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Saturday, 6 January 2007

Eating disorders

I have been distracted today from my rant on the material society by the news items on anorexia and eating disorders in general. It made me wonder why anorexia is regarded as an illness when obesity is regarded as self-inflicted.

I feel desperately sorry for sufferers of anorexia or bulimia as it must be awful to have what is in effect a fear of food. Everyone has to eat to stay alive, and to fear the very substance which nourishes you is tantamount to a suicide wish.

Websites which promote anorexia as a lifestyle choice are an abomination. These sites are preying on those who have low self-esteem and who are vulnerable to the suggestion that they may be overweight. How can anyone think a skeleton covered in skin looks attractive or healthy?

I find magazines which take photographs of celebrities and then comment adversely on their weight gain however microscopic, almost as bad as anorexia promoting web sites. Think of the media bashing which Kate Winslet, Sophie Dahl and Renee Zellwegger (in her Bridget Jones incarnation) have received. At least Kate Winslet has made it very clear she is happy with her shape and does not wish to chamge it.

The trend in America, which is starting on this side of the Atlantic as well, for encouraging women to fit it into size zero clothes is pushing people towards anorexia. For most average size Britons size zero means virtually existing on fresh air.

I upset someone recently by saying that I considered her delight in getting into a pair of size 6 jeans misplaced. This is someone who is 26, about 5ft 7ins tall, and I would suspect probably weighs no more than 8.5st. She has, to me, an unhealthy attitude to food. You get lots of comments from her about certain foods being forbidden or not in accordance with her food combining principles, or they make her bloated etc. An average size meal would probably make her feel bloated as she eats very little normally. What's more she is always going down with bad colds, or has stomach upsets, feels tired all the time, falls asleep when she gets home from work etc. This girl needs help, not encouragement to lose weight.

I'm pleased there have been one or two items in the media recently saying research has shown dieting can be dangerous. It has been suggested statistics on overweight people suffering heart attacks may have been misinterpreted, if they are looked at more closely. Many of those who died of heart attacks have died while they have been dieting. Those people whose weight is stable are less likely to suffer heart attacks. I read somewhere recently - I think it was in Shelley Bovey's fascinating book - The forbidden body: why being fat is not a sin - that it is actually statistically more unhealthy to be underweight!!

Which brings us back to anorexia . . . . .

Material society: saw a cushion I liked in 'You' magazine - Mail on Sunday - a few weeks ago. It was a special offer so I expected it to be cheap. It was about 16ins by 16ins covered in an attractive black and white leafy print.

Guess how much?

It was £45 reduced from a staggering £68. It wasn't even a designer name.

Cushion pad - say £1.25; material - probably about 0.6m - say £5.00; zip £0.75; cotton etc. Cost price say about £7.50 - time taken to make it - 30mins. If I'd sold it for £20 I'd have been making a reasonable profit.

Maybe I ought to make cushions for a living . . . . . .

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