Rosi Hunter: An online fasting club for women dying to be skinny

Related Topics

The other day, I logged into my Facebook account and found ads, supposedly targeted at me because of my age, gender and interests, informing me that Cheryl Cole lost 16kg on a simple new diet plan. Obviously she needed to. In January, magazine covers, TV adverts and even office talk is all about the best diet to be on. And why not? Everyone's on a diet in January, right?

Well no, actually. I, along with many others, am recovering from an eating disorder, and going slightly crazy every time an advert or magazine cover assumes that being 27, female and in possession of a pulse, I must be dying to be skinny.

Been there, done that. Two years ago I was so thin I was on the verge of being hospitalised, and warned that if I didn't stop exercising I risked giving myself a heart attack, and it all started with just wanting to drop a few pounds. Of course, there are a lot of people who want to shed a little excess weight, and they should be able to find a way to do that. But telling every woman between the ages of, say, 15 and 40 that this is what they should be aiming for is to risk telling someone who is perfectly healthy that losing 2kg could make them happier, when actually it could seriously damage them.

For celebrities such as Cheryl Cole to advertise their desire to lose weight is as good as saying that weighing over 7 stone is undesirable. I've experienced the multiple health problems that come with eating disorders. Not sexy, and not beautiful. How convenient though, that these adverts can offer you some lovely cosmetic surgery to enhance the breasts that you lose through severe weight loss. Apparently there's a fix for everything when you're trying to achieve "the body beautiful". Shame they can't offer a personality transplant to combat the fact that eating disorders can make you a very moody and unpleasant person to be around.

I'm lucky. I've made some great progress, and I'm coming out the other side, but every day is a battle. Right now, part of that battle is trying to recapture a healthy attitude to food, as well as gain the last few kilos, and every time I see one of those ads, or hear someone talk about "naughty" foods that they "shouldn't" eat, I get a twinge of guilt. Think how many slimming ads you saw last week, how many magazine articles claiming they could help you lose a stone in 14 days, how much spam appeared in your inbox selling you weight-loss pills. All those twinges create one big tidal wave to swim against.

I want to know the best chocolate to eat on a diet and how to burn calories just by doing the vacuuming, and seeing these options while knowing I need to do the opposite puts me in constant conflict with myself. It's pretty easy to find yourself drowning.

How about we start a new advertising campaign, targeted at the exact same group: ads for social groups where you'll get to meet people who like you for who you are, for self-help books on how to boost your self-esteem, for chocolate bars that aren't so naughty if you don't eat two of them every day?

We should spend time and money teaching women that what matters is who you are inside and not the number on the scales. I paid a lot of money for therapy which essentially pointed out that my friends and family loved me just as much at 11 stone as they did at seven, because of who I am. If there were more emphasis in the media on seeing that for ourselves, I would have been saved a lot of sadness and the torture I subject myself to on a daily basis.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mosul falls: Talk of Iraq retaking the town, held by IS since June, is unconvincing  

Isis on the run? The US portrayal is very far from the truth

Patrick Cockburn
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk