‘Health resides in the relationships that we build on a day-to-day basis.’

‘Radical dietician’ Lucy Aphramor’s performances earned five-star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe. They talk fat, fitness and faith with Rebecca Hardy

‘I think we need more awareness of trauma in Quaker narratives.’ | Photo: Courtesy of Lucy Aphramor.

Another New Year, another slew of ‘New Year, New You’ dieting articles. Belts tighten and, all over the UK, thousands of people write up their 2020 resolutions and pledge to shed more pounds and go easy on the calories. To Quaker Lucy Aphramor, who uses the pronouns them/they/their, it’s a scenario they have seen often over decades of working as a dietician – and to limited effect.

‘I started off working as a community dietician in Coventry,’ they tell me, as they sip their latte in the Friends House cafe in London. ‘Most of the people who came to see me were white working-class women who had been told to lose weight by the doctor, and what I realised pretty soon on was that what I was doing – what I had been taught to do – wasn’t helpful. Often, it just didn’t work: people weren’t losing weight and no one was any happier. It just didn’t make sense for me. Also, the amount of fat-shaming that people were [experiencing] – there were a few times when people burst into tears by the end of the consultation because I hadn’t been horrible to them, and they were telling me stories of what it had been like, all the weighing and so on.’

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