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January 03, 2011

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Liz (LivingwithKids)

No you are quite right Rosie thinness isn't everything. I admire the way you have coped with anorexia enormously.

I do think it's worth remembering though I think that eating disorders can take different forms; bingeing and overeating can also be devastating. I have a history of heart disease in my family and I know the only way to change my genetic destiny is to take control of my health and lifestyle.

Rosie Scribble

Thank you, Liz, that means a lot.

You make a very relevant point - all forms of eating disorders can be devasting, and I've seen many people experiencing all different types. The emphasis at the moment seems to be on weight loss with new year diets, but of course that can easily start a cycle of binging, and it doesn't have to reach the point where someone is classed as having an eaing disorder to be completely miserable.

Geekymummy

I wish that there was more recognition that people really do come in all shapes and sizes. Nit everyone is meant to be thin. You can have a lot of fat and be perfectly healthy. "fat-ism" is still an acceptable prejudice.
I was bulimic myself, thanks partly to a mum who was very conscious of my (and her own) weight. I refuse to do that to my daughter. Great post and so very sorry for the loss of your friends.

Kate

I don't diet. I do eat healthily. I don't ban foods, because I know that is the fast track to craving them madly. Occasionally, I eat more than I should but the important thing for me now is that I don't binge.

I was dreadful in my late teens and early 20s. I would eat and eat and eat until I felt sick but I never made myself sick, I just couldn't. I was never diagnosed as having an eating disorder as such but I suspect I had one. There were times when I just couldn't control what I ate and I went to great lengths to cover up what I had done. In some ways, I am still ashamed of the things I did back then but at the same time, the person who did those things is so far removed from the person I am now that it doesn't seem real.

I agree that thinness isn't everything. I starved myself at 18 down to 8 st 7 (I'm over 5 ft 8)and it was a miserable time. I've hated being very overweight because I felt so bloody awful so this is for me, and my health. I'm not fully where I want to be just yet but I feel tons better for the weight loss and fitness routines I've got into over the last 11 months. It's been slow but it's been steady and I've been able to live my life quite well in the meantime and also not make it obvious to my daughter that I'm denying myself just to look better. My kids know I exercise to get fit but that's no bad thing - they think the aim is to be healthy, which it is.

Tis a fine line we tread - on the one hand, we're told the population is getting fatter and more obese by the year but I hate the way that parts of the media go on and on about the size of female celebrities (notice, it's never the men they witter on about) - the Katy Perry incident was the most disgusting of all of them. I also hate how female celebs also lose weight then release a fitness DVD. (And even then, some of them end up sliding back; proof, if ever it were needed, of how hard it can be to maintain such dramatic weight loss over a short period of time).

I think more people should complain about the way that the media obsess about the size of females in the public eye. The pressure they put on them is beyond ridiculous, and in turn, that feeds through to the average woman. I like to think I'm immune to it but I still want to be be slimmer. I do know where to stop tho. I won't ever go back to that 8st7 girl.

Rosie Scribble

I agree Geekymummy, I really wish there was more recognition that people do come in shapes and sizes. That seems like an excellent message for us to give to our children, and that they are special whatever they look like.

So sorry to hear of your own struggles. My fear has always been about passing my food issues on to my daughter and that has been the biggest motivator for me. So sorry to hear it was different for your own mum, but it has acted as a reminder to me of how influential we are in the lives of our own children. Thank you.

Rosie Scribble

Thanks Kate. Sounds like you've had a rotten time with food, especially in your late teens and early 20s which certainly sounds very disordered to me, and very distressing. It's good you say you are very far removed from that now too. Thankfully I'm getting to the point where I can say that too. A bad relationship with food is miserable isn't it?

The slow but steady approach has to be a lot better, and, as you say, it means children see fitness as a good thing and not that you are depriving yourself.

I'm with you on the whole celebrity thing - dreadful for all concerned, and the pressure can't be much fun on them either. Like with the fitness DVDs - it puts a huge emphasis on weight, for all of us, and that is not the talent that made them famous. What happened to focussing on that? I wish there was a solution, I really do. It means we need to work harder to make sure our children aren't picking up too many of the wrong messages.

