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Summer 2013 Newsletter Scotland’s Charity for Eating Disorders No Bodies Perfect Events The Link between Eating Disorders and Autism Launch of New Psychological Therapies Focus on Emotional Eating Happy Birthday No Bodies Perfect! Introduction to Mindfulness The Hidden Truths About Living with an Eating Disorder .... and lots more!

your voice counts : recovery exists Copyright 2013 by Alexandra O'Brien and No Bodies Perfect Š All rights reserved

Happy Birthday No Bodies Perfect! By Alexandra O’Brien It’s amazing to think that No Bodies Perfect will be 3 years old in May 2013! Where has the time gone? The support group from which No Bodies Perfect was founded in May 2010 has, undoubtedly, gone from strength-to-strength. I know that I cannot believe that the tiny group that met once a week for one hour in an old classroom in a healthy living centre, with no website, no volunteers, no leaflets, no posters and no business cards or name has become a leading eating disorder charity and the main eating disorders charity in Scotland! How did that happen? Time has flown since those early days. No Bodies Perfect is now an established, professional and respected charity with a huge amount of expertise, experience and passion for helping and supporting people with eating disorders. We also help people all over the UK and beyond , and thinking of expanding into Wales at the request of quite a few people. We have supported over 350 different people just during weekly support group sessions alone. We have received 1000s of enquires from all over the world and from sufferers, carers, family, friends, media, researchers, health professionals, teachers, businesses, charities and other organisations looking for help, support, information and education about eating disorders. We have added to our services significantly and our range of services now includes the following:

• Eating Disorder Support Group Sessions and Support Network • One-to-one Life Coaching Sessions • One-to-one Counselling and CBT Psychotherapy • Eating Disorders Official UK-wide Website • Eating Disorders Community Support Website • Community Writers • Self-Help Mentors • Clinical Hypnotherapy • Eating Disorders Community Outreach and Awareness Team • Information Service • Telephone InfoLine • PATS (Pets as Therapy Scheme) • Recovery Representatives Team • Eating Disorders Support Forum for Sufferers and Carers • Online Support and Live Chatroom • The Voice Eating Disorder Support Magazine • Quarterly Newsletters • Training Courses (for professionals, public, teachers, any anyone looking to learn more about eating disorders) • Consultations • Student Eating Disorder Group • No Bodies Perfect Lending Library • No Bodies Perfect Book Club • No Bodies Perfect Coffee and Chat Club • Arts and Creative Classes • Workshops and Psychoeducation Groups • Stress Management Sessions • Relaxation Classes • Fundraising and Events • Volunteering and Placement Opportunities • Friends of No Bodies Perfect Membership (coming soon)

We have been invited to professionally consult about eating disorders; give talks and presentations; provide information evenings; hold stalls and open days; present training courses and workshops; write articles and features about eating disorders; develop and design materials; plan and organise events, activities and meetings; as well as starting the first news and support magazine for eating disorders. We have a great team of volunteers from all over Scotland, Wales and England as well as a wonderful group of Charity Trustees who help make decisions and organise the management of the charity. We are now also offering the first PATS service for eating disorders – the first charity to use pet therapy for eating disorders. We have campaigned for improved services, raised awareness, provided education and, most importantly, provided vital help and support to 1000s of people struggling with eating disorders via our range of services. Of course, we have virtually no money or income in which to do any of this and I think that this fact makes No Bodies Perfect all the more amazing and special. How many other eating disorder charities do you know who can do that? We have offered so much to Scotland over the past 3 years and are excited to offer so much more in the future. We have made a real difference to the lives of many eating disorder sufferers and their families and we will continue to do so. We can do what we do because we are dedicated, passionate and genuinely care – we have made a real difference and will continue to make a difference! I never thought any of this would have happened given my own health problems which forbid me from working. I never thought I’d have my own charity a few years after my own recovery from an eating disorder. I am not even sure how it happened but it has and I am very proud of No Bodies Perfect and everything we have done.

I am proud of myself too, for being a survivor and getting through my exhausting fight with an eating disorder. I am proud to say I have recovered and that I am still here today despite a long, painful and tormenting battle with anorexia. I did it! I recovered from an eating disorder and I went on the have my own charity helping other people who struggle with what I struggled with for over 14 years. I found strength, hope and inspiration. I found all of that and it washed me onto the path of recovery. I also found something else: me and my voice. And through finding both I found who I really am. This is why our motto is ‘your voice counts: recovery exists’ – because when you find your own voice amidst that of Ed, you find out who you really are. You find your real identity. You find a ‘you’ without an eating disorder. Happy Birthday to my charity and thank you to all my wonderful volunteers. In true Scottish fashion, we raise a glass of Scotch whisky and say ‘Sláinte’!

One-to-One Counselling and Cognitive Behaviour Psychotherapy By Alexandra O’Brien Alexandra O’Brien will begin offering one-to-one counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy after April 2013. Alexandra, who has a background in psychology, mental health and trained in other forms of therapy, will offer free therapy sessions as part of her placement as a trainee psychotherapist at the Glasgow Cognitive Therapy Centre (GCTC). The course and training centre are both professionally accredited and Alexandra will receive regular supervision from her experienced supervisor and will hold professional indemnity insurance. Alexandra will practice as a trainee psychotherapist following the guidelines set by governing bodies such as COSCA, BACP and BABCP to ensure professional and ethical practice as a trainee psychotherapist specialising in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Free sessions will be held in Glasgow city centre, in therapy rooms hired by Alexandra at the Glasgow Cognitive Therapy Centre. Therapy sessions may be weekly, fortnightly or monthly depending on the individual and the issues presented. If you are already currently receiving therapy, from a private or NHS therapist/ psychologist, please note that she is unable to offer CBT sessions to you. Alexandra is happy to provide therapy sessions to those experiencing eating disorders and also to anyone else who may benefit, such as carers and family members of someone with an eating disorder. There may be a long waiting list, as

Alexandra will only be available to so so many sessions per week. Alexandra also hopes to extend this invitation to anyone else who feels they would benefit from free Cognitive Behaviour Therapy i.e. individuals experiencing difficulties other than eating disorders – this may include depression, stress, anxiety, and lots more. So please also get in touch to enquire about free counselling and CBT psychotherapy even if you do not have an eating disorder. Therapy sessions last approximately 50 minutes – 1 hour and will be recorded using a Dictaphone that will be listened to only by Alexandra and her accredited supervisor for training purposes. Privacy and confidentiality will be respected at all times and anyone wishing to receive therapy will be asked to sign a confidentiality form before starting therapy to ensure they are aware that anything they say or anything recorded will remain confidential. Alexandra will be closely and regularly supervised and be required to meet with her supervisor on a regular basis. Please email Alexandra if you have any questions, require any further information or are interested in putting your name on the waiting list for free counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. If you have any questions about the Glasgow Cognitive Therapy Centre or wish to confirm Alexandra’s place on the course and her role as a trainee psychotherapist at the Centre, please contact Hilda at the GCTC:

Ed’s Gathering: what do you think about eating disorders in Scotland? By Alexandra O’Brien OUR PROMISE: we promised that we would step up our eating disorders campaign following the tragic death of our friend and supporter Carolanne who died from an eating disorder in March 2013- and we are keeping our promises. We have already started a fund in Carolanne’s name and memory, but it’s not enough. We all need to ensure that no more lives are lost to eating disorders. The resources in Scotland are simply a disgrace. Despite us contacting various members of the British and Scottish government, MPs, MSPs, NHS, various councils, and mental health departments etc no one seems to care or be interested in helping. We have been told they are not interested, told to go elsewhere, been ignored or never receive a reply, despite emailing and writing letters to them time and time again. This is not acceptable – eating disorders must be addressed in Scotland. We care and we will be stepping up our campaign in honour of Carolanne and of all eating disorder sufferers. No one else should have to die because of an eating disorder. No Bodies Perfect hopes that as many of you as possible will join us in this campaign and ensure that no-one else is lost tragically to an eating disorder. We are stepping up our campaign to raise awareness of eating disorders in Scotland and petition for more support services and funding for charities in Scotland, such as No Bodies Perfect, who provide necessary eating disorder services. We are submitting a petition to the Government and we will be asking as many people as possible - no matter where you are from - to sign this petition. We will be in touch when the petition in available. However, at the moment, we want to ask all our friends in Scotland whether they would be interested in participating in a Focus Group.

