Tuesday, March 06, 2018

If Britain needs to go on a diet, do I?

Oh calories, diets, Public Health campaigns, obesity epidemic headlines, it's all over the news AGAIN and I'd be lying if I said I was okay with that. I'm not okay with the bombardment of yet more 'should and should not' rules of eating. It's a constant threat to my recovery. 

I'm finding the more 'physically recovered' I am from anorexia, the more these campaigns bother me. They stick in my brain and make eating more complicated, they blur the lines between 'recovered me' and 'anorexic me'. 

It feels like it applies to me. Today it's made me feel guilty about having a breakfast that tops 400 calories, because PHE's top doctor says "The agency is also launching a campaign encouraging adults to consume 400 calories at breakfast and 600 each at lunch and dinner."

I know in reality that my lunch and dinner are never close to 600 calories each, but if I could logically believe that and ignore the message, I would. I really bloody would. But if that were easy, the last decade of my life wouldn't have been f*cked up by anorexia. 

When people think eating disorders feed on skinny models, airbrushing or vanity they forget that for some people anorexia is more likely to feed on campaigns like this. It's also like other eating disorders don't exist when we talk about this. We seems to forget that some of our overweight population will probably be suffering silently with eating disorders too...I'd put money on it.

I want to scream it’s not it’s the fact that these campaigns exists, because I realise they are needed to tackle an obvious obesity crisis, but they exist in a society where eating disorders are also a problem.They are also costing the NHS and lives. study by BEAT in 2015 found treating eating disorders DIRECTLY costs the NHS between £3.9 billion and £ 4.6 billion a year, and, potentially, up to £1.1 billion of private treatment costs too. Combine that with lost income and all the bits like carers eating disorder rack up a bill to the UK economy of between £6.8 billion and £8 billion A YEAR. Meanwhile, this much discussed obesity epidemic costs us £6 billion. Yep. 

On an another personal note, I’ve woken up this morning having the messages about the need for this 20 percet reduction in the calories of food by 2024. A call for 13 food groups to be targeted to make cuts, more calories warnings, more signs in takeaways and PHE saying, 'it would be prepared to ask the government to legislate.' if supermarkets and alike didn't buck up. So, today I’m going to call them out, embrace this - because doing all that will help make my life a little easier. 

Do you know why? Because when I go into a supermarket or restaurant and they've dropped the calories in their foods, maybe, just maybe I'll allow myself to eat it. To buy a bread roll, a dip or a savory snack. Safe in the knowledge that my eating disorder is a little less worried about it. 

Why? Because every day I wake up worried that I am greedy, fat, eating too much and 'one of the people that needs to listen'. So if you’re telling me to reduce my breakfast for my health, it gives me a legitimate reason. Officially, I’m not considered to be anorexic anymore, so in my mind it’s obviously not that driving the urge to reduce? It’s because I’m following guidance I don’t want to be overweight or greedy do it? 

I know this sounds like I’m taking the piss a little, but I’m not. I honestly believe these campaigns are affecting me more than more time goes on. The thing is, like for thousands of other people, the rules I have around food do affect my life and possibly always will. Then campaigns like this just make it feel like I have to be more restrictive with my diet. 

There is a very obvious obesity epidemic, but the thing that gets me is that over and over again we print calories on more menus, talk about reducing sugar over and over, about moving more and eating less - but I've said it before, and I'll say it again, "your healthy eating campaigns are wasted on me." 

It makes me question if they have even thought about who it is listening to these messages the most? My money is on people like me, ironically, the people that avoid those 13 food groups anyway.  But maybe I should embrace it. Look forward to the day when sugar and fat and calorie content is reduced? It means that my anorexic brain will let me eat junk. Or maybe I’ll still avoid it anyway? 

NEED HELP? If you're are worried you or someone you know if suffering with an eating disorder, be it anorexia, bulimia, OSFED, binge eating, emotional overeating or orthorexia, you can find info and support online at BEAT's website - HERE 

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