'Fattitude' - Because Every BODY Deserves Respect.

Stop Press: Fattitude, the feature-length documentary highlighting fat prejudice – and what we can do about it – is in post-production.

Lindsey (L) and Veri (R)

Lindsey (L) and Veri (R)

And – fundraising.

It’s a few months now since I posted “Fattitude Has the Right Attitude!“,my in-depth interview with Fattitude’s filmmakers Lindsey Averill and Veri Lieberman. The team have been busy working on the film, developing their new fundraising campaign and re-launching their website, www.fattitudethemovie.com.

Why donate? Because…

…the film examines how popular media perpetuates the fat hatred and fat-shaming that results in a very real cultural bias and a civil rights issue for people who are living in fat bodies…offering an alternative way of thinking. – Lindsey Averill

We desperately need to educate against this very real discrimination. A society with only one acceptable body type creates a toxic environment where eating disorders, poor self-esteem and negative body image will flourish. Not acceptable.

Wanting to see how the team were getting on, I recently I caught up with Lindsey via Skype (she in Florida, me in London). As a body image activist, academic, feminist and documentary film-maker, Lindsey is as determined as ever to get Fattitude into the public domain.

What did I learn?

  • They are seeking additional funds of $100K.
  • Post-production costs for a feature length documentary film are very high.
  • The trolls and stalkers are still lurking. The line between free speech and hate speech is a fine line.

The plan, Lindsey told me, is to bring the finished documentary in 2016 to festivals, and then on to a …continue reading ‘Fattitude’ – Because Every BODY Deserves Respect.

Eating Disorders in the Jewish Community

Eating Disorders in the Jewish Community

Eating Disorders Seminar

Recently I was lucky enough to join a seminar in south Florida for educators and clinicians, “Feasting, Fasting & Eating Disorders in the Jewish Community”.

The organizer, well-known eating disorder specialists The Renfrew Center, told us the seminar was in direct response to the ‘noticeable spike throughout the country (USA) in Jewish patients’. Whilst the rates of Jewish patients with disordered eating are similar to the general community, the reasons behind them differ.

For treatment of Jewish patients to have any chance of success their therapists first must appreciate the strong traditions, religious rituals and level of religious observance in their patients.

Living in a multi-cultural society (especially in London) I could see how relevant this is to other religions and cultures. Both women and food play central roles in most strong ethnic communities.

Professor Marjorie Feinson, PhD

Eating disorder and body image specialist, Professor Marjorie Feinson, PhD.

Professor and researcher Dr. Marjorie Feinson, PhD, began the seminar with an overview of eating problems in the Jewish community, with the emphasis on binge eating among adult Jewish women. Of the adult Jewish respondents in Dr. Feinson’s study over 50% had problems with binge eating behaviours, although only one third of the women were obese.

Unsurprisingly, the binge eating was linked to high levels of self-criticism and serious body image concerns.There isn’t much …continue reading Eating Disorders in the Jewish Community

Part II - The Alliance of Eating Disorder Awareness: Recovery

I’ve found Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2015 to be inspirational and thought provoking. There are so many organisations working out there and many individuals like myself, who try to do their bit.

Meeting two such individuals, Johanna Kandel and Sharon Glynn from the Alliance of Eating Disorder Awareness recently helped ME. I often feel like I’m shouting in the wind, that my lone efforts are, well, not as effective as larger groups. But Sharon and Johanna made me realise once more the importance of all of our efforts.

I always say it’s a team effort. And I guess I’m part of that team.

An essential part of the Alliance’s team is Sharon, their Director of Programming. Creating and presenting information to schools as well as healthcare professional and treatment facilities, working on the Alliance’s Treatment Referral Guides (great sources), fundraising and co-ordinating takes not just energy – but dedication and passion.

For example, Sharon explained that young men and women need presentations which are sensitive to potential ‘triggering’. As I well know – it’s a minefield. You need a fine balance between educating and making matters worse.

This balance influences their Support Groups, both in-house and in the community. Johanna told me how careful they are to differentiate between support, which they offer, and therapy – which they do not. Co-ed and ‘men only’ groups have begun, as more men seek help.(She has had some interesting reactions when speaking to fraternity groups about their body image issues…)

As we know eating disorders do not discriminate. Older women make up the fastest growing eating disorders group; the Alliance has women aged 65+ who frequent their support …continue reading Part II – The Alliance of Eating Disorder Awareness: Recovery

Part I - The Alliance of Eating Disorder Awareness: Yes, You Can Recover

Recently, taking advantage of being in south Florida to visit my father (I live in London), I contacted the Alliance of Eating Disorder Awareness and was delighted to meet Johanna Kandel, CEO and Founder, and Sharon Glynn, Director of Programming.

“You can recover, and we will do all we can to help you” is their powerful message.

I asked Johanna what led to her founding the Alliance in 2000 (on a shoe string budget). She told me she was eager to do something “hands on – not just learn about it”. And so, in her early twenties, she set out on a mission to aid her own recovery and educate others.

The Alliance has an impressive track record. They state on their website that they are:

… dedicated to providing programs and activities aimed at outreach and education related to health promotion, including all eating disorders, positive body image, and self-esteem….(it) offers educational presentations, support groups for those struggling and for their family and friends, advocacy for mental health legislation, toll-free national phone help line, as well as referrals, training, support and mentoring services all free of charge. Since its inception, The Alliance has offered presentations…to more than 200,000 individuals throughout the United States, including in-office learning forums for all health care professionals.

alliance for eating disorders - walk

Everyone who works with these issues knows how essential awareness is, and on February 28th the Alliance successfully held it’s 4th Annual “celebrating everyBODY: A walk for eating disorder awareness”. Eating disorder ‘champion’ Congressman Ted Deutch supported and over 800 walkers participated.

Of …continue reading Part I – The Alliance of Eating Disorder Awareness: You Can Recover

“Brave Girl Eating: A Family’s Struggle with Anorexia” by Harriet Brown


There are good, bad and ugly books, each contributing their individual experience of the eating disorder which is anorexia nervosa.

I’m looking forward to reviewing many of these, and also to presenting your opinions of books which impact the weight debate.

(Have a book you’ve already reviewed? Why not give it another outing on this page – I’d love to hear from you, so do get in touch!)

As one size doesn’t fit all, then surely one book on anorexia doesn’t suit us all. To paraphrase Tolstoy, all happy families are alike, but every family’s experience of anorexia is different.

This is why we need all these books. Because we have so much to learn.Brave Girl Eating amazon

Brave Girl Eating, written in 2010 by Harriet Brown, author, and professor of magazine journalism at Syracuse University in New York state, has much to offer. Brown is also a science journalist whose work has featured in the New York Times Science section and other publications.

Some reviews and comments were rather divided, which I would expect given the strength of feeling when dealing with eating disorders and treatment options.

According to Amazon:

“In BRAVE GIRL EATING Harriet Brown describes how her family, with the support of an open-minded pediatrician and a therapist, helped her daughter recover from anorexia using a family-based treatment developed at the Maudsley Hospital in London. Chronicling her daughter Kitty’s illness from the earliest warning signs, through its terrifying progression, and on toward recovery, Brown takes us on one family’s journey into the world …continue reading “Brave Girl Eating: A Family’s Struggle with Anorexia” by Harriet Brown

“Eating Disorders for Dummies”

Has anyone NOT heard of the “XXX for Dummies” series?

I love books.

It’s genetic – I’m at least a 4th generation bookie. Give me a good book and I assure you nothing else gets done.

So there I was in a favourite bookshop when I came across, under the Health section, a book which rather stunned me: ‘Addiction and Recovery for Dummies.’

Ok, if it helps…(and they have sold millions). But what made me uneasy was the thought that there might also be an “Eating Disorders for Dummies“.

Yes. There is.

Why, on principal, am I uneasy about this book? Before I’ve even read it?

Eating disorders are complicated. Very. There is so much misconception, misinformation and misguided advice that seeing the words ‘Eating Disorders’ in the same sentence as the word ‘dummies’ fundamentally concerns me.

Should it?

Have you read this book? What do you think?