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Review: ‘Dark Waters’ plunges into ‘forever chemicals’


Todd Haynes’ “Dark Waters,” about the prolonged (and ongoing) legal fight to uncover the environmental damage of cancer-inducing “forever chemicals” and hold their corporate makers accountable, is a sober and ominous docudrama. On its surface, it’s an unspectacular one. Its lead character, a corporate defense attorney played by Mark Ruffalo, is no Erin Brockovich. The movie, itself, is gray and murky like the toxic West Virginia waters that provide the film’s first gloomy sense of trouble.

But just the same, “Dark Waters” will in its modest, steadfast way make your blood boil. And that will do.

Rob Bilott (Ruffalo) is a West Virginia native and Cincinnati attorney for a large law firm, Taft Stettinius & Hollister, with a specialty in defending chemical companies. Just after he’s made a partner, a West Virginia farmer named Wilbur Tennant (Bill Camp) turns up in his office barking about his dead cattle and the DuPont plant next door. He dumps a box of VHS tapes at Bilott’s feet.

It’s only the mention of Bilott’s grandmother that gives him pause. Bilott’s colleague Tom Terp (Tim Robbins) overhears the encounter but assures Bilott discretion. “You can be from West Virginia, Rob. I won’t tell anyone.”

Bilott is accustomed to representing the corporate side of such disputes, but he’s moved by Tennant’s case. He has warm memories of visiting the farms in the area as a child and milking cows. And Tennant, gruff and furious, is hard to ignore. Nearly all his 200 cows have suffered enlarged organs and other deformities. A field of his is littered with graves like a battlefield. A nearby creeks runs from a DuPont landfill.

Bilott takes the case over the concerns of his colleagues. Terp tells him to “surgical”: get in, get out. The firm would prefer to have DuPont as a client, not a foe. Bilott is himself friendly with DuPont lawyers, too. At first, he’s just trying to do a favor for a family friend.

But the scope of the case grows exponentially. Bilott, whose story was chronicled in an engrossing and detailed 2016 New York Times story by Nathaniel Rich, goes from a 1999 lawsuit on behalf of Tennant to a 2001 class action involving several West Virginia communities. Through methodical research and investigation, he traces the pollution affecting Tennant’s fame to DuPont’s use of PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid.

The substance, which DuPont began using in 1951 by purchasing it from 3M, is used in Teflon for things like non-stick frying pans and for firefighting foam. It was created during the Manhattan Project but by now, it’s in all of us. Virtually every human and animal has traces of it in their system, whether it came through tap water or an umbilical cord. It’s called a “forever chemical” because it never breaks down, and can build up in the blood and organs. DuPont dumped thousands of pounds of PFOA in the Ohio River.

Other companies, along with the Defense Department, have contributed to their spread. But DuPont was at the vanguard of their usage (with a reported annual profit of $1 billion for PFOA-related products) and had been studying its worrisome effects on its own workers for decades — long before the Environmental Protection Agency knew of its risks.

“Dark Waters,” made relatively quickly by Hollywood standards, is the backstory on a legal drama that’s still unfolding, with ongoing debate in Congress and at the EPA on setting a national drinking-water limit. Critics, including the makers of “Dark Waters,” believe it’s taking much too long.

It’s perhaps a familiar script: good cause, inspiration movie. “Dark Waters” distinguishes itself, however, in intricately following the story of a toxic substance, from a West Virginia backwater to ubiquity. It’s not the kind of film typical of Haynes, whose artful dramas (“Carol,” “Far From Heaven”) usually dig less into headlines than the fluidity of identity and the tragedies of societal convention.

But those qualities are also what make Haynes a natural fit for “Dark Waters.”

Here, he has sucked much of the Hollywood out of the social-justice drama, while leaving certain touchstones. Supporting players like Anne Hathaway (as Sarah Bilott, Rob’s wife) and Robbins get the requisite moments befitting an “important” movie. Ruffalo, too, is already clearly adept at portraying the growth of obsession (“Spotlight,” “Zodiac”). He has even once before been part of a film critical of DuPont, albeit less directly. In Bennett Miller’s 2014 real-life crime drama, “Foxcatcher,” Ruffalo played the man, Dave Schultz, killed by a Du Pont heir, John du Pont.

