April 4, 2023 10.00 am This story is over 14 months old

Food for Thought: Project encouraging confidence in challenging modern world

Aiming to educate the masses on a range of difficult topics

By Local Democracy Reporter

A new project exploring the negative impacts of social media and unhealthy relationships with food will roll out across Lincolnshire to educate young people on the importance of protecting their physical and mental health.

The Food for Thought project has been developed in collaboration with teachers, food educators, medical professionals, fitness coaches and support workers to discuss key issues impacting modern society.

This includes dietary concerns, which can lead to eating disorders, the impact of social media, and the importance of fitness for both physical and mental well-being.

Gemma Whitelock is one of the key figures behind the project. | Photo: Food for Thought

It has been set up by BeGreatFitness, and has been made possible by funding from local business myenergi through the mygrimsby fund, working in collaboration with Grimsby Town Football Club.

It will offer resource packs for secondary school children, empowering people’s understanding of food, diet culture and much more.

The pilot of the project will be launched in a selection of 2-4 schools in Lincolnshire post-Easter, with a full programme scheduled to roll out nationally for September this year.

Bailey Greetham in Lincoln sparking conversation with his “Instagram Isn’t Real” sandwich board. | Photo: Food for Thought

Bailey Greetham is the founder of BeGreatFitness, and has tapped into his personal experiences as an amateur boxer, as well as experiences with eating disorders among his loved ones, to start difficult conversations.

He took to the streets of Lincoln to promote the Food for Thought project by carrying a sandwich board with the poignant message of “Instagram is not real”.

This was done to spark discussions with people about the ways we interact with and indulge in social media, and the detrimental impacts it can have on our health.

Bailey told The Lincolnite: “Social media platforms are often a highlight reel of peoples lives, so we wanted to bring people in with our ‘Instagram is not real’ caption to help educate people on the issue.

“We have never been taught the effects and impacts of social media, so this is all about starting the conversation and finding ways to help young people feel better.”

The project aims to go into schools and educate young people on the impact of health decisions, from diets to social media intake. | Photo: Food for Thought

The sessions within the project’s first phase will be:

  • Mood Food and Food Cravings – unpicking issues relating to hormones and cravings for food
  • The Right Fuel – benefits of breakfasts and positive snacking
  • Hydration – exploring caffeine, water and the impact on focus
  • Diet Myths and Misconceptions – evaluating different viral diets, such as bulking and shredding or Atkins
  • Convenience Culture – ready meals, delivery apps and marketing tactics
  • Supplements and Diet Pills – good vs bad, such as diet pills vs vitamins
  • Fitness First – fitness from a fun perspective, combining physical and mental health

Explaining the importance of this project, the people behind Food for Thought say: “The project has been designed to give peace of mind for education staff and enable the delivery of a consistent ‘Healthy lifestyle and body image’ learning offer across the cohort to support all students in their personal development.

“The way that schools provide opportunities for students to develop their self esteem, wellbeing and body image is an integral part of the Ofsted inspection framework, and rightly so.

“However, this project is not just about the ‘Ofsted tick boxes‘ though, or because there is a policy that needs to be satisfied.

“We know how tricky it can be for teenagers to navigate this topic and that teaching staff already feel stretched in their ability to confidently provide them with meaningful information.

“We know from experience that intervention at this stage of development can have a positive impact on learning, progress and ultimately the overall health and wellbeing of the adults that students become.”

Given the intense and often triggering nature of the discussions, support pages with relevant links to charities and networks for different mental health conditions or eating disorders are available on the BeGreatFitness website.

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