January 6th, 2012

I’ve Moved!!!

Hello everyone! 

A massive thanks first of all to all the lovely people that follow my blog on Tumblr but this post is to tell you all I have moved!

I realised quickly that as I have several blogs, on several different subjects and several different websites it was a wise idea to move onto my own website. 

You can now find me over at www.nickjwatts.com 

I do hope you will all continue to visit me over there!

Much love and a happy new year from me!

Nick x

December 31st, 2011

2011, A good year for male eating disorder sufferers?

2011 has been a whirlwind year for me, Men Get Eating Disorders Too and of course my colleagues and I think this year we have seen some brilliant recognition of not only the charity but also the very reason we exist. While we still have a long way to go in what we do and what we want to achieve as it is the last day of 2011 I thought it would be a good idea to recap what has gone on!

First off at MGEDT we released our first ever national leaflet and poster campaign which was distributed around the UK to healthcare professionals, voluntary organisations and distributed heavily at events and conferences we attended throughout the year. This was shortly followed by our first ever national conference to address the issue of men and eating disorders, which featured some of our supporters, professionals and staff from the charity. We also had some good media coverage this year, including appearances live on national television, national and local radio, print and online articles and various blogs and guest columns.

Possibly the biggest achievement this year was the launch of our first ever live support chat sessions, the only sessions of their kind worldwide to offer specific support to men with eating disorders. This pilot session will continue to run into early 2012 but I personally feel it has been a massive success, giving men the opportunity to speak out about their issues in a safe environment, easing the isolation they have as a result of their issues.

Personally, I have had some fantastic experiences this year, from media appearances to challenges with Sarah, all the way to sitting on a research panel for Oxford University and the Men’s Health steering group. If anything it proves that the issues of eating disorders and body image in men are starting to be taken seriously, with more organisations and bodies realising the need to have representation of these issues, which is a big step in the world of men’s health.

It has also been a fantastic year for press, with several high profile research studies and figure releases highlighting the very need for increased service provision, better awareness and more support availability, both peer and professional.

In July 2011, the Royal College of General Practitioners released figures showing a 66% rise in the number of men being admitted for the treatment of eating disorders in the UK, urging GP’s to be more aware of the symptoms of eating disorders in men.

In August 2011 another set of statistics were released regarding the rise in eating disorder cases in young people, including a large amount of boys. This again led to national scale publicity in most major publications, radio and television.

In September 2011 there was a slightly different release which was all about the rise in weight loss surgery in young people, including a large amount of men. This was a good release as it is important to recognise that eating disorders are not necessarily restrictive but lesser known disorders such as binge and compulsive eating can cause just as many problems for sufferers and yet are not seen in the same light in restricting disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.

A lot of other stuff went on too, including the UK’s first ever fat talk free week, a highlight of self-harm in young people and a lot of focus on the effects of bullying to the mental health of all young people. We also saw really busy periods in both men’s health week and eating disorders awareness week. So much more happened in what I think has been our biggest and busiest year yet, but I have concentrated on some of the really key points here.

Undoubtedly, we still have a long way to go to make sure the appropriate recognition is given to male body image, eating disorders and mental health as a whole, but I would like to think that in 2011 we made a very good start. We have lots of stuff going on in 2012 to make sure that eating disorders and men’s mental health will remain firmly on the agenda and hopefully go that extra mile, building on what we have achieved this year. I would personally like to get out to more universities, deliver more training to professionals and stay on the media train to get our message out there.

All that is really left to do is thank everyone that has supported our campaigns, told their stories and contributed to the massive successes this year. It has been a good year for our cause, we have a long way to go still, but all in all, I think we made a good deal of progress.

Until 2012!

Nick 

December 24th, 2011

Christmas doesn’t have to be about your eating disorder

So, I was totally planning on writing for Mental Healthy about coping over the festive season with an eating disorder, but I ran out of time, didn’t have a chance and so I thought I would make it a quicky on here.

Christmas is notorious for being an especially hard time for dealing and coping with mental health issues, especially eating disorders. Looking back, I can remember the time when Christmas was massively difficult for me.

I thought this was for many reasons, including the amount of food on offer that everyone thought I devour and then how on earth I could correct all that wrong. Then there was the guilt, surely I didn’t deserve Christmas and as for all the people around, what on earth do they think of me?

