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Connacht Tribune

World is full of all shapes and sizes!

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Nutritional Therapist and Body Image coach Linn Thorstensson

Lifestyle – Peer pressure and the world of social media celebrities have been blamed in many quarters for the numbers seeking help with eating disorders and issues around body image – but as more people look for support, reporter KATHERINE GANNON discovered the reality is more complex than that.

Last year 157 patients in Ireland were admitted to psychiatric units and hospitals for eating disorders, according to the Irish Hospital Admissions Report – and of the 157 total, 154 were female. The simple correlation to make is that this is due to an obsession with body image, fuelled by the onslaught of social media – and indeed a 2007 study of 114 female college students would prove that point.

It found that those exposed to more fashion or beauty magazines were more dissatisfied with their overall appearance and exhibited a higher risk of eating disorder tendencies.

But Nutritional Therapist and Body Image coach Linn Thorstensson says there are a number of factors that can affect body image.

“There is no denying the messages from the media – social media and marketing contribute to low body image and then there is general diet culture that tells us we need to look a certain way to be happy,” she says.

Linn’s experience is that people start changing their body image and shape if they are going through an uncomfortable period in their life, as they feel this is the only thing they can control.

“We use our bodies as the thing to blame when something else is off in our lives, as the diet industry teaches you that if you make your body look a certain way everything will be alright,” she explains.

Moycullen mum Aisling Feeney knows how this pattern of behaviour can set in at any stage; she recognised that she needed to change her life around when her unhealthy eating habits left her feeling depressed.

“After my second child was born, I felt so down at the realisation that my unhealthy eating habits had got out of control, I wanted to make a change for myself,” she says.

Aisling admits that even though she was not forcing herself to be sick, which is a common trait of bulimia, she still felt she had an eating disorder.

“At one point I asked my doctor if I had an eating disorder, because I would starve myself all morning and binge on unhealthy food in the evening,” she says.

Aisling decided it was time for a change – and that reinvention of her lifestyle has now led her to help others on the same path through her work as a wellness coach, through Weight Watchers in Moycullen.

She sees the pressure that comes from social media and she’s not a fan – but fellow Galwegian Sharon Dooley expands her concern about issues to the media in general.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway Gardaí: ‘Stay at home during Storm Barra’

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Gardaí in Galway have warned people to stay home tomorrow (Tuesday) as Met Éireann forecasted a ‘risk to life’ ahead of Storm Barra’s expected landfall tomorrow morning.

At a meeting of the City Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said the City Council was preparing for the ‘high probability’ of coastal flooding.

A combination of tomorrow’s high tides with the forecast high winds and heavy rainfall would likely lead to a flooding event, he said.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said the best advice available was to stay at home but refused to comment on school closures – advising that was a matter for the Department of Education.

Mr McGrath said a number of meetings between local and national agencies had already taken place, with more set to run throughout the day as preparations got underway for this winter’s first severe weather event.

“High tide is at 6.45am tomorrow morning and at 7.20pm tomorrow evening. There is currently a Red Marine Warning in place for the sea area that includes Galway and an Orange Storm Warning for Storm Barra for 6am Tuesday morning to 6am on Wednesday morning,” said Mr McGrath, adding that it was possible this storm warning could be raised to Red later today.

With high tide at 5.45 metres and a forecast storm surge of 1.05m, the risk of flooding was significant. In addition, winds were currently forecast to be South-West to West, said Mr McGrath, conducive to a flooding event in the city.

“It is potentially problematic . . . the hope would be that the storm surge doesn’t happen at the same time as high tide,” he added.

The flood protection barrier had been installed at Spanish Arch over the weekend and storm gullies had been cleaned. Sandbags were to be distributed throughout the day, said Mr McGrath.

Council staff would be on duty throughout the weather event and Gardaí would be operating rolling road closures from early morning. Carparks in Salthill were closed today, while tow trucks were on standby to remove any vehicles not moved by their owners before the high-risk period.

Chief Supt Curley said it was imperative people stayed home where possible.

The best way to say safe was to “leave the bicycle or the car in the driveway” from early tomorrow morning, and to stay indoors until the worst of the storm had passed.

Met Éireann has warned of potential for flooding in the West, with Storm Barra bringing “severe or damaging gusts” of up to 130km/h.

A Status Orange wind warning has been issued for Galway, Clare, Limerick, Kerry and Cork from 6am Tuesday to 6am Wednesday, with southerly winds, later becoming northwesterly, with mean speeds of 65 to 80km/h and gusts of up to 130km/h possibly higher in coastal areas.

“High waves, high tides, heavy rain and storm surge will lead to wave overtopping and a significant possibility of coastal flooding. Disruption to power and travel are likely,” Met Éireann said.

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Connacht Tribune

Storm Barra to bring coastal flooding and disruption to Galway

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Met Éireann has warned of potential for flooding in the West on Tuesday, with Storm Barra bringing “severe or damaging gusts” of up to 130km/h.

A Status Orange wind warning has been issued for Galway, Clare, Limerick, Kerry and Cork from 6am Tuesday to 6am Wednesday, with southerly winds, later becoming northwesterly, with mean speeds of 65 to 80km/h and gusts of up to 130km/h possibly higher in coastal areas.

“High waves, high tides, heavy rain and storm surge will lead to wave overtopping and a significant possibility of coastal flooding. Disruption to power and travel are likely,” Met Éireann said,

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Connacht Tribune

Cancer Care West helps cope with loss

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Declan and Ailish Scully and their children presenting a cheque to Cancer Care West for money raised for their Chrismas swim, in memory of Aidan.

A Galway family has revealed their heartbreaking grief at the loss of a son and brother – to pay tribute to the Galway cancer charity that offered such support at their darkest hour.

Aidan Scully died of cancer in early 2020 – but as his mum Ailish talks about her son, the essence of this fine young man shines through her story.

The Moycullen native was only in this world a short time, but he lived his time well – and he left a lifetime of good memories for his parents, his five siblings, his wider family and many friends.

Ailish talks of a quiet and gentle child, an uncomplicated teenager, an ambitious young man about to embark on his chosen university course, the uncomplaining patient and finally the accepting soul who peacefully left them that night.

During Aidan’s illness the family turned to Cancer Care West and the Galway Hospice for support. At Cancer Care West, Aidan, his parents Declan and Ailish and siblings Eoin, Niamh, Sinead, Ciaran and Kevin availed of the counselling services which they found extremely helpful as they coped with his diagnosis and treatment.

Aidan also availed of the cancer rehab physiotherapy service to help him stay strong. And following Aidan’s passing the family sought bereavement counselling with the Cancer Care West team they had come to know so well.

At times Ailish saw the Galway support centre as a home from home as different family members came and went for appointments.

“Declan and I want to say a big thank you to Dr Helen Greally and her team,” said Ailish.

“They have been an amazing support for us throughout this time, helping us all deal with the trauma of Aidan’s diagnosis and his untimely death.

“It’s so important to have someone to talk to at times like this, someone professional who is not part of your normal everyday life.

“It gives you the space to work through so many emotions and helps you find the strength to move forward each day,” she added.

The loss of Aidan is still very raw and Ailish and her family have a way to go yet to find some peace and acceptance – but each of them is finding their own path forward and getting on with a life that, despite the enormous hole in it, has happy moments and good times.

As for Ailish, every day she wakes to thoughts of Aidan and the pain of his loss.

But sometimes something will happen, like a butterfly landing on her hand – and she is reminded that he is never far away from her and while she can no longer hold him in her arms, she is always holding him in her heart.

 

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