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Death to the diet!

Death to the diet!

I was anorexic when I was a teenager, so I know intimately the devastating effects of this potentially deadly illness. I’m been fully recovered for many years now and have written a book about eating disorders, Feast or Famine, which examines anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder. The reasons for people having these illnesses are complicated and varied. Some are triggered by a clear trauma – abuse, alcoholism in the family, death, separation, divorce or some other type of loss. Others are caused by a combination of factors, in which it is impossible to identify a single reason. Low self-esteem and personal confusion are common factors, and our dieting culture and ‘fat phobia’ certainly contribute. While eating disorders occur in people (usually women) of all religions, races, economic backgrounds and sexual orientations, they only occur in western countries. Dieting, or some disruption in normal eating patterns, is nearly always a trigger for an eating disorder.

Dieting has a lot to answer for! Today the dieting industry is a massive, US$60 billion a year money-making venture. Ironically, our obsession with being thin is actually making people larger. The sad truth is that weight-loss diets don’t work. Research shows that people who diet for the purpose of losing weight (as opposed to having a healthy lifestyle diet where weight loss is not the goal) not only end up putting the weight back on but often actually increase in size. That is why I say, ‘Death to the diet!’ Next time you are considering going on a weight-loss diet – don’t!

Food for thought?