Teenager struggling with anorexia says new menu rule will do more harm than good

A teenager struggling with anorexia says a new menu calorie rule will hurt people – even if they don’t have an eating disorder. The government says the legislation, which came into effect this week, will help people make healthier choices.

But critics say it will make matters worse for people with eating disorders, who may focus intensely on calories. Marni Price, 16, was diagnosed with anorexia over a year ago but has suffered from an eating disorder for over two years.

She says the new regulations will have an impact on her – her mum going a step further and saying it will be impossible for her daughter to eat out. Marni, from Wallington, Surrey, said: “Calories are my biggest trigger, which is why I’m so passionate about it.

“People with eating disorders go to restaurants – the goal of recovery is to enjoy the things other people can do. If I go to a restaurant and I don’t see the calories, I will get something that I really want.

“Whereas if I can see the calorie count, I will go for the lower calorie option, which is really not helpful. I think it’s a bad idea and it can be harmful for people with eating disorders as well as people in general.”

Marni was hospitalized last March due to her eating disorder but is currently working with Child and Youth Mental Health Services to overcome it. Her recovery journey took a step forward in September when she began studying fashion at university.

And now she wants to speak out and give her point of view as someone who has experienced the disease. She said: “I’ve always had a bad relationship with food and anorexia started when I was 14.

“I was just exercising every day and then gradually got really obsessed and started cutting back on my food intake. hospital – I was taken out of school and couldn’t complete my studies.

“It’s really hard to get help if you have an eating disorder because the demand for help has increased a lot since Covid.” Marni wants to help others who are in the same situation as her and has some advice for those worried about the new laws.

She said: “Something I considered was asking other people to read the menu options. I learned to challenge myself and do exposure therapy where I do. Marni’s mother, Sian Saunders, 37, added: “Calories are one of the most important things in Marni’s life.

“When I bring home a grocery store, I have to mark all the calories with a black marker on the front and back of each item so she can’t see them. Most people think people Anorexia sufferers don’t eat, but they just restrict and control what they eat.

“We try to eat out sometimes, but not as much as we like and often Marni would insist on staying home. I try to take her to lunch at smaller restaurants or cafes so she can relax. feel more confident with the food – that’s how I think places should be found that won’t have calories on the menu.

“She’s gotten better with it and lately we’ve been able to decide what she wants without too much trouble, but it’s always a challenge. If calories were to appear on every menu, it would be impossible for her to eat out. as she would restrict what she would like to eat.

“Asking for a different menu without calories would single her out and that’s something we absolutely cannot do. Eating as a family would be much less, if at all.

“We can’t change this, but as a family we have agreed not to go to dinner at this time until we have Marni somewhere comfortable with the strength to be calorie-restricted free with her meals. .”

The new settlement comes at the same time as a documentary on the life of Nikki Grahame is airing. The TV personality tragically passed away from her eating disorder nearly a year ago on April 9, 2021.

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