I don't think we are ever immune to it, as you say. I pick up on every dieting message out there. It can't be a coincidence that I write about eating disorders every January. Only just realised that!

Mummy's Little Monkey

Great post Rosie, and what an eye-opening video. The ironic thing is, I think most of those women looked better in the 'before' shots!!!

Rosie Scribble

I think they look better before too. It's a shame they had to be altered to achieve someone's view of 'perfection'. Sad really.

Iota

Thanks for posting about this. It's such an important issue. Why are we so manipulated like this?

Metropolitan Mum

You know you hit a nerve there. Might be time for another Malnourished Monday post, it's been too long... xx

Rosie Scribble

Very good question. We shouldn't allow ourselves to be sucked in should me. Too many messages about body image and how we 'should' look has to be part of the problem.

Rosie Scribble

I know, Met Mum, I know. I seem to write about this every January. Coincidence? Yes, I think it's time for another Malnourished Monday :)

Lara_Milanova

Hi Rosie,

Sounds like you are well now. Well done!

My five year old daughter is slightly chubby but in no way obese. She says it herself 'Mummy, I just love food'. I try to restrict sugary and fatty snacks but couldn't possibly put her on a diet! Just hope she will 'stretch out' as she grows. However, she is already getting some 'fat' comments. I said to her recently 'that's enough food for one day really' to which she said 'are you worried I'll get too tall?'. So no self confidence damage for now but I do worry. All this starts too early. Children as young as five are picking up on it. Who is my daughter going to listen to, me or kids in the playground? Frankly, I don't know how to deal with this if it does become a big issue for her.
Kind regards,
Lara

ghostwritermummy

Well said, Rosie. I have more than enough experience of eating disorders and even my daughter (who was 5 at the time) has come home from school asking if she's fat. There is so much pressure and so many obstacles for young people to look 'perfect'. I jsut hope that I can educate my chidlren to have positive attitudes.
XxX

wendy powell

Hi Rosie, I'm so sorry for the loss of your poor friends. Isn't it terrifying how many of us have been affected by this crap? Like Kate, I struggled when I was younger & my way out of it all was discovering health & fitness (eventually!). My blog covers body image (have you seen the Shape of a Mother site? I blogged about it recently, its pretty inspiring)as much as I cover health & fitness, as I really believe that for us women, body confidence is 90% in our head & only 10% what it actually looks like...
Thanks for also bringing up the issue of airbrushing - not only are these so-called aspirational body shapes & faces unhealthy & clone-like - they're not even bloody real!! I see one of my very biggest challenges as a mother as keeping my daughter sane, confident & healthy in this craziness (& not forgetting keeping my son on planet earth in his image of what a real girl or woman looks like)

Mwa (Lost in Translation)

That kind of thing worries me A LOT as well. I have too many issues with my own body shape - while I think I shouldn't - and I so wish I could raise my children without the same problems. I posted on it today as a matter of fact.

Rosie Scribble

Hi Lara, it's a tough one isn't it. I agree that children do seem to pick up on issues of body size very early these days. Your daughter is still very young. All I can think to do is to promote a healthy diet as far as possible and encourage her to join in some fun exercise, then leave it at that. Otherwise there's a danger of creating an issue when there isn't one.

My daughter (aged 7) loves sweets and chocolates but I try to remind her that she needs to have a good amount of healthy food too.

It is always a worry that they'll develop some sort of food or body image obsession. I try to let my daughter know she is special and loved - a good amount of self-confidence can be a huge help in preventing serious problems developing in the future.

Rosie Scribble

Thanks ghostwritermummy. My daughter once asked me if she was fat - she is very petite. She was only about six. It is worrying to here children so young using language like that isn't it. There is a lot of pressure, as you say. It's hard to get the message across that they don't have to be stick thin to be 'perfect' when society seems to be giving the clear message that they need to be exactly that. I think our own experiences put us in a good position to be supportive, which is one positive I suppose.

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