As you know, I am not generally a fan of shows like ‘Embarrassing Fat Bodies’ or ‘Supersize vs Superskinny’ or ‘Big Body Squad’, for a number of reasons really. Rather than raising understanding, I think they can foster a kind of hatred almost…making people resent the fact that their taxes fund obesity surgery, equipment to help the morbidly obese, and also benefits to support those than cannot work due to their weight. My main issue with EFB is that the answer to most problems seems to be weight loss surgery – which is paid for by the show…or rather by the private hospitals who provide the surgery in return for a mention. My issue with SSvsSS is that it now shows a short term lifestyle swap and often switches the diet of someone with disordered eating, with that of another person with disordered eating…and the fact that they use fat Americans to scare us, when we have plenty of people in the UK who could demonstrate super morbid obesity. I also don’t understand how making people stand there in their underwear helps…cover them up and stick them in leggings…they look just as bad (I know, I wear them!) I just don’t like the ‘just for TV’ stuff, even if that is the point of it; it feels a bit degrading for me. Going back a couple of years, the show seemed to have a far better format, but recently it has been a bit pants! And BBS I think highlights the plight of the severely obese well, but there seems to be a trend for explaining exactly how much all of the equipment costs…perhaps to put us off getting that big, but not exactly working to increase empathy and understanding in the tax payer!
But I won’t get on my high horse about it all – as there are a few saving graces – and I think that the shows mission / aims mean well. The two main saving graces for me are two people whom I have admired for a while – Professor Paul Gately and Anna Richardson. I like their style and I like the results they get.
Prof Paul is a Carnegie professor of exercise and obesity and technical director of MoreLife (formerly Carnegie Weight Management) at Leeds Metropolitan University. His specialties include weight loss in children and adults, assessment of methods used to assess overweight and obesity, and development of treatment programs for overweight and obese children and adults, with his main interest in childhood obesity treatment strategies. MoreLife run a series of weight loss camps around the UK and those of you who saw Big Body Squad will have seen Prof Paul working with a 35st teenager. Prof Paul worked in American ‘fat camps’ in the late 80’s and wanted to create a different vision for UK camps. He didn’t feel that a strict regime of ‘boot camp’ was the answer; it was about creating a safe environment so that people could explore their attitudes towards food, activity and lifestyles, and gain a better understanding of how to make positive steps towards a healthier future.
The reason why I adore the work that this guy does is that he helps people tackle their issues from a young age and really seems to understand that there is far more to weight loss than meets the eye. His comments on the MoreLife website really rings true, “Traditional solutions seem to completely ignore why people overeat or are inactive. A long time ago I decided that there must be a better way and today our results speak for themselves. I am extremely proud of every person who comes to us having made the decision now is the time for action. My team and I work for every individual that attends a MoreLife programme and we are constantly searching for information and conducting regular research to ensure we deliver the best programmes possible that result in lasting change.” I remember seeing him quite some time ago on TV – I can’t remember the program – and wished I had had the opportunity to work with him when I had been younger…at 15 I weighed over 18st, and would have loved the opportunity to crack my issues at that age. There just wasn’t the support around at that time really though, and I think I needed to work it out and understand that the psychology behind my eating had to be addressed.
Prof Paul is also a trustee of a charity called HOOP UK – Helping Overcome Obesity Problems – and put me in touch with them via Twitter…yes, he tweeted me…how exciting?! I have taken a look at the website and discovered that the charity was set up Lesley McCormack – a mum who was appalled at the lack of support for her then overweight daughter. HOOP ‘aim to connect individuals and organisations across networks and fuelled by the sharing of specialist expertise, knowledge and information. Our goal is to do this in such a way that also enables the issue of obesity to be more clearly recognised and understood by a wider audience.’ It looks like a fantastic organisation and I am going to see if there is a way that I could perhaps get involved.
As for Anna, well, I probably have a girl crush on Anna – and my other half has a little crush on her too…although he tries to tell me otherwise! I think she is ballsy, isn’t afraid of ploughing through the crap and addressing the real issues, and I just like her style – she isn’t patronising, and she seems to have a wicked sense of humour. When she fronts a show, I will watch as I know that what she does – even if the rest of the show is pants – will highlight issues that I have faced or want to know more about. I feel like I haven’t done her much justice – given how much I have written about Prof Paul – but she is wonderful and you can watch her on Secret Eaters at the moment (Channel 4, Thursday, 8pm).
