I snuck my way onto Sky News Sunrise yesterday morning to talk about the perils of extreme diets – in this case, a nasogastric tube diet, which I wrote about in a piece for the Guardian. My giant news head (friend on Twitter: “This particular extreme diet involves being large enough to eat only unsuspecting news anchors.”) managed to get a few decent comments into the discussion.
I was glad I made the point about women’s bodies being judged more for size than strength or agility, and how stupid and destructive that is; and pleased that I mentioned the problem of rapid weight loss destroying muscle mass rather than fat, creating a smaller body with lower caloric needs that’s likely to grow fatter still when normal eating patterns are resumed. Anyone who aspires to be slim while feeling uncomfortable about developing strength (a problem a lot of women have, hence the obsession with pointless “toning” exercise) is locking themself into an unwinnable, and miserable, battle with their body.
Sky News also had nutritionist Dora Walsh in the studio, whose website rather unpromisingly announces her as an “electro magnetic field balancing practitioner”. However, though I’d rather the producers had looked for a qualified dietitian, it turns out that shoving a tube up your nose to replace your meals is considerably more absurd than wafting magnets around, and Walsh had sensible things to say about the failure of extreme eating plans to alter underlying habits and attitudes around food. Hopefully, no one in the audience decided to swap their Saturday croissant for nose-fed goop after hearing us talk.
Text © Sarah Ditum, 2012; screengrab from Sky News