This week is Eating Disorders Awareness Week runs by Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity. There are lots of situations where people turn to food to get them through periods in their life that are stressful. If we look at the way that the coronavirus has presented itself to those who have unfortunately contracted it and the way in which people have had different side effects to the vaccines, it is a good comparison as to how people are affected by eating food.
When we can see that someone has broken their arm or leg, we can give them the support that they need. However, mental health issues are often at the root of eating disorders and these are not so easy to spot. We should be very careful before we judge someone about their weight. More recent studies have shown the effects of hormone changes on weight gain and weight loss. Someone can be very active yet overweight. You can give the same food to two people and it will have a different effect.
Telling someone to stop what they are eating or that it just takes will power is not helpful. The person needs to be in the right mindset and have the strength to follow through on what is necessary for them to take control. Over the years attitudes to people who are alcoholics have changed. Alcohol is a drug. Food is like a drug to some people and the additives that have become commonplace are often responsible for individual problems. Cheap processed food, treats full of sugar, sweets that are addictive have been created for profit not nutritional value. Lockdown has been a blessing and a curse for many in terms of the food that they have eaten. As a society we need to stop being so judgemental and put ourselves in the shoes of others.