Anyway, I was so excited yesterday afternoon to have tiny Twitter conversations with both of my ‘idols’ – so excited that I had to ring my family and tell them…
…I don’t want to get all ‘fan girl’ about it, as that isn’t in my nature. I guess I was so excited because these people do what I would love to do. They raise awareness of obesity and the associated issues and they promote ways to tackle it. If I had been able to watch some of the stuff that Anna and her psychologist discuss surrounding mindful eating, or had been able to attend one of Prof Paul’s weight loss camps, earlier on in life, I don’t think that I would be sitting here now at 32 years old and weighing just under 32st. But hey, life is full of ‘if only’ and it doesn’t do me any favours thinking of the past – other than in terms of learning from past mistakes.
I am focusing on the future and have nearly lost 12st – which is pretty damn good if I do say so myself. I will continue to work hard at shifting this weight and will delve into the psychology of weight gain / loss even further. One day I too hope to work with people who need support to do what I am trying to do, and one day I too hope to inspire people the way Prof Paul and Anna have inspired me!
In the meantime, let’s take a look at the usuals…
Today has been rather traumatic…I have had my hair cut…and the hairdresser was a little scissor happy! So my lovely long dark locks are now rather short, just-below-neck, swishy locks. It’s okay as the stuff grows rather quickly – as does my moustache and beardy hair! – I just like to be dramatic at times, as you know by now! My niece popped to my house for a haircut too and she said that she wanted it just like mine so we could be princesses together – how cute?! I have to take the niceties now, as when she hits her teenage years – not for nine years yet – she won’t want to know me. But it was a good morning, although I had washed my hair in preparation for the cut and decided to use some treatments and protective sprays that other hairdressers had convinced me to buy. Am I the only one that this happens to? I can’t seem to say ‘no’ when they pimp hair products onto me! Anyway, I tried an anti-snap serum and a protective heat spray, the results of which meant that by the time the hairdresser arrived she could hardly get a comb through my naturally thick hair…made thicker by the crap I had piled on. So my hair is far from the glossy loveliness I was hoping for, and more like the results of an oil rig malfunction…there goes my idea of showing off my new do during weigh in tomorrow! And the hairdresser did make me smile, bless her. She seems to lack emotional or social intelligence and was ranting away about how fat she was and how awful it would be if she had to face a ‘fat’ summer again. I think, at best, she has about a stone to lose – and I know that weight is relative, and that if she’s never been big then that extra stone will mean a lot to her. But come on, at least have the nouse to recognise that you are cutting the hair of a super morbidly obese person…who wants to ram the copious amount of hair you have chopped off her head, down your throat because you are rambling on about your little ankles not being to hold your mammoth body…when she still has the equivalent of two adults to lose! Anyway, enough of that – I am like a wiggly child today that can’t sit still – it is the last ‘Broadchurch’ tonight and I think my other half and I are going to have a little wager as to who the culprit is…I think my money is on the family of the female detective!
Breakfast: Porridge with scan bran and almond milk (9.5 syns) and a banana.
So my food was lovely again today! Brekkie was the usual, and lunch was cold leftover coriander turkey – I love cold leftovers. It was rather spicy today though as the flavours had developed overnight, but still delicious and full of lovely veggies. Dinner was a new recipe from the ‘Taste of Asia’ book – Sri Lankan yellow beef curry…and it was lush! I didn’t follow the cooking instructions though – I just bunged it all in my slow cooker, and I also added some extra veggies – mushrooms and loads of spinach. Oh, and I couldn’t find a whole butternut squash, so I used ready prepared butternut squash and sweet potato chunks…so a nice variety of colour and flavour in there. I also swapped the coconut milk for a coconut yogurt to lower the ‘syns’. This is one I am definitely making again, and I have leftovers for tomorrow too which is a bonus! Next time though, I think I might use less stock as it was a tiny bit watery. I saved my snacks for evening TV viewing as it was a good night…so no book reading tonight…Rebus will have to wait!
Exercise: Not much today I’m afraid – amongst the hair cut and catching up with my sister, and rustling up my culinary delights…and being a bit lazy, I haven’t done much. I am also having issues at the moment – my right leg keeps giving way and I have a sharp pain in my groin area (urgh…hate the word ‘groin’!) which feels almost like a trapped nerve. I think I will have to pluck up the courage for a trip to the docs…I am just very aware that they will look me up and down and blame it on my weight – hmm…tell me something I don’t know! So I am wondering if I should just try and crack on with my treadmill and work through the pain. I might attempt a gentle stroll on it and see what happens – and if I post a pic of a big hole in my lounge wall, you know it didn’t go well!
Thank you for reading my lovelies – and best of luck to all of you weighing in this week…let’s hope that the diet fairies have sprinkled their magic calorie-free dust all over us!
Weight Loss Bitch xxx