A is for Advertising, B is for Bariatric, C is for Consumerism…

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Why we eat is so extremely complicated no blog or article in a magazine would ever be able to fully give it the justice it needs.

I sit here today a little over 4 and a half stone (28.57kg or 63 pounds) lighter than I was a year ago. It hasn’t been easy and there has been times when losing it seemed impossible. There has been temptation and self discovery.

I wanted to focus on the help that I have had in this process. As I have made clear here previously a long term relationship has ended recently. I wish I could say I had the support during this process of my partner but I have come to realise that I did not. I was encouraged when I had lost but not encouraged to lose nor helped to stay on the straight and narrow when I was weak.

We eat because of emotion many of us. I remember once being asked why I eat by a professional and responding “I’m bored”. The response was “boredom is an emotion”. We don’t tend to look at it this way. Our environment is slowly killing us. Fast food is everywhere and food is often cheap.

I turned to the NHS for help in my weight loss goals. I should stress I am a huge supporter of the NHS generally however I cannot help but feel let down. I don’t usually do lists on my blog but I just want to highlight a few jaw dropping things that have happened over the last year:

1: I have never once seen the same dietician twice. Each time having to go over old ground again and again.

2: My first dietician freely admitted to having never helped anyone of my size before but that was “ok because people are getting bigger and we need to learn”.

3: When I asked this dietican for support in speaking to bariatric about advice and steps I could take to improve my weight loss situation she called back and freely admitted they couldn’t have cared less and just wanted her off the phone.

4: I repeatedly stressed I did not just want surgery and that I felt I needed to understand why I eat what I eat. They all agreed. Not one of them offered support in getting that help. I paid for a psychotherapist privately. Each time the option of surgery was given without address my issues.

5: When rushed into hospital in June for an unrelated condition, I was extremely emotional about my weight due to having been put on a stroke ward for two days (my father was a large man and a stroke killed him). The consultant on that ward could see I was determined to loose weight and wrote to my GP recommending immediate surgery for my weight. Not only was this never followed up by my GP but the recommendations for further investigation into why I was rushed into hospital were also never actioned.

We need to start taking weight loss seriously in this country and the causes of obesity. It is no good reacting to whatever the newspaper front pages splash on that day about the crisis. We need a plan and a way forward. I have sat on a bus and seen parents feed toddlers bottles of coke and Greggs sausage rolls. There needs to be more awareness. We need to combat the price of junk food compared to fresh fruit and vegtables. We need serious reductions in sugar, fat and still in salt even though we have made progress.

Anyone who thinks this is the fault entirely of the individual is wrong. This is the problem of society, consumerism and capitalism. Our food producers are accountable to nobody and nothing. High sugar drinks are marketed as sports products or “energy” drinks as though they are benefits. A salad is sold in all major fast food stores as a good thing disregarding the calories in the sauces and meat products they add to them. A recent report this week showed that half of parents cannot even identify their child as being overweight when told that they are by a medical professional.

This is no longer a ticking time bomb. This bomb is sat in our laps because for many of us it is spilling over onto them.

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