A Focus Group basically provides us with the opportunity to reach out and gather your opinions, beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, feelings, experiences and comments concerning eating disorders in Scotland, awareness, services, what you would like and dislike and encourage discussion about eating disorders in Scotland. The result would be the development of a report arising from a combination of participants' comments, thoughts, feelings and experiences with the aim of improving supportive services and raising awareness of eating disorders in Scotland. The Focus Group meeting will be led by people who have personal experience of an eating disorder and understand many of the issues you may be experiencing. It will also be organised by No Bodies Perfect and eating disorder sufferers We also aim to get other organisations involved. All comments will remain anonymous in the report unless you specify otherwise. The meeting will consist of a group of people gathering together in a room and expressing what they think – smaller groups may also be made within the larger group. We will make this as comfortable and informal as possible as we know this can be a sensitive topic to discuss. We are hoping to arrange the Focus Group sometime after September 2013 and it will be in Glasgow (Glasgow is served by many transport links and easier for people of all parts of Scotland to get to that other towns and cities). A meeting such as this, however, does take some planning, which is why we are mentioning it now. We would love as many people as possible to get involved from Scotland - it's your chance to have your voice heard - a chance to make a difference and make an impact. If you are interested in getting involved, please get in touch with us directly: info@ so we can determine whether there is an interest in this - if there isn't an interest then we won’t go ahead with the plans. Thank you very much for your time and support. Please feel free to share this information with anyone you feel would be interested. The No Bodies Perfect motto is: your voice counts:recovery exists

Focus on.... Emotional Eating By Alexandra O’Brien What is Emotional Eating? Generally, it can be thought of as a form of eating disorder that focuses on ‘feeding your feelings’. Emotional eating involves eating large amounts of food, often for comfort, to deal with distress or negative emotions, or as a distracter to potentially numb or hide underlying or suppressed emotional issues. Many of us learn from a young age that food can bring comfort and help to make us feel a bit better, emotionally, at least in the short term. The food consumed is usually ‘junk’ or sugary food which can provide temporary relief from stress, anxiety, sadness, depression or other negative feelings and emotions. Emotional Eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. When eating becomes the only or main reason used to manage feelings and emotions, it then becomes a problem, and thus, a form of eating disorder. It is estimated that approximately 75% of overeating is caused by emotions. Therefore, it seems that there is an association between Emotional Eating and overeating. ‘Comfort’ foods are used to provide comfort literally: to give or satisfy a certain feeling – a feeling that offers relief, temporarily, from anxiety, stress, sadness, anger, confusion, or any other negative feelings and emotions. The ‘comfort’ food can help the individual to deal with, for instance, anxiety, anger, low selfesteem, boredom, depression, loneliness, frustration, sadness and many other thoughts, feelings, experiences and situations.

This can lead to overeating. The individual seeks to repeatedly find relief from such negative thoughts and feelings. Hence, when such a feeling arises, the person becomes distressed, seeks out the ‘comfort’ food to help him/her to cope with the distress, and may then overeat to repeatedly keep such distressful thoughts and feelings at bay. As mentioned, it becomes disordered eating and, thus, a problem, when the individual seeks to continually cope with negative thoughts, feelings and experiences in this way. This repeated behaviour often leads to overeating and potentially weight gain and obesity in the long term. When repeated over time, the behaviours can become an automatic response to distress and negative feelings,meaning the behaviours can often be a challenge to manage. This is especially difficult when we consider how such ‘emotional hunger’ can arise suddenly, meaning the person must satisfy this need and have relief immediately in order to cope with the thoughts and feelings they are experiencing. They will continue to eat, even when full, to satisfy this need for emotional relief. However, this rarely solves the problem and the distressful thoughts and feelings are not managed in an appropriate way. The person may then feel guilty for overeating and this may, consequently, trigger the ‘emotional hunger’ cycle once again. This process can become automatic over time. It is important that the person recognises and acknowledges their emotional eating habits. In so doing, they begin to address the issue and begin to manage such behaviours.

• • • • • • •

Do you eat when you are not hungry or when you are full? Do you reward yourself with food? Do you eat food to feel better (when you are sad, unhappy, anxious, stressed, angry, bored, confused etc)? Do you eat more when you are feeling stressed? Do you regularly eat until you have stuffed yourself? Do you feel out of control over food? Is food like a friend to you? Does it help you cope and make you feel safe?

It is important to firstly identify the above behaviours and acknowledge that there may be a problem with one’s relationship with food. Treatment might involve the individual identifying triggers and adopting more suitable and ‘healthier’ ways of managing thoughts, feelings, problems and experiences. Again, a multidisciplinary approach is required and might include nutritional counselling, keeping a food diary, stress management therapy, developing new coping strategies and personal counselling/ therapy to help the person to deal with any underlying emotional or psychological difficulties.

Where did it come from? By Rhian Lovell Where did it come from? Where did it start? Where are the answers That will help this depart I'm faced with a battle Both day and night I feel so frightened As the ends not in sight There are good days and bad days Steps forward and back As I fight with my feelings Caught up in a trap Coping is hard Recovery is long But finally I realise What I am doing is wrong As I walk forwards I never look back Coping with things I didn't think I could hack With the support of my family And of my friends I can see that my nightmare Is reaching an end.

No Bodies Perfect offers Clinical Hypnotherapy to Eating Disorder Sufferers By Alexandra O’Brien

No Bodies Perfect has now recruited a fully qualified and experienced Clinical Hypnotherapist to work with our service users who are experiencing eating disorders. Johan MacIver first approached No Bodies Perfect when she attended one of our eating disorder training courses during Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2013 and expressed her interest in getting involved with the charity. Following various discussions and an interview, Johan was finally recruited as a volunteer with No Bodies Perfect in the role of Clinical Hypnotherapist providing therapy to eating disorder sufferers. Johan offers hypnotherapy solutions to many different issues, including eating disorders. She also incorporates cognitive behaviour therapy into her practice of hypnosis. Johan has been in practice since 2002 and is very experienced in many issues. Johan first became interested in hypnotherapy after receiving hypnotherapy herself for a dental problem. Where traditional treatments had failed, hypnotherapy helped to overcome the problem. This experience inspired Johan to study hypnotherapy and as a result successfully treat many people within the Glasgow area and throughout Scotland and further afield for an array of different problems and ailments through the use of hypnotherapy. Johan continues to update her skills with ongoing training and is a Member of the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis (BSCH). The BSCH is a national professional body whose aim is to promote and assure high standards in the practice of hypnotherapy. Registration de-

mands good quality training, ethical practice and adherence to their code of conduct. What is Hypnosis? Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not sleeping and you are not unconscious. In fact, when experiencing hypnosis, you are very much alert and conscious, but experience a very deep state of relaxation, a bit like when you are day-dreaming and become oblivious to the world around you. During hypnotherapy, you are in a highly relaxed state, which is actually very pleasant to experience. You are still in control – the only difference is that your attention has shifted elsewhere. During hypnosis, the brain emits alpha waves meaning that you are still mentally alert but in a highly relaxed state. In fact, during hypnosis, you can be more alert that someone who has not been hypnotised, since you are in a state of enhanced awareness – your attention is narrowed and blocks out all the ‘noise’ that often distracts us, meaning if a fire alarm went off during a session, the person being hypnotised would be the first person out the door due to the highly aware state. Clinical Hypnotherapy it is a valuable form of therapy to those experiencing eating disorders as the hypnotherapist can help the individual to explore and discover what the function of the eating disorder has had in the sufferer’s life. In fact, Alexandra, Director of No Bodies Perfect, had frequent hypnotherapy when she began her own recovery for an eating disorder and it was very valuable in her journey to leaving Ed behind. If you are interested in our Clinical Hypnotherapy sessions, please email No Bodies Perfect for more information and to book an appointment: Once you have signed up to sessions, you will correspond directly with Johan to arrange appointments.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2013 11th-17th February By Lesley Mackay Assistant Group Facilitator and Charity Trustee To promote awareness of eating disorders this Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW), No Bodies Perfect decided to design a campaign which empowered people to ‘break up’ with their eating disorders (Eds). EDAW falls in line with Valentine’s Day so we figured why not take a stand and ‘Kiss Goodbye to Ed’ this Valentine’s Day? Many eating disorder sufferers, during therapy, are encouraged to separate their eating disordered inner voices and thoughts from their own by creating a separate persona, complete with a name. Often they name it simply ‘Ed’. Attributing all their destructive, abusive eating disordered thoughts to a separate entity helps to distance them from these thoughts and change deeply ingrained patterns of behaviour and painfully carved thought processes. Once they have separated these thoughts they can begin to challenge and overcome them. Ed is finally well and truly ‘dumped’ – the end of an abusive relationship and the beginning of an inspirational journey of recovery. No Bodies Perfect began the week with a week-long exhibition in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow, displaying art work (poetry, creative writing, paintings, sketches and photographs) from our previous, successful ‘When Words Don’t Work’ exhibition which celebrates artistic expression as form of eating disorder therapy. Many of the pieces make reference to the abusive and intrusive presence of Ed and many mention