Where Haynes excels is in teasing out the personal and professional connections that mingle throughout. When Bilott grows aggressive in the investigation into DuPont, he’s breaking with decorum. He’s part of the old-boy network that works to protect companies like DuPont. In “Dark Waters,” arguments happen at fancy attorney banquets, and boardroom decisions alter innocent human lives.

It can seem like there are too many corporate exposes. While they could use some new angles and perhaps fewer lawyer protagonists, I suspect that’s not the problem. “Dark Waters” plays like a “Chernobyl” for America. Unfortunately, we probably need a lot more of these.

“Dark Waters,” a Focus Features release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for thematic content, some disturbing images and strong language. Running time: 126 minutes. Three stars out of four.


MPAA Definition of PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

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Islamic centers and churches in Nigeria hold thousands of mental health patients in chains, rights group says


The rights group said detention and violent treatment of inmates are rife in some state-run clinics, Islamic rehabilitation centers, traditional healing homes, and churches in the country.

Citing interviews with dozens of patients, families and staff at various Nigerian mental health facilities visited between 2018 to 2019, Human Rights Watch said patients, including children, were being forced to eat or drink herbs as part of their treatment in some traditional healing homes.

A 22-year-old woman at a Christian healing center in Abeokuta, a city in southwest Nigeria, told the rights group she had been held captive in a church for five months and denied food as part of a “spiritual cleanse” for her condition.

“I was tied with chains for three days straight so I could fast. For the three days I had no food or water. It wasn’t my choice, but the pastor said it was good for me. Sometimes if they say I should fast and I drink water or take food, they (the church staff) put me on a chain,” she said.

“The chaining is punishment. I have been put on chain so many times I can’t count,” she added.

People brought to these facilities by family members ended up being held in chains and detained for months in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions, the report says.

“People with mental health conditions should be supported and provided with effective services in their communities, not chained and abused,” said Emina Ćerimović, a senior disability rights researcher with Human Rights Watch.

Crackdown on abusive centers

Authorities in Nigeria have rescued hundreds of people held under degrading conditions in a crackdown on religious rehabilitation centers in recent months.

Police rescued more than 300 men and boys held in dehumanizing conditions from an Islamic school in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna in September. Some of them told police they had been beaten, sexually abused and tortured by their teachers.
Police in Katsina also freed 67 held captive under “inhumane” conditions from an Islamic rehabilitation center in October. Rescued people told police they were beaten with chains and denied food for days by instructors at the rehabilitation home. They were brought to the center by their relatives in the hope of “reforming” them, according to the police.
Nigerian police also set free 259 people, including women and children, from an Islamic rehabilitation home in the southwestern city of Ibadan this month.

‘Torture chambers’

President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to look into the activities of some Islamic schools, which have long faced accusations of abuse.

Following the recent raids, Buhari said his government will no longer tolerate the existence of “torture chambers” claiming to be rehabilitation centers. He also called on law enforcement to keep exposing illegal activities.

More than 60 men and boys freed from 'inhumane' Islamic school, police say

“No responsible democratic government would tolerate the existence of the torture chambers and physical abuses of inmates in the name of rehabilitation of the victims,” Buhari said last month.

Human Rights Watch said a shortage of mental health facilities and personnel in Nigeria were the underlying reasons why many of these centers exist.

“But it’s not enough to raid these centers and shut them down. People rescued from these desperate conditions and other Nigerians experiencing psychological distress should have access to proper psychosocial support and mental health services,” Ćerimović said.

The rights group also called for public education to improve citizens’ understanding of mental health conditions.

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Colin Kaepernick: NFL teams invited to private workout on Saturday


The NFL sent a memo Tuesday to its 32 teams, saying the session will include on-field work and interview time with the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, ESPN first reported.

The workout will take place at an undisclosed location in Atlanta, a source with direct knowledge of the arrangement has told CNN. Clubs that don’t attend in person will have access to video of the session. The event will be closed to media.

