Author Archives: Claire

What do you know about Eating Disorders?

Wirral Tutoring Star Goals - Eating Disorders Week

25th February marks the start of Eating Disorders Awareness Week , so I thought it maybe useful to put together some information about eating disorders, how you can support people, how you can get some help for yourself and what to look out for in those you love and care for.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS STRUGGLING PLEASE GET SOME HELP

Why do we even eat?

Bodies need energy to do everything, including our brains to think so in order to function and to learn we need a good supply of fuel in the form of food. Puberty is a time where extra energy is needed and so extra fuel/food too.

For some people, eating the right amount each day is very difficult for a variety of reasons.

What are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are serious illnesses where worry and feelings towards food take over people’s lives. Someone with an ED has a very negative relationship with food and their behaviour towards it is controlled by the disorder.

We still don’t know exactly what causes EDs. They can be linked to other mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. For other people they can begin as a way of getting some order and control into a chaotic life, they can control food when they can’t control anything else.

There are many explanations that have been researched:

  • Experiential factors such as trauma, abuse, bullying, bereavements. It has been shown in studies that around 15% of people with anorexia had a negative life event in the three months to the onset of the illness.
  • Cognitive factors such as obsessive thought, rigid thinking patterns, low self-worth. In research it was shown that people with EDs have a higher memory than most for words such as diet, weight, body-shape.
  • Personality factors such as perfectionism, body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem
  • Sociocultural factors – preoccupation with thinness is only found in cultures where food is abundant and places where thinness is prized the prevalence of EDs is higher
  • Family dynamics have been researched with factors such as intrusive parenting, unremained conflicts, parents praising slenderness identified as risk factors in some studies
  • Genetic studies have shown a possible link to chromosome 1 in families where there are two or more people with EDs
  • Neural biology investigations have shown possible links to damage to the hypothalamus, serotinin levels and problems with the insula
  • Evolutionary explanations have been hypothesised such as ED being an evolutionary adaptive mechanism to modern environments with excess food amongst other theories.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a type of anxiety disorder related to body image. Some people assume all people with an eating disorder have BDD too but this isn’t the case. BDD can exist on it’s own as well.

People with BDD don’t see the version of themselves like everyone else does. When they look in the mirror they only see the negatives and often exaggerate this in their own mind and so see problems with their appearance that others may not even notice.

This isn’t the same as someone having a “bad hair day” or feeling own on their appearance from time to time. Puberty changes bodies and so it is common for people going through it to feel some unease about how they look. BDD causes negative thoughts that are almost constant and these thoughts have a big impact on their lives.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Binge eating disorder (BED) is a disorder where people eat a large amount of food very quickly in a binge. They will do this regularly and compulsively not just on the odd occasion.

Binge eating often happens in secret, so the signs can be more difficult to spot. Like other eating disorders, it can be associated with anxiety and depression.

There are risks associated with BED such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Bulimia Nervosa

This is one of the most common eating disorders. People with bulimia go through a cycle of binge eating and then purging (vomiting, extreme exercise or taking laxatives). This cycle usually happens every day and can last months. After binge eating, people with bulimia tend to feel extremely guilty which leads them to purge, feel worse and so binge eat again in a vicious cycle. As people with bulimia eat large quantities in the binges, they can often be average weight and don’t look thin.

Bulimia is incredibly dangerous as nutrients are lost during purges leading to malnutrition and physical illness. Vomiting regularly can lead to electrolyte imbalance causing cardiac problems, kidney damage and other whole body issues.

The act of vomiting brings up acid from the stomach leading to tooth damage, throat irritations, bad breath and stomach irritations.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia is probably the most well-known eating disorder, even though it isn’t the most common. People with anorexia try to keep their weight as low as possible, restricting food intake and exercising a dangerous amount in order to lose weight.

Anorexia is a controlling illness where people feel the need to monitor everything they consume and ends up affecting every aspect of someone’s life.

It can take a massive toll on someone’s physical health and effects due to lack of nutrition can include: being extremely cold, dizziness or fainting, hair falling out, growing thicker body hair, painful joints and bones.

Anorexia is a serious condition that can be fatal as people’s bodies can become so malnourished that their bodies start to shut down. Out of all the eating disorders, anorexia kills the most people with about 5% fatality rate.

Other Conditions

I have mentioned some of the most common eating disorders but there are many many more.

Orthorexia is where people are unhealthily obsessed with healthy living. They cut out certain foods that they believe aren’t “clean” or “pure” and feel very guilty if they eat something they don’t normally allow.