the triumph in defeating Ed. We also began the drive to display as many posters and leaflets to promote the campaign in workplaces, GP surgeries, health centres, universities and colleges. Of course, the weekly support group also took place with an excellent turn out offering peer support and openly discussing anything and everything related to their own experiences with Ed. Tuesday seen an extremely successful evening with The Body Shop Pamper-Me Fundraising Evening in Glasgow city centre. People came from far and wide to indulge themselves with luxurious beauty products – reminding everyone to love and cherish themselves. We raised a great amount of money, all of which will be invested in running costs for the charity – room hire for support group meetings, for example. Wednesday seen No Bodies Perfect’s first training day for professionals. The training course is called ‘Understanding Eating Disorders 1’ and provides a general, but in-depth and intriguing introduction to eating disorders. This particular training day witnessed a great turn out from a wide range of people including counsellors, nurses, students, teachers, and the general public. We hope to reiterate this success with more in-depth topics in future. We also had other fundraising and awareness promotions throughout the week. A Fundraising Prize Raffle; Online Fundraising Appeal; Online Awareness Campaign, and lots more. The Kiss Goodbye to ED’ featured on Facebook and Twitter and daily messages and inspiration were posted by our very own No Bodies Perfect volunteers defining what recovery means to them. We also distributed and displayed 'Kiss Goodbye to Ed' Campaign Posters UK and worldwide; fundraising cans in selected Boots stores; selling charity wristbands and pin badges.

If you would like to do something for Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2014 or have anything you want us to help you plan during the year, please let us know so we can start planning. Similarly, if you have an idea you would like us to do, want to get involved in our events, can offer prizes for the raffle, or anything for our fundraising or awareness events, or offer any other goodies or help, services or products that will benefit us please get in touch at info@ We really wanted to make this a great Eating Disorders Awareness Week. We didn’t just want to raise awareness of eating disorders and raise funds to help people with eating disorders – we wanted to instil hope and show others that recovery is possible. Remember the No Bodies Perfect motto:

your voice counts:recovery exists

Letter of Appreciation to My Body Dear Body..........

By Alexandra O’Brien

Thank you! I am amazed that you are still here and working reasonably well. Ok, so I have some health problems, such as digestive issues, a wonky knee and an often painful right foot. But I can cope with that. My digestive system is still damaged from the past when I had a severe eating disorder for over 14 years. My knee is sore and weakened from when I had a serious exercise addiction in the past and pushed by body relentlessly beyond all reasonable possibilities. My foot is damaged because a blue BMW was moving at high speed and rammed right into my body, knocking me down and leaving me limp and very injured. Despite all that, I am still here and still in reasonably good health. I punished my body for so long through my eating disorder. I put my body through things that most other humans could not possibly do. But I got through it all. I am a survivor. I am sorry for everything I put you through. I am still here and, for that, you are a truly amazing Body. Thank you for always being there for me Body, even when I did everything in my power to destroy you and make you disappear. I now love my Body. It is an amazing thing. Thank you Body. Yours


Life Coaching Sessions: One-To-One By Alexandra O’Brien

Christina is a Life Coach who has completed accredited training with the Association for Coaching. Christina is available to work with you on a 1-1 basis and help with motivation, goal setting, addressing barriers to change and many of the things noted below. Coaching would last for approximately 6 sessions, although may be longer for some individuals. Christina is a qualified social worker and has a strong background in group work. Christina carries her own professional indemnity insurance. Christina is available for one-to-one sessions on Mondays 10am – 2pm. If you would like to book sessions with Christina, please contact No Bodies Perfect in the first instance: Clients will contact Christina directly after sessions begin. Life Coaching sessions will be on a Monday between 10am and 2pm, at an agreed time with yourself and Christina. Please note that, due to the popularity of this service, there may be a waiting list of a few weeks. The Life Coaching sessions are free, although we ask a one-off donation of £20 or over to the charity to cover basic administration costs/ paperwork- we will absorb the rest of the costs. The donation must be made directly to No Bodies Perfect before your first session with Christina. Please note that the donation is non-refundable. If you decide to go ahead with sessions, please make this donation before you begin coaching directly to No Bodies Perfect.

So what do you want? Do you feel stuck in a rut? Would you like to feel more confident, more clear, more creative? Are you thinking about changing careers, finding a relationship, or just breaking some old habits? Or do you know what you'd like to change in your life but aren't sure where to start? Either way, Life Coaching can help you take more control of your life ... able to make decisions, create change and work towards a more fulfilled life. A few sessions with a Life Coach can change your life.

What is Life Coaching? Life coaching aims to help clients determine and achieve life goals. A life coach will use multiple methods that will help clients with the process of setting and reaching goals. The coach may apply values assessment; assess barriers to change, goal-setting and other techniques in helping their clients. The first phase helps clients to identify personal issues that might be preventing them from achieving their aims in life. During the second phase, the Life Coach supports the client to help him/her overcome barriers and obstacles and work toward specified goals.

What Can Life Coaching Help With? Life coaching can help you in: Personal Issues Relationships Behaviour Changes Setting and Achieving goals Career and Education Stress Management

Decision Making Motivation Time Management Health and Lifestyle ....and many other issues Take time out of your life and look at what is going on Understand why your life is not working out the way you want it Get to the route of what it is exactly what you are looking for Create and design goals which will be tailor made for you Find and remove your hidden beliefs which prevent you from progressing The sessions will help you to keep focussed and energised about your changes.

How Does Life Coaching Work? The Life Coach will work with you to help you understand yourself, as well as how you can change in order to make a difference in your life. We all have within us everything we need to be powerful, creative managers of our lives. But often we limit ourselves by the way we think and act - yet we don't realise we're doing it. Through Life Coaching, you get to see and understand these patterns that often limit the way you think and act - and this new awareness makes it easy to let go of what's no longer working. Life Coaching can help you to understand who you really are, what you're capable of and what you may need in life to feel happy, at peace and fulfilled. The Life Coach then supports you to take action. to take steps and create these changes.

‘Kiss Goodbye To Ed’ © Campaign Posters By Alexandra O’Brien

Our Eating Disorders Awareness and Fundraising Campaign for 2013 is ‘Kiss Goodbye to Ed’ ©. We have a Campaign Poster for this campaign that is now available to order for FREE for anyone who wants a copy/copies to put up in their college/university, school, doctor’s surgery, workplace, clinic, library, social club – anywhere! We want to cover the UK (and anywhere else) with these posters to raise awareness of eating disorders and encourage sufferers and carers to have a voice. Let’s get the word out! These Campaign Posters will be available throughout 2013 as we anticipate it being a year-long campaign and we would love you to order some to really raise awareness of eating disorders generally during 2013. HOW TO GET YOUR FREE CAMPAIGN POSTERS: Please email us at to order your FREE Campaign Posters. Please include your name, address and the number of posters you would like. We have already distributed 1000s of posters already this year and poster has been requested by people all across the UK as well as in Ireland, Australia and America. Help get the word out and raise awareness of eating disorders!

S T I B A H G N I T A E SURVEY: E C I V R E S H T L AND THE HEA Presently, few individuals with shape, weight and and/or eating concerns seek effective and specialised treatment. This research aims to examine eating attitudes and behaviours, help-seeking behaviours and barriers to receiving psychological treatments. Eligibility: Females 14 years and older with shape, weight and/or eating concerns. However, an eating disorder diagnosis is not required to participate, as this research is examining a range of eating behaviours. Participation is voluntary and involves completion of an anonymous online survey. This survey takes approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. It contains some questions relating to general demographic information, eating behaviours and attitudes, past health service use, and attitudes towards and perceived barriers to psychological treatments. A wide range of behaviours will be assessed e.g. binge eating, fasting and purging behaviours (which include self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, use of diuretics, laxatives, diet pills and/or enemas). After completing the survey you will be given the option to provide your email address to go into the draw to win 1 of 5 gift vouchers (1 x $100 & 4 x $50 - to use on this online department store). This survey will be available until June 2013. To participate or for further information on this research you can visit this survey link at: https://prodsurvey.rcs. This link will first take you to the information and consent page. Please contact Tash Innes at for any further information.

