Newshooks – Kate’s baby and other headlines

I am going to be on the front page of my local paper this week regarding the ongoing planning debacle in our village. I registered my objection to a planning application online and a journalist contacted me based on my comments. Before I knew it myself and a few friends had gathered together for a protest photo-shoot.

Everyone has a story to tell. I dare you to find one person in your life who hasn’t got a novel waiting to be written based on their life experiences or simple a story worthy of a news article. So Kate has announced she is expecting Prince William’s baby and I am already tiring of the endless headlines (bookies taking 1000/1 bets that the baby will be named Waynetta). It got me to thinking that our news agenda is dictated by a very small minority of people in the country and globally who have a huge say in what we should be considering as a news story worthy of reading, debating and contemplating. Journalists are people so they are also biased. Propaganda is everywhere and no country is free of it. As people who consume the news we are never sure what percentage of the story is accurate, how biased the story is and how trustworthy the journo’s sources are.

We base a lot of our political opinions on what we read, watch and hear. We may respect the views of our friends and family too – who may also merely propagate inaccurate reports that chime well with their overall views. To some extent we read what we want to read, choosing to discount balanced argument in favour of the point of view that we agree on.

A significant percentage of media reports are generated by pr agencies and in-house departments who are all fighting to get their brand publicity or their political point heard. That is why I am reluctant to read newspapers or online stories unless I am really needing to kill time. TV is no different in its level of biase. So the best thing to do is take everything with a pinch of salt (a bit like how you would approach the rhetoric of a politician) and accept that there is also an alternative argument, point of view, brand, company, political party etc that should also be considered. Its the best way to avoid becoming ignorant – but its not easy because a handful of journalists and editors are all it takes to influence public opinion – it can even make the difference between war and peace/ life and death.

Seeing War Horse reminded me of the shambolic communication that led to the massacres of the First World War. Rhetoric was believed and lots of young men died. (so being a journalist is quite an important  and incredibly powerful job) – maybe Kate and William will submit to public opinion and call baby Windsor Wayne or Waynetta?

As usual I am blogging every day for Unicef – if you can support Unicef’s good work around the world, please visit my Unicef site.

Thanks for reading.

Do you have an eating disorder?

I was with my stepmum today who loves food. I do too but for the first time in  my life I made a deliberate effort to make my bottom half (a size 12) match ,my top half (size 10). I did this by adopting the policy of a couple of my petite friends – put less in your mouth. Its bleedin’ obvious isn’t it? But why has it taken to get to my thirties before I gave this a go?

I last lost a significant amount of weight when I was trying to shift my postgraduate body that had endured 3 years of Snakebite, chocolate and chips. With a bit of waccy baccy thrown in for good measure. I did weight watchers and meticulously counted my daily intake making sure that I kept within my 20 points per day allowance. Wine was replaced with diet coke and vodka and I swapped 5 weetabixes in the morning for 2. I got back to  my pre-uni size and in the main kept to it as I had the Weight Watchers points system chip embedded into my brain.

After the birth of my second child I looked at my rear in the mirror – which has always been big, and thought…..why not give this a proper go and get this butt reduced. So I simply stopped eating as much – seriously stopped eating as much – mainly by skipping lunch and breastfeeding and exercising like a trojan. Yes my little son even helped to suck it out of me. Within a couple of months of this, helped by training for 64 lengths of the Swimathon and embracing the Zumba movement I cracked it. Size 12 skirts and trousers were now too big – while my butt was still big it had been reduced.

In doing this I have realised I liked food and that I was over-indulging in my portions. Madonna’s trainer once said that the portion size should only be as big as your fist and this is true. It didn’t take long for my stomach to shrink and for me to feel fuller quicker. I have come to the conclusion that we westerners do eat more than we need. I have been eating way more than I need for most of my life.

However I can’t pick anything up now without looking at the calorie count and then totting up in my head how much I have already consumed – I try to stay around 1000 calories a day. My Stepmum, who is a larger lady, is looking into following the feast and famine diet. The diet is based on consuming 600 calories for 2 days and then a normal calorie intake for the rest of the week. Apparently this is good for combating dementia. I think it is better to just reduce portion size across the board rather than dedicate special days to starving yourself. My friend’s Mum, who is losing weight has taken it to the extreme. One day she didn’t eat until 1pm and only had a plum, had a salad for dinner and that was that. Even on my best ‘figure conscious’ days I couldn’t do that – I would be trying to eat my pillow at bed-time and wouldn’t sleep. My friend – she eats twice a day – skips brekkie, has something at 10am then something at 3 and that’s it – she’s full.

It got me to thinking – what is healthy and what is bordering on an eating disorder? Also given that I didn’t decide to lose significant weight until my thirties is the pressure to look thin reaching its peak – with the likes of Kate Middleton and Victoria Beckham inspiring us to put figure first before hunger pangs?

Then I think about the families in drought ridden countries who survive on nothing but rice if they are lucky – what would they do if they were whisked away to the UK – would they go  mad and gorge on all of our gorgeous food? Maybe initially but then would they also get sucked in to looking good? I think the reason why I have made a concerted effort now is the pressure to look good despite multiple pregnancies – and be a bit smug about it too.

For all the negatives of obsessing about weight though, there are some positives I have experienced: finding it easier to exercise, looking better in jodhpurs and having more energy.

When pic-nicking my daughter paused before she ate her apple pie to ask me how many calories were in the cake. I responded very quickly with “about 200 calories”. My Stepmum then said to my daughter how important it was to eat lots when you are growing. I thought – shit has my calorie counting gone too far – am I unwittingly passing on to my daughter the beginnings of an eating disorder in later life? Or am I encouraging her to think about what she consumes – is that a good thing? I don’t know. Our culture does two things – it makes us body conscious but it also makes us feel that we may have eating disorder issues if we seriously reduce our intake – but I wonder whether our intake is just too much in the first place??

My quest for the perfect rear continues – when walking up the alleyway, my daughter following me said “Mummy your bum wobbles” …

Thanks for reading if you enjoyed the post as ever please leave a donation to Unicef – the whole reason why I am blogging.

I am signing off for the weekend now as we are off on a mini-break. I know we only just came back from a week’s holiday but gotta enjoy the school holidays while we can…..