Friday, February 24, 2017

Oprah weight 'my shield and my shame'

In the April edition of ‘Good Housekeeping’, which goes on sale on 1st March, Oprah Winfrey (63) discloses her weigh related issues and how they affected her thoughts and actions:

“[My weight] has been the go-to comfort for me. You use it as your coat and your shield, and it keeps you from doing things.

“You don’t have to go to that party because you don’t have a dress to wear and nothing is going to fit you.

“But the wonderful thing for me is that I reached a point where I no longer wanted to hide.

“I know that sounds strange for somebody who is in the public eye, but it was my shield and my shame.”

Oprah is a Weight Watchers spokesperson and recently successfully lost 3 stones by following the company’s diet regime. Speaking to Weight Watchers earlier this year she said:

"I lost at a steady pace and then went through this whole summer without losing a pound. That was OK because I was so happy with my life. There was no longer a sense of urgency to just lose the pounds; there was now a strong desire to be fully present and savour every meal. I focused on what I was eating and appreciating my life. Isn't that what everyone is looking for?"

Commenting on how weight loss has affected her, Oprah said told Good Housekeeping: “Now I feel liberated. It’s the thing I have been looking for my whole life - to feel a sense of freedom.

“The taste of freedom, there is nothing better than that.”


Monday, February 20, 2017

Overcoming anorexia and bulimia

Rebecca was anorexic and bulimic for 12 years. Her story was featured on BBC 2’s Trust Me I'm A Doctor.

“I've been fully recovered for about two years now. I can confidently say that I am probably the happiest that I have ever been. It feels very freeing, like you're in control of your life now not this voice that is telling you how to behave.

“I was very malnourished and underweight and very sadly I don't think my family were well informed enough to see the red flags before that to know anything about it, to do anything about it. So it wasn't until the weight loss that they actually decided to approach it. My cousin noticed that I would go to the bathroom after each meal and he came up and actually said, ‘you have to stop going to the bathroom after we've eaten’”.

Rebecca works for the charity Beat, which helped her to overcome her illness. She wants families to know what to look out for:

“Going to the toilet after meals. I think a general attitude during meal times is important. Sometimes you could be looking for someone being really hyper and really drawing your attention to them, so that you are not looking at what they eating, because they're not eating it. Other times they might be sullen and withdrawn and not able to kind of cope with the situation. Behavioural changes during mealtimes are a big red flag.

“Some people over exercise as a way of purging as well, so looking for secretive exercise, like someone who is going to their room after meals”.

How to help:

“Approaching it with honesty, but not always seeing the eating disorder, but the person. People can forget that underneath you're still the girl who loves to read and you watch films. People won't ask you what books you’ve enjoyed lately or have you enjoy reading this book; instead they just talk about food.

“When anyone would address it during mealtimes; I found that very difficult, because I'd already decided what I was going to eat during that mealtime. So for example, I remember someone saying to me, ‘you've put absolutely no carbs on your plate’, and that just made me not want to eat anything at all”.

Road to recovery:

“I went to a GP, it was my cousin who drove me there and took me back to make sure that I was going; then I went to a psychiatrist.

“It was all about the small targets at first. At first I increased my portion sizes; I didn't change what I was eating, I just ate slightly more each time so I could still enjoy the foods that I enjoyed. Then that led to me deciding to give myself actual activity tasks outside of the eating disorder itself.”


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hair care and identity

Each one of us has a unique head of hair, whether it straight, curly, frizzy, long, short, bleached, coloured or natural. We have approximately 150,000 individual hair strands on our head that grows approximately 1 cm every month. Hair care and retention (loss treatment) is big business; globally the market is worth a £60 billion and £ .5 billion respectively. Our hair, its health, style etc is very important to many of us. Recently BBC Horizon’s ‘Hair Care Secrets’, asked individuals about their hair.

What is hair?

"Hair really is the crowning glory, it can represent you in so many different ways."
"Hair is the most important thing with your identity."
"I think my hair says I'm a bit bohemian. It is totally flowing freely and bouncy; it's a bit like me."
Hair is something you can immediately see; it's like the clothes you're wearing, you are effectively making a statement."
"A lot of people laugh at me and say your hair (ginger). I just acknowledge it and move on".

How important is your hair?

Continue reading


Friday, February 10, 2017

'“I heard my body is a topic of conversation'

On Sunday Lady Gaga performed at Super Bowl; during her act, one outfit in particular exposed her midriff.