Notice I used the word thought, because that’s not what I think now. If I was to be perfectly honest, now I would say that the reason Christmas was so hard is because I overthought it, worked myself up into a bundle of nerves and in effect sabotaged myself without even knowing it.

In the run up to Christmas I would sit there planning, listing and working out escape routes, panicking about how the day would turn out, worry about other people, how would they react if I didn’t take that extra potato, would they think I was ill again?

In reality, is it really any different to any other day? There might be a few more chocolates about but it is like any other day. It doesn’t need to be treated as differently as any other day, if you have a meal plan you can still stick to it, if your full you don’t have to eat anything more and if it is all the people around that is causing your anxiety, there is nothing stopping you leaving the room for 20 minutes.  This is where mindfulness and relaxation comes into play, understanding and working with your body, what it wants and what it needs and not what other people expect of you.

Probably the most important part of all of this and something I have intentionally left until this point is that Christmas isn’t all about food. This is what I needed to get into my head, I would be so consumed with the food side of Christmas I would forget about the rest of the day, the part of the day I loved, seeing all the people I know, having lots of lovely gifts and watching crappy films until my eyes bled.

Christmas is about all those things that we all know and love, the tree, pretty decorations, presents, family, friends having a giggle and a glass of 10 of wine! 

And as for Christmas dinner, it is but another meal, nothing more, nothing less and if we look it at like that, it is really not as scary as we once thought it was.

That’s all from me, wishing everyone a fabulous and happy Christmas!

Nick x

December 12th, 2011

So sitting down will give me a fat arse

If I was to listen to all the research (most of it an utter waste of researchers time, seriously, people pay for this crap) then I wouldn’t be able to do much

·         Chocolate will make me fat

·         Alcohol is bad for me

·         Pretty much anything enjoyable will give me cancer

·         Two weeks later it will good for me

And now the latest little bit of useless research has been published, which tells me that if I sit down too much, I will get a fat arse. This research, which I found through the Nursing Times of all places is yet another piece of rubbish that makes us think there is another thing we shouldn’t do. Yes it is important that we are healthy, treat our bodies with respect and look after ourselves but rubbish like this just tells us that something that so many of us do (like sitting at a desk) will inevitably give you the arse the size of a house.

The fact is, if we are sensible then we have nothing to worry about, we don’t need to go to extraordinary lengths to achieve anything, just be sensible and we will likely lead long, happy lives. What really irritates me is you can guarantee that some people will take this to heart and much like avoiding fatty foods and things that are ‘naughty but nice’ people will start avoiding it. It’s yet another little shred of information that if you are already insecure about your body, which so many people are, then it is likely to be taken to a whole new level.

Sitting could become the new cake, one of those things you look at and think ‘I really shouldn’t’. DFS will become the new fancy cake shop with people standing around the sofas, trying to assign an arse size or calorie count to the new leather recliner. 

Really! Yes it is utterly ridiculous, but the point I am making is not, why can’t we just be left to live our lives, being sensible and not having to worry about the next thing that is going to be as bad for us as sitting.

I quote from the nursing times “people who are concerned about the plumpness of their bottom can make it smaller by eating a healthy diet and doing more exercise”. The majority of people who worry about the plumpness of their bottom in fact have nothing wrong with it and the illusion of it’s plumpness is in the mind, which no amount of exercise of diet will fix.

So really, while we are sitting down next do we really need to start counting until we next get to do a lap around the office? No, because that would be equally, if not more unhealthy. Or shall we do what all the nice little researchers want us to do and run around an open field smoking a carrot stick? Or, we could take the more sensible approach and just be sensible, we know what is good for us, why create more self hatred?

December 6th, 2011

I met Nick on Twitter, yes another one of those wonderful people who has come into my world through 140 characters. I was walking Daisie at the time and Nick just stood out in my timeline, he was another of those real people you find on Twitter, I felt he was brave and he had an important message and opinion to share.

So I’ve invited Nick onto my blog, he’s a fab blogger by the way and no Q&A this month for A Spotlight on…Just Nick in his words… his amazing life to date, his accomplishments and more proof, if you needed it, that we can live successfully beyond eating disorders and the difficulties of life.