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Has My Fat Head Been Cured?


Thursday, May 7th, 2009 Has My Fat Head Been Cured?

BBC’s Headroom have been covering the very individual personal stories of its volunteers. The programmes have been both honest and sincere in their approach. Inexcess.tv reviewed Georgia’s personal journey and her relationship with food. Today (06 06 09) we will cover Hannah’s predicament and how her plight unfolds.

Hannah Jones is a 35 year-old from Cardiff, she has a professional career, that of a journalist, she is also 19 stones in weight and is described as clinically obese. For Hannah, she believes the route of her problems lie in her head, she also wants to take a candid approach in identifying her relationshiip with food in order to re-dress the balance. The article opens up with a direct quotation, which summarizes how Hannah feels inside.

“‘I think you’re aesthetically very pleasing… but isn’t it a shame you’re not into exercise or dietary control’ said one man to me in the world’s worst chat-up line.”

As a relatively jolly person she admits to the fact that a lesser person would have gotten very upset, for her she admits to just laughing it off and self-medicating on a ‘industrial sized bar of Fruit and Nut.’ Equally she identifies that here lies her problem. Hannah Jones argues, ‘making the documentary Fix My Fat Head was my chance to sort out, once and for all, why I do what I do. And that is sometimes, not all the time, overeat for comfort and pleasure or to swallow down pain. Don’t for a minute think that, as a size-24 bird, I sit in the house stuffing chocolate, fried bread and beef burgers for breakfast. I don’t.’

The complexities of Jones’s relationship with food are extensive, she says, ‘It’s a full time job being professionally big. I live a life of excuses, from pretending to pause to do up the laces on my zip-up shoes after climbing a single flight of stairs, to thinking up grand schemes to avoid going for a walk or start eating fruit.

In a bid to lose weight, I’ve followed the dietary Holy Trinity: calorie counting, Atkins and abject misery. But nothing has ever worked long-term for me. I also tried out an overeaters’ support group, an extreme dieting class, and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy sessions. While having a go on the chair with a hypnotist to the stars, I was asked if I’d ever been called Dumbo. And she wasn’t asking about my intelligence levels there.

I’m sure well-meaning folk confuse having thick ankles with being thick-skinned. However, tell someone they’re not quite up to the mark often enough, that they would be “better” slimmer, and only an idiot wouldn’t believe the tripe. I’ve spent years wondering if I’d ever get to grips with myself, that authentic (thank you, Oprah) part of me that wakes up every morning and screams: “You’re great just the way you are, no matter what people say to you!”

Yet I seem to have spent my entire life on countless diets and feeling that I don’t quite measure up, especially in the boobs, waist and thighs ratio. And let’s not forget that I’m a journalist, newspaper columnist, a published author, and all round nice guy. In my childhood I noticed I was “different” to other kids my age - taller, bigger, hungrier, lazier, and sadder. But I was also adored, loved, cherished and told that I could do anything I put my mind to.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem is surely all in my head. She describes herself as having a ‘wonky view’ of herself. What she says next is significant as it gets to the hub of the matter, ‘perhaps it’s because I feel that society doesn’t accept me as I am. I can’t shop “normally”, and if I go to the doctor’s with an in-growing toenail, they usually have some fat-infused reasoning for it.

“Eat less, move more” is society’s less than helpful mantra.

Jones goes on to say that she is just a ‘normal someone who’d like to fit into a size 18-20 dress and think, finally, that my head and body are in synch and not at odds with each other. I’m not someone who needed to drop one dress size or tone up a bit - when I started the film, I was at least seven stones overweight. But the difference between me and most women, though, is I’ve never harboured ambitions to be a size 12. I may be obese, but I ain’t deluded.

Have I fixed my fat head yet? I got so fed up of talking about myself by the end of it all, that I got a personal trainer instead. I’m now trying not to convince myself that I can eat more now that I’m running for up to 23 seconds at a time. I’m still that (not so) little girl waiting for the promise of the demise of her puppy fat to finally come true.

What I did learn is one big fat fact: it takes a hell of a lot of unravelling to learn to like yourself, belly, warts and all.’

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