Social media erupted with comments, not only on her performance, but also on Lady Gaga’s body.

Negative body related comments included:

    “I just feel like #Gaga’s dough belly should’ve been tucked in better. #jussay@jfsartainin,” wrote user .

    "Tried to enjoy @ladygaga's performance, was distracted by the flab on her stomach swinging around," tweeted Nathan @negans_swing.

Gaga’s fans quickly rebuked negative posters e.g.:

The Lipstick Print @lipstick_print
Lady Gaga was stunning and put on one hell of a show! To those body shaming her- you are disgusting! #stopbodyshaming #ladygaga #SuperBowl

riley finnegan @riley_finnegan
Lady Gaga has a perfect body and this is why girls in America hate their bodies. Promote self love not self hate.

Casey Pruett ‎@CaseyJane05
Love @ladygaga even more for her normal yet still incredibly hot body she just rocked

Alexa Morgan ‪@alexamorgan_
Guys making fun of Lady Gaga's "muffin top" is the reason why girls have so many body image issues

Rachel Osier Lindley ‪@RachelOLindley
For me, the star of the halftime show was Lady Gaga's normal-person stomach.

Erin Moore ‪@erin_m24
Shoutout to lady gaga's stomach roll for showing girls that you don't need to have a perfect body to absolutely kill it

After learning that disparaging remarks about her body, her stomach in particular, were posted and being debated on; Lady Gaga decided to respond to her critics on Instagram:

“I heard my body is a topic of conversation so I wanted to say, I'm proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too. No matter who you are or what you do. I could give you a million reasons why you don't need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed. Be you, and be relentlessly you. That's the stuff of champions. thank you so much everyone for supporting me. I love you guys. Xoxo, gaga


Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Weight loss the key to happiness?

After gaining and losing 10 stone, Katie's learned that happiness isn't about the scales.


Friday, February 03, 2017

Body image anxieties

A week ago, the Be Real Campaign for body confidence, founded by YMCA and Dove, launched its Somebody Like Me research looking into body image anxiety among young people.

Here are some comments from some of the young people who took part:

“It is everywhere. It’s something that I think about every day, all the time, what I’m looking like, you know, how I’m dressing and how other people perceive me,” - Isabelle

“I think with the added pressure of school work and trying to get good grades and everything. It’s just like another thing and probably effects people more at our age because it’s an added stress on top of everything else.” - Clara

“I Photoshop every one of my profile pictures, I kid you not. I get rid of my spots, I get rid of my double chin. It genuinely takes me 25 minutes to make a profile picture.” - Josh

“If you don’t get so many ‘likes [recognition from peers]’, you’ll take them off. Like I do that all the time. If I don’t get 30 ‘likes’ I’ll take it off straight away,” - Paris

And the necessity to look popular has even stretched as far as young people actually buying ‘likes’: “I buy likes; I buy 100 likes so I don’t feel bad about myself,” - David

“No matter if it is a joke [banter/bullying], you are still knocking someone down in some way. That does have a knock on effect on them, even if they don’t mean it to and they know it’s a joke. Subconsciously it can just eat away at your brain. You think they wouldn’t have said if it wasn’t true,” - Nathan

[Solution] “You need to teach people that they are okay. You need to teach people that perfection isn’t real. Instead of teaching kids that you should be this thin, you should eat like this, and if you are not like this you will be unhappy,” - Charlotte.

Read full post


Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Same girl same day

On 29th January, 23 year old Amelia Smith a nursing student from Hull posted two side-by-side Instagram selfies of herself, in order to highlight the deceptiveness of photos. In just two days it has received over 59,000 likes.

In both pictures Amelia is wearing control-top tights; in the first the tights are pulled high above her waistline, creating the illusion of a flat stomach, while in the other it sits low on her hips exposing her midriff.

The caption associated with the images stated:

“Same girl, same day, same time. Not a before and after. Not a weight loss transformation. Not a diet company promotion. I am comfortable with my body in both. Neither is more or less worthy. Neither makes me more or less of a human being. Neither invites degrading comments and neither invites sleezy words.We are so blinded to what a real unposed body looks like and blinded to what beauty is that people would find me less attractive within a 5 second pose switch. How insanely ridiculous is that!?

Amelia also expressed that the action of taking the the photos was therapeutic: "It helps my mind so much with body dysmorphia and helps me rationalise my negative thoughts.”