Kaepernick tweeted about the development on Tuesday night.

“I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday,” he tweeted. “I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.”

According to the source, several NFL teams inquired about the athlete-turned-activist’s “football readiness” and desire to return to the league.
Kaepernick hasn’t played in the league since the 2016 season — the same season he first sat during the playing of the National Anthem. The protest later evolved into kneeling after onetime Seattle Seahawk and Green Beret Nate Boyer convinced Kaepernick it would be more respectful to the nation’s military, the quarterback has said.
Colin Kaepernick reveals what led him to risk his career kneeling for social justice

Kaepernick said he did so to protest police shootings of African American men and other social injustices faced by black people in the United States.

Kaepernick became a free agent in 2017. No team offered him a contract, and that October, he filed a grievance against the league, accusing team owners of colluding to keep him from being signed. The NFL denied any collusion. Kaepernick and former teammate Eric Reid, who knelt with Kaepernick, settled their cases.

Earlier this year, Kaepernick posted videos of himself on Twitter, taking part in weight training and throwing footballs.

ESPN reported it has seen the memo which was sent to teams informing them of the workout.

Colin Kaepernick's Nike ad wins Emmy for outstanding commercial

Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the 2013 Super Bowl, played his last game on January 1, 2017, in the 49ers’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks. During that season, in which the 49ers were 2-14, Kaepernick threw 16 touchdowns and had four interceptions. He rushed for 468 yards on 69 attempts.

He opted out of his contract after the season and has been a free agent since.

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Rapper Kodak Black sentenced to more than 3 years on weapons charges


The 22-year-old, whose real name is Bill K. Kapri, pleaded guilty in August to making false written statements when trying to acquire firearms from a federally licensed firearms dealer.

US District Judge Federico A. Moreno in Miami on Wednesday sentenced Kapri to 46 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. The maximum sentence could have been 10 years in prison.

Rapper Kodak Black is arrested on firearm charges at Rolling Loud Festival

When filling out a firearms transaction record form in January and March, the Broward County rapper said he was not “under indictment or information in any court for a felony, or any other crime for which the judge could imprison you for more than one year,” according to a statement from the US Attorney’s Office.

“On both occasions, as Kapri then and there well knew, Kapri was, in truth and in fact, under indictment for a felony offense,” the statement reads.

The Florida rapper was arrested in May at the Rolling Loud hip-hop festival in Miami on state and federal weapons charges, right before he was to perform. Kapri has been held in custody at a federal detention center in Miami since that arrest, says CNN affiliate WFOR. In April, he was arrested on gun and drug charges near Niagara Falls, New York, while trying to enter the US from Canada.

An Instagram post from Kapri’s account after his sentencing said, “Hold It Down While I’m On Lock. Calling Shots From The Box #Literally.”

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Macros vs. Calories vs. Inuitive Eating: What’s Best?


There are some things just about everyone knows. Take this one: To lose fat, you need to watch what you eat.

No one has to hire a coach for that advice.

But knowing how to monitor food intake? That’s something clients really need. Only it can be hard to know the best approach.

Some experts tell you to count calories or meticulously measure every macro. Others encourage you to estimate portions. Still others want you to “listen to your body.”

Sometimes it seems like the entire health and fitness industry is divided.

But guess what? Calorie counting works.

Measuring macros? Also works.

Tracking hand portions? Same.

Mindful eating? Intuitive eating? Yep, those work too.

You get the picture: Every method works. (If implemented well.)

The real question: What’ll work best for you (or your clients)right now?

In this article, we’ll help you to determine the most effective way to manage food intake, based on personal preferences, lifestyle, and goals. You’ll discover the answers to these common food-monitoring questions:

  • Do you really need to count calories and macros? And if so, for how long?
  • Is tracking hand portions anywhere near as accurate as weighing and measuring your food?
  • Can strategies like mindful and intuitive eating really help you lose fat? Or are they overrated?

