A few week s ago Cadbury launched a new chocolate bar, it was the first chocolate bar they had launched since the Fuse bar in 1996. It was a chocolate bar aimed at women. Designed in two bars so women could ‘save one for later’.
Now before you go off into a detailed reverie of how delicious the Fuse was (like I did), ask yourself, do women need a chocolate bar just for them?
Now, I love chocolate as much as the next gal, and you’d think i’d be delighted that there is one for women. But it makes me so cross and a cross Karlie is not good. Can’t women be trusted to eat the same ones as everyone else? I appreciate it’s a great advertising hook, and the media always comes under fire for adding to weight issues, but jeez….
This latest one has me in a fizz. It’s the way it is advertised as being a ‘diet’ bar. I hate diets with a passion. I seriously dislike anything that gives people the wrong information about food. Why so passionate about this? There could be many reasons, but it’s because ever since I was a teenager, i’ve had an eating disorder.
There are many personal reasons why I developed this, all pretty text book, and I work hard, to control this. I am lucky that I have a close circle of friends who look after me and ‘nudge me’ when they think I am relapsing. These people understand my relationship with food, and are there to support me. I never think I am too fat, or too thin. I am just Karlie. However when stress sets in, my weight is the first thing to suffer. And as independent as I am, I have realised, I need those people to remind me to eat.
I was lucky enough to study drama at a great place in London growing up and one of my first jobs was a fitness instructor. Both are professions where you focus on yourself and these both helped me massively. Fitness was a natural progression for me as I sought to look after myself. I am a very independent person and I will rarely ask for help so if I do you know I need it. I am also not the sort of person to lie down and give in and despite this being something I have little control over, I sought to control it. I knew that fitness would help me.
I wanted to know the ins and outs of fitness, nutrition and our bodies, to understand. I learned everything I could. I read and trained and asked and learned. In my twenties I saw ‘weight’ as an issue for many women. The need to be thin, has never left us alone has it? Losing weight is always associated with looking good. I saw plenty women come through our gym desperate to lose weight through exercise. Having got myself to a healthy place, I was in a position to help them, mainly by encouragement and understanding. Human bodies are strange things to understand but the human mind is much more complex. When you look into a mirror and you have an unhealthy body image, the actual reflection is not what you see. My gym had several anorexics and Bulimics and aside from being supportive, there is little you can do to help someone with these conditions. You just have to be there for them. Eating disorders are deep rooted in the mind.
In gym, we worked with NLP, to help change habits, and always recommended a book by Susan Powter called ‘Stop the Insanity!’. I’m not sure how dated it is now but this book produced miracles. Miracles I saw with my own eyes. It told the story of the author and how she worked to speed up her metabolism, by eating low fat food and exercising, often. Most diets teach us to eat less food, but eating less food slows your metabolism down, meaning it is slower to process the food you eat. A fast metabolism is key in attaining a good healthy weight. Low fat food, is key in attaining a good healthy weight, exercise is key in attaining a good healthy weight, for more information, read the book. There is something about it which seems to make women understand about ‘diets’ One thing I understand about fitness, nutrition and life in general if that the basics work. We can have fads, a new craze and the like but it all comes back to the basics.
So why do I still have this disorder? Despite knowing all this valuable information, it didn’t ‘fix me’, for me, it’s very much an ongoing psychological thing. At times of stress, it returns and my journey continues. But I work hard constantly to combat it, as any person with an ED tell you.
As I said before, I do not notice my fluctuating weight, it’s pointed out to me. I don’t see what you see. I’m not sure if that makes sense or not, but I hope so. For a very long time I had little connection with food, it was very low down my list of priorities. I do now, I have a great appreciation for food and one of the nicest things you can do for me is cook for me. Likewise to learning about fitness, I have explored cooking on many levels too. It is no coincidence that I tend to be drawn towards people who love to cook!
So why share this now on my blog after two plus years of entertaining you with my wonderful writing?
Maybe it’s because I am beginning to accept myself for who I am, flaws and all.
Maybe it has taken me this long to not feel hugely embarrassed about it.
(I am an adult after all, I should be sensible enough to know better. People question my fluctuating weight and the natural thing to do is clam up. Queries of ‘are you sick?’ are answered with a big Karlie smile and a firm ‘no, i’m great thanks!’ I’m very good at that)
Or maybe I chose now because I saw an advertisement for another diet chocolate bar and it got me mad, and got me writing. I know nothing will change over night but maybe someone, somewhere will read this and say… ‘oh’
People don’t need specialised products to assist them to be healthy, they need understanding and encouragement. They need it to be thought of as normal to exercise and go to the gym and eat nice meals.
Food is such a lovely way to unwind and have fun with friends, it should be enjoyable and no-one should feel bad or guilty about eating. Sadly it is part of our culture, and a low calorie chocolate bar aimed at women to ‘treat’ themselves and save some for later, is ‘normal’