The programme was about genuinely desperate housewives

The programme was about genuinely desperate housewives


Last night I watched Desperately Hungry Housewives on BBC1. I was in two minds about whether or not to do so because since starting my new fitness regime (Operation Bridesmaid) I’ve had a couple of friends voice concerns over the possibility I may take things too far and get a bit obsessed.

Watching a programme about anorexia and bulimia, especially considering I had just munched my way through a plate of homemade millionaire shortbread, was maybe not the best thing to do. Seriously, I don’t know where the heck I was when God was handing out the self-control, one whiff of chocolate and I’m away.

Thankfully, as I listened to Zoe, Tracey, Jane and Georgia recount their stories, I felt nothing but empathy for them. In fact, I would go as far as to say I pitied them. Here were four women who for one reason or another had a relationship with food which had at times taken over their lives. For some of them, sadly, it still was taking over.

Each of them still fought daily to combat their issues and the likelihood of them feeling completely at ease with food in the future seemed extremely slim (no pun intended). The history of Georgia’s anorexia in particular shocked me. We were shown skelatal photographs of her at the peak of her illness aged 18. Now, a young mum, she was dieting to lose those post-baby pounds and restricting herself to the extent that she wouldn’t eat a slice of her other son’s birthday cake.

The danger of her slipping back into old habits hung over the household. But she said herself there was nothing she could do. As I sat there, nursing a slight feeling of nausea from the millionaire shortbread debacle, I was so thankful that I didn’t feel the compulsion to go and make myself sick in the way that Tracey, one of the other sufferers, would do at night after her chidren had gone to bed.

But this got me thinking: What about viewers who do suffer from eating disorders? How would they react to this programme? I am by no means an expert on the subject but I have heard before that anorexia and bulimia can be very competitive conditions. The existence of pro-anorexia websites – as discussed in this article – show the dangers of this. Would some women watching Desperately Hungry Housewives last night see it as a challenge or inspiration?

Don’t get me wrong, I am aware that raising the awareness of these illnesses is important and I am not suggesting that the producers portrayed these women as role models. However, I think it has to be remembered that issues like these are highly complex and while raising awareness we could inadvertently be providing inspiration for other sufferers or for those on the brink of a downward spiral.

I would be interested to hear what other people think?