Training for Volunteers By Alexandra O’Brien We are always seeking training and learning opportunities for our team of volunteers and this Spring we provided some volunteers with accredited training in Emergency First Aid (by Pinnacle Training) in May and the excellent Scottish Mental Health First Aid Training in June. Some of our volunteers recently completed ASIST training (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and a generously reduced COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills course from the Glasgow Cognitive Therapy Centre. Some of our volunteers also completed the Understanding Eating Disorders 1 training course, written and presented by Alexandra O’Brien of No Bodies Perfect. If you or your organisation can provide some free or subsidised training for some No Bodies Perfect volunteers we would love to hear from you. As a thank you, we can provide some advertising for a year after the presentation of the course. Advertising includes: a formal advert on our official website (which receives 1000s of hits every week); adverts on Facebook, Twitter and Meetup, and an advert in 3 of our quarterly newsletters which are distributed to 1000s of people all over the UK and many other people in Canada, America and Australia. If you can help with training, courses or workshops please get in touch:

In Memory of Carolanne 21st June 1982 – 2nd March 2013 The Carolanne McLarnon Fund By Alexandra O’Brien

I was shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Carolanne McLarnon, who passed away on 2nd March, losing her battle with anorexia nervosa. Carolanne came along to our support group meetings and was a friend of No Bodies Perfect, as well as to other members of the support group. She was a beautiful, vibrant, lovely woman who always had a smile. She was only 30 years old. Our sincerest condolences go out to her family, friends, and her best friend, who is also part of No Bodies Perfect. You are all in our thoughts at this sad time. We lit some candles in memory of Carolanne and all those who have lost their life to an eating disorder at one of our weekly support group meetings It was a very moving and emotional support group meeting with the first part involving us all lighting candles, a 2 minute in silence and a lovely poem in memory of Carolanne. All donations at the support group that day went to sending some flowers to be displayed at Carolanne’s funeral that same day. No

Bodies Perfect has set up a fund in Carolanne's name and in memory of all those who have been lost to eating disorders. Thank you very much for the donations we have received in memory of Carolanne McLarnon. These donations have been kept aside and form the start of the Carolanne McLarnon Fund we have set up. We hope to use the fund to increase awareness and support services in the Inverclyde area of Scotland where Carolanne lived and grew up. We all need to ensure no more lives are lost to eating disorders. Resources in Scotland are simply a disgrace. We care and we will be stepping up our campaign in honour of Carolanne. We have planned a petition that will be sent to the Scottish Government. We will be increasing our campaigning to improve eating disorder support, resources and information in Scotland and we are planning a focus group meeting during the summer that we hope to invite as many people as possible in Scotland to attend and express their ideas, views, opinions and experiences. A report will be made of this and also sent to the Scottish Government. We hope that as many of you as possible will join us in this and ensure that no-one else is lost tragically to an eating disorder. Please support our work and let's all ensure that, no matter where you are or whoever you may be, we don't allow anyone else to die so tragically from an eating disorder. We all have a part to play and it's through charities such as No Bodies Perfect that many voices can be heard. Your support can help save lives. Rest in Peace Carolanne.

Eating Disorders Support Forum for Sufferers and Carers By Alexandra O’Brien Do you suffer from an eating disorder or problems with food, eating, body image or obsessive exercise? Do you at times feel utterly alone and isolated and wish there was somewhere you could go and others you could turn to? People who, like you, have an eating disorder and know what you are going through? The No Bodies Perfect Support Forum is a place where you will be supported, helped, encouraged and always be listened to in a friendly, informal and helpful environment. Eating disorders come in many shapes and forms but they are equally scary and isolating. But this doesn't have to be the case. Our Support Forums can provide support to men and women, over 16 years old, experiencing ANY form of eating disorder or food and eating difficulty. There is also a Carers Support Forum which welcomes family, friends and carers of someone who has disordered eating habits, and which can provide some support and information for them too. Please read the forum rules before posting. Through shared personal stories, getting to know other Forum Users and providing support and understanding, the Support Forum and Carers Forum aims to provide alternative or additional support to those affected by eating disorders. Don't let your eating disorder hold you back and stop you from reaching out. You deserve support, healing, friendship, encouragement and understanding. The Forum requires sign-up and is free to join. The Forum is regularly moderated by volunteers who have received a Forum Handbook and Guidelines to follow to ensure as safe an environment as possible. The Forum link is:

Anorexic World By Rhian Lovell

The lies and conspiracy The deceit and the pain, Being anorexic Is like playing a game Avoiding the food In any way that you can Making things up To follow a plan The aim of the game Is to lose all the weight To gain all the control To hide all the hate Is what you get Worth all that you do Suffering so much With all that you go through

An Introduction To Mindfulness By Katie Bedford

No Bodies Perfect Recovery Representative and Self-Help Mentor

Mindfulness is a state of ‘being’ which is accessible to every one of us. It originates from Buddhist meditation and has been popularised in the Western Society by John Kabat-Zinn. Mindfulness is a ‘life skill’ which we can nurture, foster and draw upon at various moments in our life. It involves paying attention to what is occurring in our present moment experience, with an attitude of openness and nonjudgemental acceptance. Mindfulness engages all of our senses as we open up to our entire experience; becoming aware of our body, emotions, thoughts and external environment. There are many definitions of mindfulness but a working definition that is commonly used is: ‘Awareness of present experience with acceptance’ To help you understand what mindfulness is, take a moment for this exercise.

Stop. As you are reading this, notice the thoughts that arise in your mind. Likewise, observe your feelings. Is annoyance brewing? Or are you feeling excited? Now try to discern what is happening in your body. Are your brows furrowed and is your jaw tightening or are the muscles of your face relaxed? What about the sensations in the rest of your body e.g. your shoulders or stomach - can you describe them? Can you go even further and consider the quality of your awareness, regarding your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations taken as a whole. What is the nature of it? For example, are you saying to yourself, “Oh, I ought to give this a chance!” A mindfulness-based approach encourages you to not judge your experience but rather, notice it without evaluation; to meet your experience as a ‘witness rather than a critic’ There are seven principles of mindfulness: Beginner’s Mind: a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the first time. Patience: accepting that sometimes things must unfold in their own time. Cultivating Acceptance: seeing things as they actually are in the present moment. Non-judging: watching whatever comes up without trying to pursue or act on it.

Non-striving: fully participating in something without being driven by goals or tasks. Trust: it is important to trust yourself. Letting Go: letting our experience be what it is and practice observing it from moment to moment. Mindfulness can be taught through the practice of formal and informal meditation practices and exercises. For example, breathing awareness, mindfulness of sounds, mindful movement and walking, body scans, thought labelling, compassionate imagery, loving-kindness meditations and mindful eating. During our busy stressful lives our attention can be dispersed; we can be leaping from one thing to the next, grabbing at things which demand our attention, being distracted, day-dreaming, being caught up in our thoughts and worries about what happened yesterday and what we need to do tomorrow, only giving things half of our attention, being preoccupied with our own issues and concerns and judging our experiences as good or bad according to our own preferences. We can spend a good part of our lives like this, not being fully present and therefore missing moments in which we live as well as being out of touch with ourselves, our bodies and emotions. The practice and principles of mindfulness can, however, enable us to reverse these habits and live in a happier, more meaningful and wholesome way. Through mindfulness, individuals can get in touch with themselves with a sense of brightness, clarity of purpose, playfulness, creativity and inner peace. A more optimistic stance can be developed alongside a courage which enables us to work with

rather than avoid life’s challenges. The natural and intuitive state of presence from mindfulness can enable us to feel more connected, real and alive and most importantly, change the relationship we have towards our suffering. In future newsletter articles I will be exploring mindfulness-based interventions in the field of eating disorders and looking at why mindfulness may be suited to individuals with eating disorders. I will also be incorporating mindfulness exercises which you can practice at home and conducting interviews with individuals who have experienced mindfulness as part of their eating disorder treatment. A final quote to finish on: ‘In today’s rush we all think too much – seek too much – want too much – and forget about the joy of just simply being.’

