Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Is anorexia narcissism

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Baroness Bakewell (82) voiced what turned out to be a very controversial opinion of anorexia.
She believes that anorexia is “one example of the way [young] people have become very self-regarding”.

"I am alarmed”, she said, “by anorexia among young people, which arises presumably because they are preoccupied with being beautiful and healthy and thin.
"No one has anorexia in societies where there is not enough food.

"They do not have anorexia in the camps in Syria. I think it's possible anorexia could be about narcissism. A sign of the overindulgence of our society, over-introspection, narcissism really."

Baroness Bakewell’s comments received much media, professional and public attention. Responses included:

"Anorexia, just like any other mental health problem”, said the spokeswoman for Time to Change (mental health campaign run by the charities Mind and Rethink), "is a genuine and debilitating condition, with complex causes.

"The stigma and misunderstanding surrounding these issues only makes life harder for people going through them, so what we need is increased understanding and support."

"It's not your daughter who's narcissistic: it's the culture," a parent tweeted.

In a blog response, research student Emma Seaber, stated: "Bakewell's view is symptomatic of a broader misunderstanding of eating disorders.
"And her presentation of her opinion in the national press is part of a media trend propelling pervasive beliefs about the influence of mass media on anorexia incidence or on 'prospective' anorexia patients."

Responding to the public debate Baroness Bakewell tweeted: "If I've stirred a public discussion about anorexia... Good. Let's have more research and information."
She then insisted that she had been "misinterpreted”, adding “I am deeply sad that young people get anorexia and was speculating loosely about what might cause it."


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The positive psychological impact of beauty and self care


Broadcaster and psychotherapist Lucy Beresford recently appeared on Sky News Morning Stories. During the short 84 second slot; she discussed how clothes and personal grooming positively affects a woman’s self confidence:

"It's fashionable at the moment to knock the beauty industry for damaging the self esteem of men and women. However, I believe in the positive psychological impact of beauty and good self care. I call this the stiletto effect, men you have to trust me on this one, when a woman puts on high heels her whole silhouette changes; she holds herself taller she might even walk with a bit of a wiggle a bit of a swagger. Similarly when we attend to our appearance, even if it's just putting moisturiser on our skin, our inner alpha male or female is on display, we feel invincible.

"Even when our world is falling apart around us, beauty can empower us with an aura of confidence that lifts the spirit and this is vital, because self respect and confidence go hand-in-hand. If we feel worthy and valuable then we are less likely to tolerate being treated shabbily. Now there is clearly a fine line between looking dolled up and dismissed as an airhead and appearing content in your own skin. As an agony aunt and psychotherapist I regard healthy bodily care as a crucial part of self-respect. So remember treat your body with love and respect. Believe today in your own beauty".


Friday, March 11, 2016

Height and body mass affects socioeconomic status

University of Exeter scientists (findings published in the BMJ), have used genetics to see the effects on employment and salary of men being shorter or women having a higher body mass index (fat).

The survey utilized data from 120,000 participants in the UK Biobank (aged between 40 and 70) to analyse genetic variants, together with actual height and weight, to determine whether or not shorter stature or higher BMI could lead to poorer chances in life.

Discussing the project Tim Fraying Professor of Human Genetics said: “We have known for a long time that your height and BMI are correlated with how well off you are. People from poorer backgrounds and less well educated backgrounds tend to be a bit shorter and they tend to be a bit fatter. We wanted to ask the question: ‘could the association go the other way round’? So we know that poverty likely influences your height and your BMI, but could there be something simply about the way you look, being a bit fatter being a bit shorter, could that actually influence your chances in life as measured by things like your income”.


- If a man was 3 inches (7.5cm) shorter for no other reason than his genetics, this would lead to him having an income £1,500 per year less than his taller counterpart.

- If a woman was a stone heavier (6.3kg) for no other reason than her genetics, this would lead to her having an income £1,500 less per year than a comparable woman of the same height who was a stone lighter.

