person’s physical make up and overall health. Here’s an example: take a body builder who is very lean but has a heck of a lot of muscle. Muscle is more dense than fat, so they weigh quite a lot. They are however lacking in height – meaning their BMI indicates that they are clinically obese. Yet this person does not have a scrap of fat on them – so how can they possibly be obese?

This outdated system lumps people into categories of ‘healthy’, ‘unhealthy’ and ‘really unhealthy’ on opposite ends of the scale.  Another example is a naturally slim, tall person whose height and weight indicate that they are drastically underweight and dangerously so. Yet this is simply how they are made up naturally – it’s impossible for them to put on any weight.

What concerns me about this reliance on BMI is that many people are being told they are ‘clinically obese’ when that simply is not true. It focuses us even more keenly on a number on a scale, and not the health of our bodies as a whole. More recently, worrying stories of children and young adults being berated for the product of their BMI results have emerged in the press, which of course is unhelpful to say the least at such a formative stage both mentally and physically.

 

This brings me back to ‘weight’ as a whole. I admit I weigh myself once a week, same time, same day, so I absolutely cannot sit here and tell anybody not to weigh themselves at all, even though in all honesty that would be the ideal alternative. I know people who weigh themselves incessantly; sometimes twice in a day. When you have body dysmorphia or an eating disorder, gaining one pound can alter your whole perception of yourself and how you feel for the rest of that day. Clothes feel tighter, imaginary rolls of fat appear in the mirror. ‘Weight’ means nothing. The weight of our bodies depends on many different factors and varies from hour to hour, day to day, week to week. Women especially are subject to daily hormonal changes and don’t forget the contribution of our digestive systems to how much (or little) we weigh.

So what’s the alternative? Whilst I don’t suggest that this is widely used and suitable for everybody, I think it’s better to look to more accurate techniques such as fat calliper testing to get a clear indication of someone’s overall health. This coupled with other investigations can really give a true picture of how a person is made up, and where. If you are carrying excess fat, where it is on your body is important, as this often determines whether it poses a risk to your health and also the cause of its presence. Not everyone who carries excess fat eats cake for breakfast!

Next time you find yourself at the doctor’s and they insist on working out your BMI, please don’t lose heart if it isn’t favourable. It is a vague indication, if that, of your health and physical components. Not only that, there is more to you than a number on a scale. You are a wonderful person on the inside, and as long as you are also healthy, that is all that matters.

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Gluten-free – it’s not for everyone

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I talk about fad diets on here and my hatred of anything that encourages you to cut anything out of your daily routine completely or starve yourself as I believe that these are harmful and unhealthy – I think that they normalise a difficult relationship with food.

You may have noticed from the blog that I don’t eat gluten. I don’t eat any foods with gluten in them because I have IBS as a result of my anxiety disorder, which means I struggle to digest food in general because of my constant state of anxiety, but especially ‘heavy’ foods like bread and pasta. It’s not simply an issue with gluten; I wouldn’t be able to eat any gluten free breads and I struggle with potato too. So essentially it’s not intolerance as such and more an inability to process heavy foods rather than an intolerance to gluten in an isolated way.

Some people have gluten intolerances or allergies (known as Coeliac disease), very much like lactose allergies and intolerance. These are serious medical conditions which cause people to become very poorly if they consume the foods in question – in the case of allergies, all precautions must be taken to ensure sufferers’ foods have not at all come into contact with any gluten. In the same way if I eat heavy foods I feel very poorly but Irritable Bowel Syndrome is still an illness with very little known about the causes, triggers and treatments and therefore it’s a grey area compared to the above.

Contrary to the seriousness which is widely associated with nut allergies, we’ve become very ignorant and dismissive about gluten allergies and intolerances and often group them as the same thing, or worse group them with those on fad diets who don’t have intolerance or allergies at all. Similarly, it’s more difficult to tell now whether somebody has a medical issue, or whether they’re just avoiding the food group altogether because they have read an article in a magazine and decided to go on a fad diet. Unfortunately, all those who are avoiding gluten for genuine reasons find themselves subject to disapproval and a fair amount of eye-rolling, tutting, ridicule and sometimes anger (yes anger – it’s happened!)

