There was an article in The Times yesterday, berating Jeremy Paxman for encouraging people to drop litter. Now, he didn’t directly encourage people to start throwing rubbish out of their cars. Quite the opposite in fact. He moaned about just how many people do the ugly deed. Trouble is, when we realise lots of other people are doing something, we are more likely to give up and join in. Looting being a classic depressing example.

…and as it turned out, whilst slobbed on the sofa last night, channel hopping with the TV remote, I experienced the same issue. There was a programme on with a presenter attempting to starve herself down to a US size 0 (UK size 4). The purpose being to prove that such an act is bad for your health (mentally and physically) and should be discouraged because it is creating a generation of girls with eating disorders. Trouble is, slobbed on the sofa as I was, I started to think again about how much weight I’ve put on during the past 6 months. (It didn’t help that the presenter looked skinny to me before she even started the starvation routine.) ‘Come to think of it’, I thought whilst still slobbed on the sofa, ‘I changed my top this morning because the first one was a little bit tight’. I ended up on the floor doing sit-ups before the stupid programme had even ended. I thought twice about having breakfast this morning. I debated about only having a salad for lunch, and I’m wondering what to have for dinner now that pasta is considered a banned substance…

…now there is no danger of me ever getting remotely close to a size 0 – I like my food (and drink) far too much. But if it had that effect on me, what did it do to the girls the programme was supposed to be helping?

Being told not to do something, no matter how sane the argument, rarely works. If it did, there would be no smokers under the age of 40.

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