We see eating disorders as a coping strategy arising in response to personal, familial, cultural, and political pressures. We believe that eating disorders predominantly affect women because of the emphasis that is placed on women’s appearance, the pressure for women to be thin, and the lack of power and control over their own lives that women in our society often experience. Some of these pressures are increasing for men. For some women what they eat or don’t eat is the one area of their lives that they feel they can control. We believe it is important therefore to leave our clients in control as much as is possible (of course there are inherent limits when working with someone who is physical danger). We see four main areas of causes for eating disorders: social, individual, psychological and physical.
In terms of the culture of thinness we aim to challenge this by what we promote in the community, and how we as individuals and as an organisation think about and talk about size and shape.
* it is okay to be whatever size is right for you and your body.
* it is no better to be small than big.
* you can be healthy and happy at any size
* people’s adult size is as genetically determined as is their height, (with the exception of the effects of recurrent dieting.)
* diets don’t work
* food is neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’
* most women and small but increasing numbers of men in our society will find themselves moving along the eating disorder continuum at some stage of their lives
* empathy and sitting alongside our clients is extremely important.
We want to promote size acceptance within ourselves, within our clients, within our service and within our society.