Friday, January 30, 2015

Thinking yourself fat

The famous words of wisdom quote: ‘For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he*’, is as true today, as it was when it was written thousands of years ago.

Recently, US researchers from Florida State University, have found that individuals (male & female) who erroneously think they are overweight are 'more likely (40%) to be obese ( BMI of 30 or more) later in life’; they are literally able to think themselves fat.

6,500 teens and young adults aged 16 and 28 took part in the study. Data** collected when each individual was 16 years old was analysed. The data included information on height, weight and weight related body image (participant scored themselves between 1 and 5 e.g. 1 - very underweight and 5 -very overweight).

Body image/self perception issues, the battleground of which is in the mind, are traditionally highlighted as an early indicator of the person developing eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. The disorders are the result of unhealthy behaviours; behaviours which the individual may find difficult to control, such as over eating, consuming diet pills or vomiting. The results of this study suggest that obesity should be added to the list of potential health issues.

Interestingly, boys have been identified as being at greater risks than girls; contrary to conventional wisdom that body image issues are female problems. Boys who wrongly perceived themselves as overweight had an 89% increased risk of later obesity in compared to boys who do not have a distorted view of themselves.
“Our research”, said Angelina Sutin (study author), “shows that psychological factors are important in the development of obesity.

“Misperception is typically taken as a sign of an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia, but our research shows that it may also signal a long-term risk of obesity.

“The teens are likely also influenced by weight-related stigmatisation, which is itself associated with obesity.

“Adolescents who misperceive themselves as being overweight may not take the steps necessary to maintain a healthy weight.

“...[as] they gain weight, they physically become what they have long perceived themselves to be.

“At this point, it is not really clear [why boys are more affected than girls]. It may be that girls are more attentive to their weight and may intervene earlier when they experience any weight gain. As such, the self-fulfilling prophecy may be stronger for boys than for girls.”


*Proverbs 23:7 King James Version (KJV) ** National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Fall in cosmetic sugery numbers

Resent figures* signal a fall in the number of people electing to have cosmetic surgery. In 2014 45,406 surgical procedures took place, down 9% from 50,122 in 2013.

Taking a closer, look we see that the top 10 cosmetic surgery procedures in 2014, were down when compared to 2013 as follows:

1. Breast augmentation - down 23% to 8,619
2. Eyelid surgery - down 1% to 7,752
3. Face and neck lifts - up 1% to 6,402
4. Breast reduction - up 1% to 5,528
5. Liposuction - up 7% to 4,627
6. Nose jobs - down 24% to 3,690
7. Fat transfer operations - down 4% to 3,155
8. Tummy tucks - down 20% to 2,713
9. Brow lifts - down 7% to 1,978
10. Ear corrections - down 20% to 942

Dr Rajiv Grover, a consultant plastic surgeon explained the fall to the BBC:

"Last year's figures [for 2013] were inflated by the 2012 PIP crisis and a large number of people needed to have implants replaced. So breast augmentation figures went up artificially because of the large number of replacements."

Dr Grover also commented on how economic conditions could directly impact the numbers of procedures preformed.
"Cosmetic surgery is not a requirement, it is a desire, so during a number of years of austerity people will have put that on hold for a few years and save money."

Julie Court (my Body Beautiful founder) said:

“There is a significant reduction in the number of women having breast augmentation. The PPI scandal may have caused many to take cosmetic surgery and the associated health risks much more seriously. I see this as a good thing.

"The fall in numbers could also be pointing to the fact that perception and cultural norms associated with body image are changing. Last year a number of celebrities with very large implants, elected to reduce their bust to a much more natural size. E.g. Katie Price reduced her bust to 32B from 32FF and Victoria Beckham, commenting on her smaller bust (to Allure magazine) said “I don’t have them anymore. I think I may have purchased them.”


*The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps)


Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Sun - Page 3

After 44 years, The Sun newspaper has said good bye to featuring topless women on page 3 of the newspaper.

For many years, the practise has put The Sun on the receiving end of much criticism for being sexiest and outdated. E.g. An online petition against showing topless women has so far acquired over 215,000 signatures.

The move away from topless page 3 features is not as revolutionary as it may initially appear:

- topless models can still be found in The Sun’s online edition. Today their website proudly proclaimed: ‘Our stable of stunning Page 3 girls hasn’t gone anywhere - all your favourites are here every day online.’
- the newspaper had previously ceased publishing topless photos in their Irish publication, at weekends and during the week on occasion.

Interestingly, the Sun has not announced the change; letting the evidence speak for itself. The Times, commented that it believed that Rupert Murdoch (News Corp executive chairman) had signed off the change.

Commenting on the BBC Ms Holmes (No More Page Three campaign) said that The Sun had made a "step in the right direction”. Acknowledging that they were still printing images of scantily clothed women she added: "The Sun hasn't suddenly decided that women say, think and do interesting and incredible things, it's still basically saying women are here for decoration."