No Bodies Perfect Telephone InfoLine By Alexandra O’Brien

The No Bodies Perfect InfoLine was set up as a first point of contact providing a one-stop information resource offering access to information that is easy and accessible. This is an Information Helpline, NOT a Support Helpline. The InfoLine Volunteer Assistant provides callers with information about No Bodies Perfect and our services. S/he will also signpost callers to the relevant services, resource, website or organisation, as well as send out any No Bodies Perfect materials that are requested and provide addresses, websites, telephone numbers and other information as and when required. Confidentiality and privacy is fundamental to the services, support and information provided by No Bodies Perfect. No Bodies Perfect requires that strict confidentiality be maintained at all times with respect to information and knowledge obtained by all callers, service users, volunteers and Trustees past, present and future and any individual who contacts No Bodies Perfect for support and information. For your safety and privacy, the call-taker will complete a brief calllog of this call which will remain private and confidential and be used for classification and monitoring purposes only. Only the call-taker and InfoLine Manager will have access to this call-log. You must be over 16 years old to access this InfoLine. The InfoLine is open on Wednesday evenings, 7pm-9pm Telephone Number: 078 645 98986

Could You Be Patron of a Charity or a Charity Trustee? No Bodies Perfect is a Scottish Registered Charity (SC043354) providing a range of services to people who have experienced or are experiencing eating disorders or food and eating difficulties. If you are a dynamic and motivated person with some time to spare and you have an interest in eating disorders and mental health, we would like to hear from you. We are presently seeking Patrons and Charitu Trustees to get involved with the charity and represent us. Similarly, if you would like to nominate someone you know to be Patron, please let us know. We are particularly interested in people who have personal knowledge or experience of eating disorders, (personally or as a carer/ friend/family member/health professional) mental health services, skills in strategic planning, financial management, fundraising, tendering contracts, or funding. Application will include a form, a written statement about yourself and why you want to get involved, followed by an informal face-to-face chat with us. If you have skills other than those mentioned above and would consider being a Patron, please also register your interest with us. Join us now and tell us what you think, how you would like to help and be part of our rapidly expanding charity in Scotland: info@ We look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you!

Experience of Ending Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) What is this research about? I am Peter Lydon, a final year clinical psychology trainee from Lancaster University. I am conducting a research project as part of my training, supervised by Dr. Ian smith (Clinical Psychologist, Lancaster doctorate of clinical psychology). I’m carrying out interviews to hear about how people experience the ending of therapy, specifically, those who have had cognitive analytic therapy (CAT). Very little research asks individuals themselves about their experience of therapy. This is particularly the case when it comes to research on ending therapy, even though this can be a really important part of the whole experience. I want to hear directly from individuals who have had CAT, to learn from their experience and hopefully to share this knowledge widely with therapists and trainees. I hope this will benefit people who have this therapy in the future. What would taking part involve? I will come to meet you for an informal interview probably lasting around 1 hour. This would be at a place near you, e.g. a private room at a GP surgery or library (travelling expenses can be reimbursed). Or if you prefer I can come to your own home. You wouldn’t have to talk about anything you didn’t want to, and we could pause or end the interview at any time you wished to. It would be audio-recorded, and then I

would type up the interview along with a number of other interviews from other people who had also talked about their experience of ending CAT. I will analyse the interviews to look for common themes and important messages across peoples’ experience. I will send you a summary of the results after my report has been submitted, and your identity will not be made known to anybody else. So, I would really like to hear from you if: You are aged 18+, and had at least 12 sessions of CAT with a trained CAT therapist. You had your last main therapy session at least 6 months ago, but not longer than 2 years ago (but you could still have follow up sessions going on). You went to therapy for help with any problem, diagnosis or issue. You had a recognised ending session, and not an unplanned or abrupt end. You would be willing to spend some time talking about how you found the experience of ending, including any feelings (good or bad) which it brought up, what was helpful and unhelpful, and things that mattered to you about the ending of your therapy. Thank you very much for reading this information. If you are interested, or would like more detailed information, or to speak to me about anything to do with the study, I’d be really happy to hear from you: Telephone or text: 07852516812 E-mail:

Fundraise for No Bodies Perfect! Get your copy of our new Fundraisers Handbook! By Alexandra O’Brien

No Bodies Perfect is Scotland's leading charity for eating disorders. Established in May 2010, we have provided information, training courses, awareness and direct support to eating disorder sufferers. Although based in Scotland and primarily aimed at Scottish sufferers, we also provide support and information to people all over the UK and have volunteers in various parts of Scotland, England and Wales.

Every year thousands of people contact No Bodies Perfect for help, support and information about eating disorders: sufferers, carers, family/friends, health professionals, counsellors, psychiatrists, psychologists, students, teachers, other charities and organisations, and many more people looking either for direct support, asking to access our services, looking for training, or for information about eating disorders. We need dedicated fundraisers who can raise funds on our behalf so that we can continue to provide essential support and services to sufferers and the community at large. Please fundraise on our behalf! Your commitment and passion to help others makes a huge difference and provides essential help, support, information and awareness of eating disorders, not just in Scotland, but all over the UK. Without people fundraising on our behalf, we cannot continue as a charity. We have also recently set up a Facebook Group for people who would like to organise fundraising events to raise money for No Bodies Perfect and help eating disorder sufferers in Scotland and across the UK. This group provides you with a way of networking with other fundraisers, sharing information, tips and tricks, advertising your fundraising activity, getting support, asking questions, and allows you to keep in touch with us so we know how well you are all doing. The No Bodies Perfect Community Fundraising link: https://www. If you would like to order the FREE online version of our ‘Put the Fun into Fundraising’ Handbook which gives lots of fundraising ideas, step-by-step instructions on how to organise fundraising events, information about advertising, donations and lots more, please email us to request a copy: Thank you for your help and fundraising on behalf of No Bodies Perfect - it means the world to us!

Reflecting on Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2013 By Alexandra O’Brien No Bodies Perfect were busy planning lots of events and tasks to raise awareness of eating disorders during Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2013 and to encourage more people to come forward and seek help and support for their eating disorder. This was one of our busiest times of the year and it was exciting to plan and get involved in so many things. This year’s week was jam-packed full of things and we really made an impact in Scotland and in the UK as a whole. Unfortunately, very few people and organisations take part in Eating Disorders Awareness Week each year and we wanted to do something about that! The week was a great success and involved lots of our volunteers, many of our service users and many more members of the public. Our schedule for Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2013 looked like this: • Monday 11th February: Eating Disorders Support Group Meeting. Start of our ‘When Words Don’t Work Exhibition’ in the Mitchell Library. Distributed and displayed ‘Kiss Goodbye to Ed’ Posters. Took photographs of ‘lips’ as part of our ‘Kiss Goodbye to Ed’ Campaign. We handed out leaflets and ‘Kiss Goodbye to Ed’ Posters to people and asked them to put them up in their school, college, workplace, hospital, library, community centre and so on. • Tuesday 12th February: The Body Shop Pamper-Me Fundraising Evening in Glasgow city centre. ‘When Words Don't Work Exhibition' in the Mitchell Library. Distributed and displayed ‘Kiss Goodbye to Ed’ Posters. • Wednesday 13th February: We delivered our ‘Understanding Eating Disorders 1’ training course and received a score of 4.8 out of 5 from those who attended and completed Feedback Forms. Delegates were each awarded a Certificate of Completion in Understanding Eating Dis-

orders 1. Places were available to those interested in learning more about eating disorders, including health professionals, carers, charities, universities/colleges, students, support workers, and anyone else with an interest. Distributed and displayed ‘Kiss Goodbye to Ed’ Posters. No Bodies Perfect Book Club in the evening. The Book Club read Janice Galloway’s novel ‘The Trick is to Keep Breathing. • Thursday 14th February: ‘When Words Don’t Work’ Exhibition in the Mitchell Library. Distributed and displayed ‘Kiss Goodbye to Ed’ Posters. Started the No Bodies Perfect Volunteer Recruitment Campaign. We also visited mental health charities and resource centres in Glasgow with campaign posters. • Friday 15th February: Distributed and displayed ‘Kiss Goodbye to Ed’ Posters. ‘When Words Don’t Work’ Exhibition until Sunday 17th February. • Week-Long Events: Fundraising Prize Raffle; Online Fundraising Appeal – ‘Kiss Goodbye to £1’; 'When Words Don't Work Exhibition'; distributed and displayed 'Kiss Goodbye to Ed' Campaign Posters UK wide; regular blogs, updates and recovery tips on Facebook and our new Blogger blog; posting 'lips' photos; some Boots stores agreed to have our fundraising cans, charity wristbands and pin badges in their stores to raise money for eating disorders. Eating Disorders Awareness week 2013 was a great week and although it was very busy and tiring, it was really worth it to ensure we increased awareness and education about eating disorders, challenged stigma and stereotypes associated with eating disorders, provided vital help and support for eating disorder sufferers and had fun whilst doing it all! Well done to all the No Bodies Perfect volunteers who got involved and helped to plan and organise our events and activities! A big thank you also to everyone who attended our events and who helped with fundraising – your donations go a long way to providing essential help and support to those with eating disorders in Scotland and beyond.