Speaking to Us Weekly Amelia said explained why she made the photos public: “We are bombarded with fake imagery every day and many of us literally forget what all types of bodies look like! Showing my body online is a few unedited, unairbrushed photos closer to variety and acceptance.”


Friday, January 27, 2017

'They choose to believe a lie'


Steve has been a body builder for over 20 years. Yesterday he met with us and shared his views about the unrealistic expectations of teens and adult males taking up bodybuilding for the first time.

“People come up to me and they say, I want shoulders, stomach muscles, arms or legs like yours; what do I have to do? They take it for granted that if they do what I do, that they will end up looking like me. I can take one look at them and know straight away that they will not make it; they simply don’t have the right genetics for example they are slim built.

“Men think that they can look at someone and say ‘I want to be like that,’ then work out and achieve the body they want, but many can't. Even if two brothers walking to the gym to start bodybuilding, there is no guarantee that they will both be able to develop muscle in the same way. People need to pay much more attention to genetics.

“There are body builders out there offering tips on how anyone can look like them; some make a lot of money from it, but it's a lie. These self-proclaimed experts may have the right genetics, used steroids or both, you just don’t know. If someone comes up to me and says they want to look like me and I don’t think they can naturally; I tell them the truth. I say, ‘you won't be able to look like me, but you can develop muscles and have the best body for you as an individual’. I’m talking about natural healthy development, without steroids.

“Do you know something? When I tell them the truth they don't want to hear it, because they want to believe that they can look like me or like anybody else; they choose to believe a lie”.

Steve’s observation makes it easy to understand how unrealistic muscle growth expectations could lead to body image issues, similar to what females experience.


© All rights reserved.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Your body is not an ornament, it’s a vehicle

When Taryn Brumfitt posted her before and after photos online, the action was very unusual because the before image showed a slim muscular body (body building competition) and the after portrayed a more natural, curvier, real picture of herself. The comparison post has been viewed millions of times online and spurred Taryn’s decision to create the documentary Embrace.

Speaking to the BBC Tara explained the reason for the photo and the documentary.

" Normally when we see a woman’s before photo she is overweight and she's really sad and then she loses weight and she miraculously becomes happy. We see these photographs over and over again. So I wanted to say, ‘do you know what, you can actually love your body before, during and after’. Health is not just physical, it's emotional health, it's mental health; it’s all of those things.”

Commenting on her perception of her post pregnancy body Taryn said: “I was going to have surgery to fix what I thought was my broken body, after I’d had three children. I was watching my daughter play one day and I thought, ’how am I going to teach Michaela to love her body if I can't love my body? If I have surgery, what message will that send to her?’ So I decided against it and I came up with this really great idea to enter a bodybuilding competition; my friends thought I was crazy! I was driving to have the perfect body and I wanted to know what that felt like. [When] I got on stage, I had this moment of this is too hard. It takes to much time and sacrifice and obsession. In that journey I learnt that my body is not an ornament; it’s a vehicle in life and there is so much more things to be concerned about and worry about and to do, rather than this constant obsession with how I look”.

Discussing some of the women she had met during the making of the documentary Taryn said: “It's heartbreaking. Wherever I travelled with Embrace from the Dominican Republic, a studio in Germany, here in the UK or America, it was the same. So many women are hating their bodies; they loathe their bodies and I wonder what that is doing for our society, having half the population being anchored down by these negative thoughts. How can you possibly be all the world needs you to be and all you want to be, when you are constantly battling with your mind….

“It [Embrace documentary] is about starting a conversation, a positive conversation where I am hoping that women hear not just my story, but also the many inspiring stories of women around the world. To[help them] make the choice to embrace their body, not be at war with their body and not be in a battle, because that's not fun".


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Feeling you are not good enough

19 year old athlete and law student Pani Mamuneas lacks confidence with females, due to his height. He has achondroplasia dwarfism and is 4ft 7” tall.

When asked if he had ever asked a girl our Pani replied:

“I don’t think I have; I don’t think I have ever asked a girl out. I think it’s the fear of rejection, because you always feel that you are not good enough for them….

“It was in high school where I actually realized that I am really different to people. That’s when bullying started to happen. The comments that I got from school have affected me now towards women”.

Pani has never had a girlfriend and applied to a dating agency in the hope of meeting someone special. Channel 4’s Undateables program documents his emotional response to learning that the agency has found him a ‘rather gorgeous’ match.




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