Another serious issue is exercise addiction which can be an issue on its own without having a diagnosed eating disorder. People with exercise addictions are physically active to an unhealthy degree and feel they have to exercise. It can be a method of managing guilt or self-hatred and a symptom of another mental health condition such as depression.

How To Help

It can be very hard to know what to say or how to help someone with an eating disorder. Usually you cannot just help them with your words alone, they are not choosing to be like this and so saying things like “just eat more” can be very unhelpful. In fact on the whole it is usually best to not mention food at all and try not to draw attention to them eating or not eating. Commenting on eating habits can just lead to more negative associations with food and meals. Being relaxed around food is one of the most helpful things you can do.

Encourage the person to seek professional medical help starting with their GP. The GP is the person who can refer to psychiatrists and psychologists who can start treatment plans.

One of the cruellest things about eating disorders is that the person suffering often doesn’t realise they are sick or they can underestimate how sick they are, they may need real help getting the urgent treatment they need. You may need help from family members, school staff to help them get the support.

Useful Links

https://stamp-ed.co.uk

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Wirral Tutoring Star Goals

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Women in Science Day 2019

Wirral Tutoring Star Goals - STEM

Year on year there is an increase in women entering STEM A Levels in England, with further increases in the number of females studying STEM and undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

This is amazing news for women and the STEM industries!

I’m a proud STEM graduate and have worked in science and maths education since 2005. Science and Maths are great subjects to study at A Level, they are always amongst the most popular subjects that students choose and for very good reasons.

Benefits of STEM A Levels

  1. There are many careers which utilise STEM skills, not just the traditional research jobs. So you open yourself up to a lot of academic opportunities.
  2. We live in a technological world and so a solid understanding of science and maths are going to be vital for future careers.
  3. Most employers will expect you to have at least a C in maths (in the old system) at GCSE and so an A Level will give you an even bigger advantage.
  4. You learn a rich variety of skills such as: researching, logic, analytical skills, problem-solving which are all sought after, not to mention useful!
  5. They are versatile subjects which pair with many others, even in humanities and arts subjects.

How to get help in STEM subjects

If you’re already studying a STEM subject but finding it challenging then there are many options. I believe EVERYONE can achieve in maths and science with the correct support.

  • Talk to your current teachers and school – there maybe extra revision sessions you can attend in school..
  • Consider getting some private tutoring, sometimes the one on one support can be what you need to give you that extra confidence. I am more than happy to support you with these subjects, either in person or online. See my contact page for how to get in touch.
  • Trust your ability! Maths in particular is a subject people get into the mindset that they can’t do when that is actually far from the truth….you CAN do maths, you just might not be able to do all of it YET.


So let’s keep boosting those number of women in STEM subjects – we can do this!

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Are you ready to Shine, Thrive and Achieve?

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We are very excited that today is the official launch day of Star Goals and cannot wait to start helping people shine, thrive and achieve their dreams. Just to introduce ourselves….we are an independent personal tutoring and education service with a difference, we don’t just want academic success and grades as our goal, we want happy, healthy, resilient young people too.

Young people are suffering with increasing mental health issues and have increasing pressure on them, we want to teach them not only the academic content to shine and achieve but also the mindset and skills to thrive mentally too.

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Wirral Tutoring Star Goals

Welcome to Star Goals education and mental health support.

STAR GOALS help teach and develop young people into resilient confident individuals who SHINE, THRIVE and ACHIEVE. We work on their future goals by supporting them to progress in their education, mental well-being and give them the skills they will need to live happy and fulfilling lives. We work on developing and improving their confidence, academic knowledge, study skills, life skills and equip them with tools to not only achieve amazing exam results but so they can deal with future challenges too. As qualified, experienced teachers and mental health counsellors, our approach is centred on the individual and their own personal goals.

Every student is brilliantly unique and so is our approach.

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To change the culture of learning and education from purely academic focuses to a more holistic approach that reduces long term mental health issues for young people and improves their life opportunities.

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Meet Claire

I am a qualified secondary school teacher who has taught GCSE Science and A Level Science (Biology and Physics) since 2005.

I am a team leader for Pearson examinations, examining and supervising A Level Biology marking.

I have worked previously for the NHS as a peer-support mental health specialist and am a qualified counsellor.

I have vast experience working with students of all types and have an excellent record of results.

I currently offer tutoring and counselling throughout the Wirral and Merseyside areas and am enjoying channelling my energy into something I truly care about.

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