Inside Out: Food Doesn't Have to Be Your Enemy; Up to 1.1m People Are Thought to Suffer from Anorexia and Bulimia in the UK, but There Is Still a Great Deal of Misunderstanding about Their Causes and Treatment. This Week Is Eating Disorders Awareness Week and Penny Fray and Craig Hillsley Look at the Impact Such Illnesses Have on the Friends and Families of Sufferers

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), February 4, 2003 | Go to article overview

Inside Out: Food Doesn't Have to Be Your Enemy; Up to 1.1m People Are Thought to Suffer from Anorexia and Bulimia in the UK, but There Is Still a Great Deal of Misunderstanding about Their Causes and Treatment. This Week Is Eating Disorders Awareness Week and Penny Fray and Craig Hillsley Look at the Impact Such Illnesses Have on the Friends and Families of Sufferers


Byline: Penny Fray and Craig Hillsley

NOWADAYS, most people have at least heard of chronic eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia. After all, celebrities such as actors Adam Rickett, Tracy Shaw, and Geri Halliwell have spoken publicly of their battles against these crippling conditions.

Former Coronation Street stars Rickett and Shaw have been frank about their problems. As a 15-year-old, Adam suffered bulimia and later depression when he caught a waterborne virus while surfing. He was laid low for months, and though he says he contemplated suicide, it was probably just an angst-filled cry of frustration from a teenager bursting with energy and ambition.

Ultimately, he says, his family provided a solid emotional foundation for his recovery: his father is a partner in a successful corporate financial advice boutique and his mother is well known in Cheshire equine circles. Tracy's weight, however, plummeted to just five stones when she was in her early twenties and she set up the Tracy Shaw Foundation after hearing how a teenage girl came within three days of starving herself to death.

Pop star Halliwell, meanwhile, has revealed that her battle with bulimia reached its lowest point in 2 000 and has said: ``Bulimia has nothing to do with being thin, it's about loneliness and low self-esteem.''

EVEN Diana, the Princess of Wales, spoke about her bulimia - which she termed a ``secret disease''.

Despite weighing just six stone, former sufferer Clare Lindsay, used to wake up every day convinced she was fat. She would survive on a daily diet of eight raisins, half a chocolate bar, then do 500 sit-ups to burn off the calories.

The author and former Liverpool University eating disorders expert now reveals: ``My first thoughts would always be of food, followed by despair on realising that I was awake and that I was still too fat to eat.

``For as long as I could remember food and my avoid and of it had been dominating my existence.''

Clare developed food problems as an insecure 13-year-old. They gradually spiral led into the full-blown anorexia which dominated a decade of her life.

``When I changed from a skinny child to a teenager putting on a little bit of weight - with the possibility of being teased - all this lack of confidence somehow got tied up with food and eating.

``I felt fat; stupid. I hated myself and all the time I was running scared. Convinced that nobody could possibly like me, I felt like the biggest failure on earth.''

She eventually beat the disease saying: ``Assertiveness training helped me on the road to recovery - and the same has been true for 95pc of the cured anorexics I have come across.''

Despite such exposure, however, there is still a widespread lack of understanding about eating disorders. A common response is that sufferers are going through a ``teenage phase'', or that they should just ``snap out of it''.

In an effort to combat these misconceptions, the Eating Disorders Association is holding an awareness week. …

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Inside Out: Food Doesn't Have to Be Your Enemy; Up to 1.1m People Are Thought to Suffer from Anorexia and Bulimia in the UK, but There Is Still a Great Deal of Misunderstanding about Their Causes and Treatment. This Week Is Eating Disorders Awareness Week and Penny Fray and Craig Hillsley Look at the Impact Such Illnesses Have on the Friends and Families of Sufferers
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