No Bodies Perfect Launches Pets As Therapy Scheme! By Alexandra O’Brien Hello, my name is Alfie. I am 10 months old and I am an adorable Border Terrier. I love being with people and going for walks. My favourite places to walk are Pollok Estate and Mugdock Country Park. My owner is Christine who lives with her partner and her son on the Southside of Glasgow. My owner Christine works in the office of a nursery school. We are both looking forward to starting PATS (I like getting lots of pats from people too!). I am a friendly dog with lots to give and I hope to help those suffering from eating disorders. We can go walks, play games, have fun and you can give me lots of hugs too! I am looking forward to meeting those of you who will use the PATS service provided by No Bodies Perfect – I like making new friends. If you want to know what I look like, here is a picture of me with my owner Christine at home. I look forward to long walks and lot of fun with you soon.


About PATS: No Bodies Perfect is excited to announce the launch of their new service, PATS (Pets As Therapy Scheme) in May 2013, to celebrate No Bodies Perfect’s 3rd birthday. PATS is available to anyone with an eating disorder who feels they may benefit from time out with Alfie, enjoying walks, playing games, having fun and generally having some ‘me’ time and relaxing. PATS is available for up to one hour per week, per person, and is Glasgow-wide. PATS sessions are available all day on Thursdays and Fridays. Christine is a No Bodies Perfect volunteer and has experience of eating disorders in her family. She also has other family members who have experience in animal therapy. Christine will correspond with you directly to arrange appointments after your initial contact with the main contact at No Bodies Perfect. PATS use animals as a form of treatment. The most popular type of animalassisted therapy is canine therapy and equine therapy. The goal of therapy is to improve the individual’s social, emotional, psychological and cognitive functioning. Therapy can also be educational and increase the motivation. Therapy can also be used for fun and relaxation. This form of therapy often brings positive and long-lasting results where other forms of therapy have not seemed to work. Benefits include: improved communication skills; assists the individual in finding alternative, healthier ways of coping; supports personal growth and development; reduces stress; reduces isolation and loneliness; reduces anxiety, depression and chronic pain; provides a good talking point; improves social competence, social interactions and reduces social anxiety; encourages social integration; promotes self-confidence and self-esteem; helps the individual to develop self-belief and a sense of achievement; is a catalyst for change and transition; and promotes independence and promotes a send of responsibility. If you would like to participate in PATS and arrange a meeting (or meetings) with Alfie and Christine, please contact No Bodies Perfect:

Recovery Representatives Wanted We are currently looking to recruit some more people to become Recovery Representatives in Scotland. Recovery Representatives are males and females, over 18, who have recovered from any form of eating disorder or eating and food problem. Recovery Representatives are positive role models who are pro-recovery, support people currently experiencing an eating disorder and who help raise awareness of eating disorders in Scotland generally. They also provide support, guidance and understanding to those currently struggling with an eating disorder and provide them with hope, inspiration and show that ‘your voice counts : recovery exists’. Recovery Representatives can get involved in various ways: some come along to support group meetings; some give talks ad presentations about eating disorders and their own experience; some are Self-Help Mentors or get involved in writing for newsletters, magazines, out blog and lots more; some Recovery Representatives help with fundraising, and others get involved with campaigning or increasing awareness of the charity or liaising with other organisations. There are lots of things you can get involved with as a Recovery Representative – just let us know what interests you. Interested? Please send an email to to request an application form and role description. We are especially interested in hearing from males and those over 35 who have recovered from an eating disorder, although we want to hear from anyone who is interested in becoming a Recovery Representative and showing that recovery is possible. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Goodbye Anorexia By Rhian Lovell

Goodbye anorexia I want you no more I no longer need you For what you were for. I know that you were there for me In good times and bad You sometimes made me happy But more often made me sad. Goodbye anorexia After all these years It has taken me so much time But I no longer need you here. You were my way of coping With so many different things But now I want to enjoy Whatever my life may bring.

The Hidden Truths about Living with an Eating Disorder By Rhian Lovell (NBP Wales, Self-Help Mentor and Community Writer)

We hear quite a bit about eating disorders in the media today, but I believe there are many hidden truths that people aren't aware of - the stark realities of living with an eating disorder, maybe the hidden taboos of the illness. As an eating disorder progresses and worsens in severity it begins to cloud the truth, it starts to take control of you as a person and it begins to lie. Over the years that I have battled with an eating disorder I lost who I really was. Not only did I lose who I was, but other people forgot who I was, because I became the eating disorder. Differentiating between me and my eating disorder became impossible for some. Some of the physical and emotional consequences of living with an eating disorder are plain for all to see. However there are so many consequences and hidden truths that affect those living with eating disorders on a daily basis. Those affected by eating disorders use many compensatory behaviours and these all have varying consequences. Some people engage in self-induced vomiting; some exercise to the extreme;

some take diet pills, diuretics or laxatives; and some self harm as a means of punishment. It is the effects and consequences of some of these compensatory behaviours which appear to be the hidden truths of living with an eating disorder. You hear about these compensatory behaviours but you hear little about the effects of them on the person suffering. After taking huge amounts of laxatives I often found myself bent over in crippling pain. At times I wasn’t able to go out and meet friends because I couldn’t leave the house as I needed to be by a toilet. Vomiting may seem an ideal solution for some, allowing you to eat but not to gain weight. However, the dizzy faint feeling I would suffer after vomiting were horrendous. Often I would vomit blood because I had spent so long vomiting ensuring as much as I could that all the food was out of my system. One thing you do hear about, but possibly don’t realise the extent of, is the long term damage regular vomiting does to your teeth. In the shorter term, vomiting took the enamel off my teeth. However, in long term, reality has left me suffering with regular tooth infections, root canal treatment to try and save decayed teeth, crowns on many teeth and losing the rest: an expensive and physically painful situation to be in. The effects of self starvation are both physical and psychological in nature. There were times when I could not drive my car because of the risk of me passing out at the wheel. I remember one Friday evening being out with a friend, having been to the cinema and waiting for the bus home. I passed out and was rushed to hospital.

Unfortunately, people assumed I was drunk or had taken drugs, whereas the reality was I hadn’t eaten for a number of days. Psychologically, I recall losing all self-confidence and my self-esteem hitting an all time low, coupled with secondary depression. Despite being painfully thin, clinically underweight, I truly believed I was fat. As a result, I would hide behind baggy clothes, buying clothes two or three sizes too big for me. There were days when I quite simply couldn’t leave the house....getting dressed was impossible. Or I simply would not have the motivation to get out of bed. Over-exercising was another extremely difficult compensatory behaviour to deal with. I quite simply wasn’t putting in enough energy to allow for additional expenditure in the form of exercise. However, this didn’t deter me. Some days I would go to the gym a couple of times or I would walk until my legs could not take any more. Holidays and warm weather created mixed emotions for me. A relief to finally not feel cold all the time, but also panic at having to expose more than my face and hands. As someone who habitually self harmed as a means of coping with the difficulties I faced, warm weather inevitably meant the exposure of these scars. There were times when I quite simply didn’t go on holiday, or even go out in the warm weather as I did not want people to see these scars, especially when they were recent injuries. When you hear about these truths I believe the reality of living with an eating disorder is far harsher than that ever portrayed by the media.

Advertising Space As the largest eating disorders charity in Scotland and one of the largest in the UK, it is important that we keep our official information website for eating disorders as up-to-date as possible with all the various services, treatments, support and help that are available for eating disorder sufferers and carers/family/ friends. We are the second most browsed eating disorder charity website in the UK and are used by many in other countries too, especially America, Australia and Canada. We now offer low-cost advertising for charities, businesses, voluntary groups, independent practitioners and other services offering eating disorder and mental health support, treatment and information! The Advertising Section on our official national eating disorders website is an ideal place for you to increase awareness of your services and if you have a service to offer, you can advertise it here. A negotiated donation will be required for those wishing to advertise. Your advert will not only feature on our official website (www. but in our Quarterly Newsletters which are distributed to 1000s of people affected by eating disorder (sufferers, carers, health professionals, charities and many more); and on our Meetup website (www. Please email us at for details on how to advertise.