Gluten-free has become the latest fad diet on the market. Celebrities have taken it up in force and magazines rave about the benefits including a ‘flat stomach’ and the fact that gluten causes undesirable effects in even the most robust digestive system. This often means that when I turn down a sandwich or tell somebody I’m not able to eat that cake or biscuit, they snort and say ‘Oh, you’re on low carb?’ or look at me disdainfully because clearly I’m just being a faddy eater and being incredibly inconvenient (having had an eating disorder, I’m used to this look as I’m sure you can imagine!) Generally, people don’t believe me when I tell them about my IBS and how it affects me (and I really don’t fancy going into detail about my bowel movements to convince them that I am telling the truth!).

I think this misunderstanding is because the popularity and promotion of gluten-free has led to people who have no history of intolerance and who have not been to see a doctor self-diagnosing an intolerance and cutting out gluten altogether in favour of expensive gluten-free alternatives, of which there is now an increasingly diverse range in the supermarkets (isn’t that just proof of the adoption of gluten free?) The problem is that because people see it as a diet and weight loss method, and not as a necessary (or unnecessary for most, as it happens) lifestyle choice, they feel they can consume as much gluten-free produce as they please and that they will be healthy and lose weight as a result. Sadly, they’re wrong.

Processed gluten-free products are often full of the same nasty chemicals and preservatives as are in foods containing gluten – and in fact sometimes they have more because they are not made in a ‘traditional’ way as some ‘normal’ products are. They contain just as much sugar too, so eating a gluten-free pack of biscuits instead of the occasional ‘normal biscuit’ is absolutely no good for your body.

There’s varying schools of thought scientifically as to whether cutting gluten out of your diet is beneficial medically-speaking, however a fair few of these contradict each other ,with some saying it may help, others which categorically deny that, unless you have medical reason to, gluten has any reason to be excluded from your diet. As I always say, eating a healthy, balanced, as natural as possible range of foods is absolutely the best thing for your body. Gluten-based foods have been around for centuries and whilst our variations of them (such as refined breads and processed cakes and biscuits) aren’t the best, gluten itself is only the enemy for a select few who genuinely struggle to process it.

Have you experienced any prejudice because of a genuine allergy or intolerance?

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Should we have nutrition advice in our schools?

 

I talk about this in the book and include a section on basic nutrition – that’s how important I think this is! Largely because I lacked this rather simple education when I was younger and instead my head became filled with ridiculous harmful advice peddled by diet companies and magazines. In light of the recent funding which is being pumped into the NHS to help tackle Eating Disorders, I wanted to see if anybody else agrees with me when I say I feel that some of the money should go into prevention as well as treatment.

Perhaps the budget is so tight that it cannot afford for any portion of it to be siphoned off for preventative causes like nutrition advice, but in an ideal world where we had plenty of money to spare I’m certain that at least a quarter of it should be invested into better education and preventative measures to bring the number of actual cases down before they get to a critical point in an already strung-out NHS, not to mention a massively under pressure mental health structure.

The NHS has been investing in preventative medicine and preventative education for some time; campaigns and adverts in newspapers or on television you see such as Stop Smoking, Dry January and Change 4 Life are examples of this. They’re usually educative or encouraging people to make positive choices in their lives which should mean that the NHS has to spend less later because people are generally healthier than they would have been had they not been given that advice.

With the NHS budget under massive strain, I think it would be intelligent and financially sensible to look to schools to administer education to young people at grassroots level, when so many of them are developing important ideas about themselves, about life and about food.

A lot of Eating Disorders tend to manifest themselves in these early years of our lives and that was especially true in my case. When I speak to others who are going through an Eating Disorder or who have poor body image many also talk of being bullied at school for being fat or ugly or not fitting in, and as a consequence turning to fad diets to improve the way they looked and developing an Eating Disorder further down the line.