“What our data shows, the strongest level of evidence, is that there is a causal effect”, concluded Tim Fraying. “That simply something about being a bit fatter as a woman or being a bit shorter as a man lowers your chances in life and that's not something that we really knew with any concrete evidence before".

Implications and further study:

Why is the study important? "Well it's up to scientists from sociology and psychology to answer that question", he said, "but clearly things like; ‘are women who are bit more overweight being discriminated against in the workplace’ needs more investigation. Is it something about being more depressed and having a lower self-esteem? We know that the levels of depression are higher with women who are more overweight. And are we as employers for example sitting in an interview room and subconsciously choosing the thinner woman rather than the fat woman, even though we have the same intellect and CV in front of us. If that's the case, that's really bad for the woman and it's also bad for society”.

I think more investigation is required before we can come to any firm conclusions. One thing I know from experience, self-confidence particularly when coupled with competence, has a great impact on success in all areas of life including work. E.g. Dawn French and Alan Sugar".


Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Nobody wants to see anybody really age

Actor George Clooney (54) stated that he was thinking of transitioning from being in front of the camera to behind it i.e.. from acting to directing. In a BBC interview he sited aging as one of the reasons behind the change:

“As you age on screen you get to that point where you really understand that, you know, you can't stay in front of the camera your whole life. It's much more fun to be, and it's infinitely more creative to be directing. I think nobody really wants to see anybody really age. You know, it's a very unforgiving thing, the camera is, and so aging becomes something that you know, you try to do less and less on screen. You try to pick the films that work best for you and as you age they become less and less.”


Friday, March 04, 2016

How clothes harms health

Have you ever given any thoughts to the fact that your clothes affects more than your appearance?

How about the possibility that how you dress could negatively impact your health?

The infographic below details how your clothes could harm you.

Click on the image to view enlargement.


Wednesday, March 02, 2016

I don't look like a model. I am not a babe

The BBC’s Magazine News looking at six women from around the world, detailing how they came to excel at their sport, the obstacles, challenges and failures that they had to overcome in order to triumph, recently showcased Brazilian Silvana Lima.

Silvana is the best female surfer in Brazil; she had to overcome obstacles associated with her physical appearance. The main issue was that she (in her own words) does not ‘look like a model’. For many years the way Silvana looked effectively stood in the way of her securing brand sponsorship. Happily she now has a sponsor.

Speaking about her surfing career, appearance and sponsorship issues Silvana said:

“I feel free when I'm inside water. It's a totally unique feeling. To be inside the water; that huge expanse of water.... It's a wonderful sensation. But at the same time you're having problems, you think about it a lot when you're in the water. I've always surfed with the boys and find my focus to surf like a man, so my style in the water is radical. I was seven when I started surfing. Twenty three years of surfing; eight time’s best surfer in Brazil, two time second in the world.

I don't look like a model. I am not a babe. I am a surfer, a professional one. The surf-wear brands, when it comes to women, they want both models and surfers. So if you don't look like a model, you end up without a sponsor, which is what happened to me. You’re excluded, you’re disposable. Men don't have these problems. I started asking for sponsorship and got many “no’s”. Then the idea of breeding French Bulldogs came to me. It helped me fund my trips. I was the winner in New Zealand thanks to the puppies who paid for it.

I could get breast implants, dye my hair, wear contact lenses to make my eyes blue… but it would be so weird, nobody would recognise me. It wouldn't be me.

I've faced many obstacles in childhood. I carry them with me all the time, but I think that's a good thing. I think it's good for a person to talk it out. I think of my past, of what I didn't have and what I have today. It makes me want to get better at sport.

My family lived in a shack on the beach. I use to imagine how it would be interesting to live in a real house, a normal one, and have neighbours. My first board was a plank of wood. I found a way to make a hole in it and insert a fin.

From that moment my life is improved. Surfing ended up changing my life completely and has also given me the opportunity to help my family.

This year, in terms of sponsorship, was brilliant. A very important brand is now backing me. I think I'm doing well and I want to do more”.