Understanding Eating Disorders 1 Training Course By Alexandra O’Brien The ‘Understanding Eating Disorders 1’ training course by No Bodies Perfect recently received a score of 4.8 out of 5 (5=excellent) by the 25 people from all over Scotland who attended. We were extremely happy with this and it was great to hear that people not only really enjoyed the course (despite the snow outside that day) but found if very valuable and learned lots of new knowledge and understanding about eating disorders. We are in the process of applying for CPD for this course (and the other courses we are developing). The course covers a range of topics associated with the understanding of eating disorders including: eating disorder myths and stereotypes; male eating disorders; types of eating disorders; recovery; personal stories from Recovery Representatives; eating disorders in older people; what are eating disorders and lots more. The course is educative, interactive and social, and includes film, drama, talks about personal experiences, group-work and traditional presentations and forms of learning. The course is available to those interested in learning more about eating disorders, including health professionals, carers, and charities, members of the public, universities/colleges, students, support workers, and anyone else with an interest. Please note that the course is not for individuals experiencing an eating disorder as it aims to educate and encourage learning in those who do not know a lot about eating disorders but wish to learn more. Those who successfully complete the course will be awarded the Certificate of Completion in Understanding Eating Disorders 1. If you are interested in booking this course, require further information or have any questions please feel free to get in touch with us via email:

LAUNCH OF EATING DISORDERS SUPPORT GROUP IN EDINBURGH On Monday 1st July 2013, we launched our new EATING DISORDERS SUPPORT GROUP IN EDINBURGH as part of our Eating Disorders Support Group Network. The charity has been organising support groups (and other services) in Glasgow and other parts of Scotland since May 2010 and is now organising an eating disorder support group in Edinburgh city centre. While our other support groups meet weekly, the Edinburgh one will meet monthly for now, and we will take it from there. There will also be a monthly Coffee and Chat Club meeting in Edinburgh, which is an informal social activity for people with eating disorders to chat, take time to relax etc - it's not a support meeting but a social activity to help you get out and about, meet new people, have fun, relax and get the opportunity to chat with people who may be experiencing similar things to you. The first Eating Disorders Support Group Meeting in Edinburgh will take place on Monday 1st July, 5.45-7.30pm, Central Library, The Board Room, 7-9 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh city centre, EH1 1EG. The first Coffee and Chat Club will be 2 weeks later on Monday 15th July, Edinburgh city centre. Please note that the support group is for sufferers and not carers. For more information about the the Edinburgh branch of our support groups, please email us for more information: Please feel free to forward this information to anyone who may be interested in attending. We hope to meet with you soon. your voice counts : recovery exists

Youth and Philanthropy Initiative’s National Awards Event By Alexandra O’Brien As some of you may know, No Bodies Perfect was approached by students of Bishopbriggs Academy in East Dunbartonshire in autumn 2012 who wished to find out more about the charity and work on a project about No Bodies Perfect and the work we did. Emma, Lorna, Claire, Adam and Rachel, all sixth year pupils at the Academy met up with the Director of No Bodies Perfect, Alexandra O’Brien to find out more about the charity, what kinds of support we provided, and what we would do with the YPI grant if the charity won. They also interviewed Alexandra and were given various resources and information sheets about the charity. Alexandra and the group from the Academy remained in frequent contact with each other over the next few months, with Alexandra helping them out with information, questions and so on and the

group up-dating No Bodies Perfect on the progress of their project. They then informed the charity that they had got through several rounds of the YPI competition and had been chosen to present their project about No Bodies Perfect at the YPI final at the end of November 2012. Alexandra went along to the final with her father to see the presentations by Emma, Lorna, Claire, Adam and Rachel, amongst a wide variety of other presentations and projects on other charities by other groups of students. It was a great afternoon, with some really inspiring presentations, informative projects, music, laughter and new knowledge and understanding about other important causes and charities in Scotland. The presentation from the Bishopbriggs Academy group was amazing. It began with a very moving and emotional film written and filmed by the students themselves. After the film had finished there was complete silence – no one spoke or moved in a room that was filled with 100s of people. Sniffles and coughs could be heard. Tears rolling down the faces of grown men could be seen. There was hardly a dry eye in the room. The film had obviously touched people in a way that hadn’t been expected. The group of students from Bishopbriggs Academy continued with their presentation about eating disorders and about No Bodies Perfect. They completed a simple, yet very telling exercise involving everyone in the room: an exercise that demonstrated just how little people know about eating disorders. It was a very powerful exercise that seemed to make people re-think what they knew and thought about eating disorders.

The presentation was powerful, moving and very thought-provoking and, undoubtedly, a very special tribute to No Bodies Perfect. The presentation finished and some more presentations about other charities followed. Once all projects had been presented, it was time for the Board to go away and debate the projects they had just seen. They had to discuss the projects in great detail and decide, unanimously, which charity should win the YPI grant. Whist debating, the audience were treated to some wonderful singing and music by other students at the event. It was a real treat. It didn’t, however, calm nervousness and trepidation in the room as representatives from all the charities waited for the verdict. After what seemed like a lifetime, the Board returned and talked a little about their discussion. It seemed that there was no contest and that one presentation stood out miles above the others: it was the presentation Emma, Lorna, Claire, Adam and Rachel gave about No Bodies Perfect. We won!! We won!! It was such a surprise, yet not a surprise, because the presentation they gave was wonderful: so moving, emotional, touching and special. It was amazing to see their smiles and excitement at winning and seeing all their hard work and dedication pay off. What an achievement. We were so proud of the group and happy they

won – it was obvious it meant a lot to them. A lot of chat and organisation followed: taking pictures and passing on details. A great day! Fast forward to May 2013 and we received our official invites to the YPI National Awards Event. After three great celebrations in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and, most recently, Glasgow, it was now the turn of Perth to welcome YPI students, teachers and Charity Representatives from across Scotland to celebrate the work and achievement of YPI Schools. I attended the event on Wednesday 19th June 2013, Perth Concert Hall. Perth is the gateway to the Scottish Highlands and boasts beautiful scenery. It was a very long day but it was lovely to see students from Bishopbriggs Academy again, aswell as Olympic Gold Medallist, Katherine Grainger CBE, platinum singer/songwriter, Sandi Thom, Sir Ian Woods, and lots of other great entertainment. There was lots of inspiration and other great charities too. There must be have been about 400 people there. It was a beautiful day in Perth and a great day overall. Thank you to the Woods family Trust, the main YPI co-ordinator in Scotland for a great day out.

Is there a relationship between eating disorders and autism? By Klaudia Suchorab Self-Help Mentor and Community Writer

When you ask people about eating disorders, they often know that eating disorders have something to do with food, usually either restricting, food bingeing and/or purging. Even health professionals see eating disorders as mainly a physical illness. When they do talk about the psychological side of eating disorders, they usually talk about using food as a coping mechanism to deal with overwhelming emotions and situations. But how many people see eating disorders as a social disorder? By finding similarities between autism spectrum disorders and eating disorders, researchers may be able to better understand the nature of difficulties with social interaction often experienced by people with eating disorders. There has been plenty of research to define social deficits in autism, but not so much when it comes to eating disorders. People on the autistic spectrum are known to have problems with relating to others, with empathy, with their ability to express emotions and with their lack of imagination, among many other things. All these difficulties make people with autism withdraw from social situations. Social situations seem to be confusing, unpredictable and overwhelming.

So what about eating disorders? Most research has been done on anorexia nervosa, so it is hard to tell if the results can be generalised to those suffering from bulimia, binge eating disorder and other eating disorders. But here are the main findings. When it comes to behaviours, both anorexia and autism are characterised by the need for order, sameness and repetitive behaviours. People with anorexia seek out organised activities when they want to engage with others. The systematic structure makes things more predictable and manageable. Inflexibility of thoughts and rigidity of behaviours complicate social situations even further for people with anorexia. For individuals with anorexia, social situations are scary and cause a great deal of anxiety, making them shy and withdrawn. People with anorexia also have frequent problems with expressing their emotions and understanding the emotions of other people. Social withdrawal in anorexia might seem paradoxical as individuals with anorexia often describe themselves as "people pleasers" and are concerned about being accepted by their friends and family. Research, however, shows that even following recovery, ex-sufferers of anorexia remain socially isolated, often suffering from the additional burden of social anxiety. Fears in social settings make individuals with anorexia introverted, despite their desire to be accepted. Autism seems to have a lot of common with eating disorders, especially anorexia. When it comes to social interactions, people on the autism spectrum and those experiencing anorexia both value predictability and being in control. In both cases, social situations cause a lot of anxiety. But what exactly makes those two disorders so similar? We will look more at the possible links between anorexia and autism in the next edition of the No Bodies Perfect Newsletter.

