Category Archives: Eating disorders

​'Before, I couldn't walk 200m'​ – why surgery can be life-changing for super-obese children

As many as 90,000 children in England could be considered eligible for bariatric surgery, yet only 18 operations were performed last year. Shouldn’t there be many more?

When Vicky Counsell was 16, her doctor told her that if she didn’t have surgery to reduce her weight, there was a good chance it would kill her. She was 140kg (22st), her weight gain accelerated by the steroids she was taking for a lung condition, and she had tried everything to lose it. “It was an easy choice,” she says. “It was life or death.” At 17, she had gastric band surgery, in which a band around the stomach creates a small pouch, meaning only a small amount of food can be consumed. Ten years on, she has lost more than 44kg (7st). “Before the surgery, I couldn’t even walk on the flat for 200m,” she says. “Now I walk for miles.” She works as a support worker for older people, a physical job she couldn’t have done before.

Although it has “definitely been worth it”, she wasn’t prepared for how difficult living with a gastric band would be. “I remember the doctors telling me I wouldn’t be able to eat a lot of food, but I don’t think I realised how tough it would be,” she says. “At the very beginning I couldn’t even keep water or juice down. Now I can’t eat bread, pizza or anything high-carb.” It can be difficult going to restaurants with friends and explaining to waiters what she can and can’t eat, and she says her portion sizes are about what you would give a child. It is a lifelong commitment, which as a teenager she says she didn’t really grasp.

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Source: gad

My double life as a food writer and bulimic

For years, Louise Gray lived with a secret. She was a respected food writer, but she’d also struggled with a serious eating disorder since her teens. Here she reveals how she coped

The annual Guild of Food Writers Awards is a bit like the Oscars for foodies. When my name was called, I leapt out of my seat and ran to the stage to receive two awards. I even gave a speech, though I managed to keep it short – and not cry. In the audience of 300 food writers, journalists and chefs packed into a trendy warehouse venue in London, I could see many of my heroes applauding. Previous winners of the awards for food book and investigative food work included Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver and Heston Blumenthal. It should have been a moment of great triumph. But I felt like a fraud.

What the hell was I doing here? I had become a food writer entirely by accident. I looked around at all these modern-day gurus on how to cook and how to eat and knew I had a very different relationship with food. I had a terrible secret.

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Source: gad

How I beat anorexia by savouring the lavish meals of literature

Laura Freeman had the eating disorder since her teens, but the enticing food conjured by Charles Dickens and Laurie Lee set her free

Laura Freeman was first diagnosed with anorexia aged 14. A decade later she had begun to rebuild her life but still struggled with her attitude to food, eating small portions of the same thing for months on end. “At 24, I’d got to the point where I was recovered enough that I could eat, but only in a very formulaic way,” she says. “I had a pretty boring diet. It was more about getting through each day.”

Then one day she read a passage in Siegfried Sassoon’s 1928 Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man describing “a breakfast of boiled eggs eaten in winter”. It changed everything.

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Source: gad

'People shouldn't have to move': getting care for an eating disorder

Becca had to relocate to get treatment after being told she would be put on a waiting list

Eating disorders: NHS reports surge in hospital admissions

Even though an eating disorder has disrupted many aspects of Becca’s life, she never expected to have to relocate because of it. But after a spell in hospital while at university, she could not move back home.

“My inpatient unit said I had to start treatment within two weeks but when I approached services in Norfolk, where I am from, I was told I’d be put on their waiting list … I didn’t know how long that could take,” she said.

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Source: gad

Eating disorders: NHS reports surge in hospital admissions

Exclusive: Experts say NHS services are failing those in need of help as admissions nearly double in six years

‘People shouldn’t have to move away’: getting care for an eating disorder

The number of admissions to hospital of patients with potentially life-threatening eating disorders has almost doubled over the past six years, amid warnings from experts that NHS services to tackle anorexia and bulimia are failing to help those in need.

Related: What are your experiences of eating disorder treatment? Tell us

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Source: gad

Perfectionism is destroying the mental health of my millennial generation | Daisy Buchanan

It began at school, with A-star expectations and a horror of failure. Now we’re on social media platforms, locked into a game of mutually assured depression

During many job interviews, it’s common to be asked: “What’s your biggest weakness?” It’s a horrible question to respond to on the spot. We know it’s a trick, and the answer isn’t: “Sometimes it takes me more than two hours to stop looking at my phone and get dressed after a shower,” or: “I spend my free time constructing elaborate revenge fantasies.”

The cheat’s answer of choice, the panicky pick that puts you in a better light than the truth might, is along the lines of: “I’m a perfectionist.”

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Source: gad