Tuesday, 23 September 2014


To mark Weight Stigma Awareness Week (22nd-26th September), as an Eating Disorders therapist in Colchester, I want to joining this initiative by highlighting the emotional and physical damage that is being wreaked on individuals by our fat-shaming culture.

We live in a world where the word “fat” is used as an insult, and “have you lost weight?” is a compliment.  Weight stigma has been called the “last acceptable prejudice".

One of the main areas of my work is helping to restore self-esteem to eating-disordered clients who have spent too many years feeling ashamed of the size or shape of their bodies. Feeling more confident often helps them to lose weight too, without any pressure.

It’s far easier to look after your body in a healthy way when you like yourself, but society tells us that anyone plus-sized deserves to be mistreated and needs to be shamed into losing weight. But in my experience of treating weight and eating issues, shame is at the root of the problem and over-eating is a symptom of that shame.

Recent studies have shown that exposure to weight stigma may lead to overeating (1) and avoidance of exercise (2).  So it’s time we tackled “fat-shaming” in the same way as any other prejudice – as unacceptable behaviour. That way, people who are carrying extra weight can get on with enjoying their lives, accept their bodies, and let the weight fall where it will.

For more information and help with disordered eating, contact Alison Bird on 07947 817464 or www.alisonbird.co.uk.  Alison Bird is an eating disorders therapist, affiliated with the National Centre for Eating Disorders, and a clinical hypnotherapist affiliated with the Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy.

(1)  The Impact of Weight Stigma on Caloric Consumption. Schvey, Puhl and Brownell, 6 September 2012.  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/oby.2011.204/full

(2)  Internalized Societal Attitudes Moderate the Impact of Weight Stigma on Avoidance of Exercise.  Vartanian  and Novak, 6 September 2012 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/oby.2010.234/full

Friday, 31 January 2014


As a natural weight loss aid, it seems that an improvement in the quality of your sleep could be very helpful.

Study after study shows a link between obesity and lack of sleep.  This is because your body needs sleep to normalise levels of hormones like leptin and ghrelin that are critical in weight control.  One study* showed that those who slept for four hours two nights running had an 18% decrease in leptin (a hormone that gives a feeling of satiety or fullness after eating), and a 28% increase in ghrelin (one that makes you feel more hungry).  They also had a 24% increase in appetite, craved sweet starchy and salty foods and lost interest in fruit, vegetables, protein and dairy products.

However, the good news is that if you get enough sleep (and stop dieting, as diets upset the balance of these hormones too.  That's a subject for a separate blog - watch this space!), then hormone levels go back to normal.  How much sleep is enough?  We all have different needs, but most adults benefit from 7 to 9 hours. To work out what's right for you, try going to bed earlier and waking naturally (without an alarm clock) for a few days and see how many hours to need to awaken naturally.

If you suffer from insomnia and need help sleeping, hypnotherapy really can help.  It helps to lower general stress levels, which in turn helps to normalise the balance of stress hormones; it can help reduce high blood pressure caused by stress and helps train the mind to expect sleep when you go to bed at night.  If your insomnia has been checked out by a doctor and a physical cause has been ruled out, please get in touch to find out how hypnotherapy can help you.

For Help with Insomnia and Weight Loss in the Rhyl area of North Wales
Call 07947 817464
email: abird073@aol.com
or Visit my Website: www.alisonbird.co.uk
For Further Information
Or a Free Consultation

      *  Sharma, Sunil: Kavuru, Mani (2 August 2010) “Sleep and Metabolism Overview”. International Journal of Endocrinology.