Recovery Quotes and Words of Inspiration As part of Eating Disorders Awareness Week we asked some of our volunteers and Recovery Representatives to write a quote or statement about recovery and their own personal experience of an eating disorder. We posted one of these every day on Facebook, Twitter, Meetup, and on our Support Forum for other people to read. Here are two of the quotes written by our volunteers and Recovery Representatives. We hope that you find them valuable. ‘What does recovery mean? Am I partially recovered? In recovery? Fully recovered? If the thoughts persist, does my recovery count for nothing? The truth is that these are labels, as devoid of meaning as diagnostic brackets and arbitrary criteria which defines someone as ‘ill’ or ‘well’. The truth is that recovery is whatever you want it to be – it might not be a linear trajectory, it might not be as saccharine perfect as you always dreamt it would be and it might not be the same as the person next to you. It might be ‘stable’. It might be evaluating your worth on something other than weight. It might be the freedom to do the things you want and not the things ED dictates you to do. So stop bracketing recovery because whatever recovery is, it is possible. It is worth fighting for. It is yours.’ Lesley Mackay, Assistant Group Facilitator and Charity Trustee ‘Without your eating disorder in charge you will have honesty, happiness, self-compassion, willingness and energy to treat yourself well, be true to yourself, listen you to your heart and follow your dreams. Freedom awaits you, believe in yourself and do not give you.’ Katie Bedford, Self-Help Mentor and Community Writer

No Bodies Perfect Visits the Scottish Parliament No Bodies Perfect Director, Alexandra O’Brien, was invited along to the Scottish Parliament by MSP Dennis Robertson on Tuesday 7th May for a briefing on the eating disorders charity of Ireland, Bodywhys and recent developments in Scotland. Alexandra took some of the wonderful No Bodies Perfect volunteers along with her, including some of our Recovery Representatives. We met Dennis Robertson amongst many others, including Jacinta Hastings, CEO of Bodywhys, Ken Cahill, CEO of SilverCloud Health Technology, Geoff Huggins, Head of Mental Health Division at the Scottish Government, representatives from SAMH, some eating disorder sufferers and other government representatives. The briefing consisted of a presentation by Jacinta Hastings focusing on some of the work Bodywhys is involved with and details of their new service for young people, called SeeMySelf. This was followed by a presentation by Ken Cahill who provided some interesting information about the development of SeeMySelf and about the use of health technology generally. This was followed by a question and answer session. It was very interesting to hear about some of the work Bodywhys are doing in Ireland. It was also good to hear from some other people who were really dedicated to tackling eating disorders in Scotland, especially Dennis Robertson who is very committed to the cause. No Bodies Perfect also made some important points and contributed to the discussion generally as well as offering questions to both presenters. The session was concluded with a summary from Geoff Huggins regarding some of the recent work in Scotland surrounding eating disorder services. There is a lot more we would have liked to have said and debated, however, time, unfortunately, did not permit this. Nevertheless, hopefully this is the beginning of No Bodies Perfect being listened to on a wider platform because we have a huge amount to give, have lots of experience and knowledge of eating disorders, have great ideas and know what many people with eating disorders actually want regarding help and support. So we really need more people to listen please! A big thank you to Dennis Robertson and the Scottish Government for inviting us to the briefing and for their hospitality.

No Bodies Perfect eating disorder support group launches (This was a news item on STV News) By Rachael Fulton 1 July 2013

It was a ‘healthy eating’ project at secondary school that triggered Anna West’s obsession with calorie counting and weight loss. At only 14 years old, Anna began a volatile relationship with food that spiralled into cyclical anorexic and bulimic behaviour, officially diagnosed as EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). Many people with illnesses similar to Anna's identify with the term ‘bulimarexia’. For Anna, the knock-on effects of the illness have included anxiety, fatigue and ongoing damage to her stomach. “I had become aware of the fact that I seemed to eat more than other girls and so began to cut down on the amount I was eating,” said Anna, 25, of her school days. “I became obsessed by the number on the scales and the amount and type of food I was eating. I think the eating disorder was a result of many factors and can't pinpoint a specific cause, although this was when it started.” Having sought help through support groups and therapy, Anna is now on the road to recovery. She still lives with a daily struggle against her food issues and is concerned about speaking of her problems publicly, so her name has been changed to preserve her identity. Anna supports No Bodies Perfect - a Glasgow-based charity offering help for men and women living in the clutches of illnesses such as hers, so that Scottish people suffering from eating disorders have access to a support network. “Support groups are invaluable, as connecting with others who understand is very comforting and makes you feel a lot less isolated in your problems,” said Anna. “Eating disorder resources in Scotland are very limited and often

have long waiting periods or certain criteria attached. Support groups enable people to feel empowered and get valuable advice and support.” No Bodies Perfect launches its Edinburgh support group on Monday, July 1. The group hopes to encourage people with experience of eating disorders to come forward and is aiming to expand its network across the capital. The charity will also introduce a monthly meet-up for people in Edinburgh, as well as an informal monthly Coffee and Chat Club for friends to relax and socialise. It is estimated that over 1.1 million people in the UK are directly affected by an eating disorder and that women are ten times more likely to suffer from anorexia or bulimia than men. “We have weekly support groups in Glasgow, but we’re now starting more support groups in other areas,” said Alexandra O’Brien, who suffered from an eating disorder for 14 years before setting up the charity in 2010. “We’re very passionate about helping and supporting both men and women with any type of eating disorder, of which there are around 19 types that we know of.” One of the main obstacles faced in raising awareness of eating disorders is the risk of glamorising the illnesses, as many men and women are inspired by the reports of extreme weight loss rather than deterred by it. Highlighting the damaging psychological and physical trauma caused by eating disorders, rather than measuring their impact in dress sizes and pounds lost, is less likely to trigger ‘thinspiration’ - the term given to weight loss aspiration in pro-anorexia circles.

No Bodies Perfect aim to cater not only for extreme cases - those that would qualify for treatment on the NHS - but to anyone over the age of 18 who feels they have a turbulent, unhealthy relationship with food, ranging from starvation to binge eating. “The vast majority of people with eating disorders are not underweight most are of 'normal' weight or overweight, yet they are still experiencing a very debilitating and tormenting eating disorder that can ruin their life,” said Alex. “It can really impact on so many areas of their life and, most importantly, their emotional and psychological health, which is often the most difficult and tormenting part of the illness. “We recognise that anyone can experience this. Eating disorders do not discriminate and they can creep up on anyone. They aren’t always about beauty, appearance or looking a certain way. “In fact, they have little to do with food, but lots to do with gaining control and finding a way of coping with life. Thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories and experiences are all controlled through one’s relationship with food. “For those with eating disorders, life seems easier to manage through the control of food. Eating disorders can often develop in response to what is going on inside of us." Run entirely by volunteers who have had personal experience with some form of eating disorder, the charity runs on an extremely low budget and aims to create support groups across Scotland to help men and women cope with their eating issues. “We have supported over 350 different people in three years just during weekly support group sessions, hundreds more via our social activities and events and thousands across Scotland,” said Alex. “We’ve also helped people in the UK and in parts of America, Canada and Australia via our information service, online support, forums, magazine and quarterly newsletters, so we help anyone we can no matter their location.” No Bodies Perfect will launch their Edinburgh support group at Central Library, The Board Room, 7-9 George IV Bridge from 5.45pm - 7.30pm. For more information, visit the Nobodies Perfect Event Page and visit their website for more information on the charity.

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Would you like to become involved with No Bodies Perfect and eating disorders in Scotland? We are looking for more great, motivated people of all ages to join us, either as a formal volunteer or casually, on a one-off basis, or just help with some things when you have time. You might have a specific idea that you want help with or want to take on a particular role. If so, let us know - it would be great to hear from you. Similarly, you may want to help with raising money and fundraising activities for No Bodies Perfect. You might want to help organise events. You may wish to help design posters and leaflets. You might want to become a Recovery Representative or help with the Community Outreach and Awareness Team and raise awareness of eating disorders in Scotland. You may wish to help with campaigning or talk to other charities, the government or MPs. Perhaps you have a story to tell and would like to be involved with giving talks and presentation, or do interviews or speak with the media. There is so much you can get involved with. We are also looking for people sit on our Committee Board, as a Charity Trustee, so you might be interested in that. If you want to GET INVOLVED in some way, we really look forward to hearing from you. The more people involved, the more awareness of eating disorders we can create in Scotland and the more support, social and information services we can provide to those struggling with an eating disorder or food and eating difficulties in Scotland. You can contact us confidentially at: for information or to voice your interest and we can take it from there.

Let’s together provide support, information and awareness of eating disorders in Scotland!

No Bodies Perfect Summer 2013 Newsletter  
No Bodies Perfect Summer 2013 Newsletter  

Summer 2013 Edition of No Bodies Perfect Newsletter. No Bodies Perfect - Scotland's Charity for Eating Disorders.