In a brief statement, the prime minister's spokesman said: "He [PM] thinks what newspapers publish is a matter for newspapers. His view is that editorial decisions are for editors." The spokesman did not give any indication of the Prime Ministers feelings about the newspapers decision.
Education Secretary (and women and equalities minister) Nicky Morgan, said the move was "long overdue ….. [and] a small but significant step towards improving media portrayal of women and girls."

There were some viewpoints that opposed the change. Among them were former topless models:

a) Jodie Marsh tweeted:
"So called 'feminists' really annoy me. Telling girls they shouldn't do page 3 is NOT being a feminist; women should do WHATEVER they want!!"

b) Nicola McLean commenting on ITV said:
"I don't think it is outdated. I think the girls still look fantastic on the page, they still clearly enjoy what they are doing, and people still want to see it."

It is not known if the move away from topless page 3 models is permanent or if it will be reversed at a future date.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How males affect female body image

Researchers* recently recruited 450 predominantly white women, to study how men affected their body image.

Study participants were divided into two groups as follows:

One: i) Shown images of very thin women and ii) told that men were more attracted to thin women.
Two: i) Shown images of larger women and ii) told that men were more attracted to larger women.

Each group was then asked to complete a body image questionnaire.


Belief (what they were told) that men found a certain body size attractive, directly impacted how satisfied the women were with their own bodies. Those who thought that men preferred fuller figures were more satisfied than the women who thought men preferred thinner women. Body image improvements, associated with men liking larger body types, were not repeated when the participants were told that women preferred the appearance of lager bodies.

Lead study author Andrea Meltzer commented that many women believe that men prefer very thin women. This perception is heavily influenced by the ‘ideal’ media images that have a clear preference for super thin females.

*Southern Methodist University


Friday, January 16, 2015

Food for thought

This display greeted me and other members of the gym this week. It detailed ‘typical servings of commonly perceived healthy foods.’

The sugar in each bowl represents the amount of sugar that is released into a person’s body, after the associated food item is broken down during the digestive process.

I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about calories,sugar and fat. Despite this the information in this display came as a surprise. On first observation, the amount of sugar involved was far from intuitive; it gave me much food for thought.

Teaspoons of sugar:

3 Shredded Wheat           11
2 Crispbread                   5.4
Glass of orange juice       8.4
Pasta (portion)                 11
Breakfast cereal bar           5
2 slices of brown bread       7


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

10 Lessons I want my son to learn

As the mother of a teenage son (14), I found myself essentially agreeing with the sentiments expressed in the blog post titled: ‘10 Lessons I want my son to learn before he becomes a teenager.’

The 10 statements are listed below. Details can be found here: The next family.

1. Kindness is power, not weakness
2. A girl's body belongs ONLY to her.
3. Express your feelings
4. Cook, clean, and do your own laundry.
5. Say "please," "thank you," and "excuse me" every day.
6. Don't trust everyone.
7. A little confidence goes a long way, even if you have to fake it.
8. Never kiss and tell.
9. Sometimes the joke is just not worth it.
10. Explore the world.


Friday, January 09, 2015

'Plus size fashion is very much in vogue'

The growing number of overweight and obese women in Britain has resulted in the fashion industry waking up to the fact that they represent a great opportunity to gain new customers and increase profit. In 2015 plus size women have an array of fashion options that were not available to women in past decades. The change is similar to the explosion of fashionable maternity wear that older mothers, grandmothers and previous generations of mothers could only dream of.

In the first episode of Channel 4’s Weighing up the Enemy, Dr Christian Jessen announced:

"Its official the world of fashion is no longer the domain of just size zero. Now plus size fashion is very much in vogue."

Read Article


Monday, January 05, 2015

New Year resolutions - Plan for the unexpected

“I am not going to make a New Year resolution”, a friend responded to a question that was addressed to the group of us, who met for lunch yesterday. “I don’t believe in them, mainly because I tend to break them half way through January”, she confessed somewhat ruefully.

“Does early failure of a resolution”, I asked myself, “mean that the whole endeavour is a failure and that the person involved should simply give up and accept defeat”?

“No”, I said silently answering my own question.

The road to success is seldom straight, well paved and traffic free. There are almost always uneven difficult to traverse sections, unforeseen obstacles, bends, the actions of others that are outside of your control and decision crossroads to experience before you can arrive at your desired destination.

If, like my friend, you would like to do or achieve something in 2015, please don’t give up at the first hurdle or apparent failure. A successful outcome is not all or nothing. It is OK to make mistakes, take time out and even mess things up to such an extent that you find yourself back at the starting point. None of these occurrences necessarily means that you have failed; what is does mean however, is that you may need to do things a little differently in order to succeed.

E.g. you have a weight loss goal, but you have found it impossible to stick to a 1200 calories a day diet. Why not increase your daily intake to 1500 calories and at the same time increase your energy output by walking to the shops/ work a few times a week. It may take you longer to lose the desired amount of weight, but this change will make your weight loss goal achievable; which in the long run is what really matters.

If you have started out on your New Year resolution journey towards your chosen destination, remember that the journey is just as, if not more important then the destination. Plan for the unexpected, know that adjustments will probably be necessary, be flexible and enjoy the journey as you keep your eyes on the destination.

Good luck and happy New Year.