I’m certainly not saying that diets and the media are wholly responsible for Eating Disorders. They’re complex mental illnesses with their roots in many facets of our lives and personalities. Many sufferers know that what they think and feel about food isn’t fact but they of course are compelled to continue anyway. I know this more than anyone.

However cases seem to be emerging at younger and younger ages. These children cannot have a proper understanding of food and how it works in our bodies; and any education they do have tends to be confusing and incorrect because it comes from their exposure to the diet industry, who as you know I think are a pretty irresponsible bunch.

I’m not saying that education of this kind would stop all cases, but certainly a few might be halted by a better understanding of our bodies, coupled with advice on self-confidence and self-care.

What do you think? Should we look at introducing nutrition education into schools at Secondary level to help them to understand their bodies and make more informed choices?

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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?

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Recovery Foods

When I was in recovery, there wasn’t much in the way of advice given on what to eat and why, to help the body rebuild and heal what has been damaged or lost. Although I had a dietician, they were focused solely on calorie intake, which of course wasn’t the best focus for me as it was one I was trying to avoid! Each week I’ll be exploring a different food and its nutritional benefits for recovery, but today I thought I would give it an introduction and an overview of my personal star foods. The yummy goodness in these following foods, such as protein and calcium, are also good for non-sufferers to incorporate into their diet.

1. Nuts. I’ve already posted about nuts – you know my feelings on these little guys! Packed full of energy and nutrients and really tasty.

2. Steak. Lean beef steak is really good for repairing damaged muscle and body tissues as it has a high protein and iron content. Lovely with peppercorn sauce and a nice dark green leafy salad. Alternatively 100% beef burgers and mince are still high in these vital nutrients.

3. Eggs. Eggs really are a wonderfood in my opinion as they are so versatile. Even if you’re not a big fan of eggs in their normal state there is so much you can do with them. I like mine poached, in an omelette or frittata, quiche, or scrambled with bacon. You can make soufflés, pies and even shakes with eggs so if you’re not a fan yet, don’t rule them out. They are full of protein which again will be crucial in aiding your body’s recovery from the inside out.

4. Greek Yoghurt. Besides being thick, creamy and ludicrously tasty, Greek Yoghurt also boasts twice the protein content of other yoghurts, as well as being high in B12, Potassium and Protein. Don’t forget that it’s also a great source of calcium which really is important during recovery as your bones need it to grow strong again.

5. Fish. Oily fish to be precise, however if you’re not a fan of ‘fishy fish’ (I’m not), then Tuna, Cod, Haddock and shellfish are also good options. The best ones to go for are Salmon, Tuna and Cod.

6. Sweet Potato. So tasty and unlike normal potato packed with Beta-Carotene, Vitamins and Fibre. You can mash it, roast it, cut it into fries or wedges – the perfect accompaniment to any meal.

There will be profiles on all these nutritious superstars – plus many more! If you see anything missing – let me know and share it with everyone else : )

 

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Inspirational Woman – Lizzie Miller

This is Lizzie. These images of the model were featured in Glamour magazine in an article on self-confidence. Previously she’d been informed that she was ‘too large’ for plus size. Now her agency have instructed her ‘not to lose any weight’. These beautiful un-photoshopped images instantly gained popularity with readers, who flooded Glamour’s website with a deluge of praise for the model. The surprise here is that Lizzie has a ‘tummy’. Girls I think you’ll all agree that Lizzie is very slim…yet just the inclusion of a tiny roll of skin or fat has got real women everywhere rejoicing. We want to see real, normal women in magazines, not plasticised doll-like creatures. It shows the extent to which images are altered and perfected in the media, so much so that a perfectly beautiful, slim woman is championed for having a tiny bit of tummy.

Again it demonstrates how unaware the public are of how what we see daily as ‘normal’ is actually doctored and tampered with beyond recognition. If adults are so oblivious, what effect is this all having on our children?

Personally, I’d like to see more images like this in the media. I didn’t even notice the tummy until it was pointed out to me. Did you? Is it really so important that every lump and bump should be flattened in photoshop before publication?

More than anything, this is proof that trend, money and popularity determine people’s idea of ‘beauty’, not truth.

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