THE BLOG

Never Mind the Cream Cakes, What Money-Grabbing Katie Hopkins Really Feeds On Is Attention

12/09/2014 14:32 BST | Updated 11/11/2014 10:59 GMT

AS people begin to understand more and more about the connection between the mind and the body, the realisation is slowly dawning that managing your weight is as much about what goes on inside your head as what you put into your tummy.

The old attitude which branded fat people as either lazy or stupid because they couldn't stop eating is thankfully being replaced gradually with the recognition that with some people there can be an emotional cause for over-eating which locks them in an unhealthy and unhappy cycle they're unable to break.

As founder of ThinkingSlimmer.com I've yet to meet someone who chooses to be overweight or obese and there's usually an underlying cause which can generally be resolved. I know how low self-esteem and lack of confidence can play an overwhelming part in weight problems and many of the people I help have a very complex relationship with food and exercise.

So I'm horrified at the appalling insensitivity and stupidity of the TV personality Katie Hopkins, who has deliberately put on over 50lbs for the cameras so she can prove to the world that losing it all again is a piece of cake - actually, make that no piece of cake!

She'll prove no such thing, of course. All she'll prove is that she's very good at making money for herself. When you're being paid a large amount to make a TV documentary there's a very strong incentive to go on a very strict, calorie-controlled regime. Celebrities do it every year for the January weight-loss videos.

Ms Hopkins has completed part one of the documentary and is now three days into part two, in which she will undoubtedly regain her previous slim figure with apparent breath-taking ease.

It's a cruel stunt that's having a very negative effect on many overweight people, who really don't deserve callous Katie's ignorant and self-serving rants.

There she was this week blubbing on the This Morning sofa, declaring: "I hate fat people for making me do this." Oh get real, please! What's making you do this is greed for money, not greed for cream cakes.

Her misguided view that "overweight people should stop blaming everyone else for problems they can control" sparked a furious reaction on my Twitter and Facebook pages. The tweets that can be repeated branded her as "disgusting" and "ignorant." On Facebook, she was called "a pompous ass" and one lady said: "I wish she would spontaneously combust." Another bravely confessed: "Much of my weight gain is down to battling three bouts of depression."

Ms Hopkins has made a conscious decision in the pursuit of money to eat 6,500 calories a day and go from 8st 8lbs (116lbs) to 12st (172lbs). She will prove nothing when she eventually slims down except that she is big-headed, bossy and bananas!

I was interested to read research this week which shows that if you tell someone they are fat it simply makes them eat more. Researchers from University College London studied nearly 3,000 men and women aged 50 and over for a period of four years and questioned them about how other people treated them.

Those who had been subjected to "fatshaming" put on just over 2lbs during the study and were six times as likely to become obese. On the other hand, those who weren't criticised for their weight actually became slimmer.

The reasons are obvious to those of us who specialise in helping people to retrain their minds to change their relationship with food and exercise.

Being criticised because they're fat, when they're already very sensitive to it, can drive people to comfort eat to make them feel better. This then becomes a vicious cycle.

Fear of ridicule can also mean people refuse to exercise. After all, who would want to be laughed at in the street or in the gym, even though they are taking Ms Hopkins's advice and doing something about their weight?

What worries me particularly about "fatshaming" is that doctors and teachers are jumping on the bandwagon. Showing disrespect for a patient because of their size, which people tell me happens when they see their GP or nurse, has a very harmful effect.

So does sending letters from school unnecessarily telling parents their children are obese when often the problem is nothing more than puppy fat which will disappear as the child grows.

Often people can carry the emotional effect of such childhood shaming for the rest of their lives.

I'd love to get inside Katie's mind to see what childhood experience might be causing her constant need for controversy and attention.