These answers can help you (or your clients) finally get the results you want. And along the way, gain even more: a healthy relationship with food and the skills that make nutritious eating seem effortless.  


Most people don’t realize how much they’re eating.

Case in point: Research shows folks often under-estimate their food intake, sometimes by as much as 30 to 50 percent.1

Two likely reasons:

1. They don’t realize how calorically-dense many foods can be. Yes, they might know an overflowing plate is a sure way to pack on the pounds. But two slices of meat lover’s pizza before bed? How bad could that be? (Try 1,000 calories.) 

2. They often misjudge portions (around two-thirds of the time, in fact). Without a handy reference point, it’s easy to accidentally consume a lot more calories than intended.

As a result, many people struggle to recognize how many calories their meals have and fail to eat foods in appropriately-sized portions.

(You’re probably not shocked by this.)

There’s a well-known fix, of course: food tracking. Namely:

  • Calorie counting
  • Macro counting
  • Hand portion tracking

These methods act as “external guides” that can help you eat the right amounts of food for your body at the right intervals. Do that long enough and you’ll begin to retrain your body to better regulate the hormones that tell you when you’re hungry and full.

You’ll also be able to more easily adjust your calorie and macronutrient intake, which is key for changing your body weight and composition (or even keeping them the same).

Think of these food tracking methods as nutritional training wheels.

They give you the guidance and calibration you (or your clients) need to achieve balance on your own.

Some people need these training wheels for longer or shorter periods of time or require a combination of tracking strategies to find their balance.

But ultimately, the goal is to shed your training wheels—or external guides—and move towards knowing what, how much, and when to eat without militant tracking or monitoring.

Because let’s face it: Counting calories and grams is a lot of work. And though it can be very beneficial for short periods of time, most people don’t want to do it long term.

This is where “internal guides” come in. Specifically, mindful eating and intuitive eating.

These methods are critical for helping you tune into your body’s appetite signals. They help you better sense when you’re truly hungry and to stop eating once you’re satisfied. This is a skill known as self-regulation

Babies self-regulate naturally, stopping when they’re full, no matter how much milk or formula is left in a bottle. Most adults, however, have forgotten how to tap into this ability. 

Mindful and intuitive eating can help you regain this skill. These methods also enhance the results you get from food tracking. (And vice versa.)

All of which helps you more easily manage your food intake, based on a combination of:

  • hunger and fullness cues
  • nutritional knowledge
  • understanding what works for you individually

This is where most of us want to be. But no one accomplishes this overnight. It’s a skill that takes practice.

Our guide will show you (and your clients) how to get there. 

Choose the right method.

Determining the most appropriate method comes down to picking the right tool for the right job.

You can do this by asking:

“What problem does food monitoring help me solve?”

Think about why you want to manage your food intake. Maybe you want to…

  • Lose weight and get healthier
  • Better understand your eating habits
  • See how your diet affects athletic performance
  • Look better
  • Achieve a specific body fat percentage
  • Improve your relationship with food
  • Work on your eating behavior and food awareness

Depending on what you hope to accomplish, one approach may be more appropriate than another.

But it’s unlikely any single method will keep working long term.

In fact, you’ll get better results by combining approaches over time. Use the guide that follows to determine which method:

  • makes the most sense for your current goals
  • feels doable
  • fits your day-to-day routine

Method #1: Calorie and macro counting

With calorie counting, you have a set number of calories to eat each day based on your height, weight, age, activity level, and goals.

With macro counting, calories are divided between three main macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. (Alcohol is also a macronutrient and could be tracked, if desired.) Rather than counting calories specifically, you keep track of how many grams of each macronutrient you’re eating. (This indirectly tracks calories too, since macronutrients make up the calories in food and drinks.)

Though calorie and macro counting are slightly different, they’re similar in the sense that they’re both pretty labor-intensive. With either method, you’d ideally use a food scale and/or measuring tools (cups, spoons) to weigh and measure your food at virtually every meal.

You’d also be searching a calorie database (such as MyFitness Pal or Cronometer) to find and log the nutritional value of what you’re eating. Or you might use nutrition labels to manually calculate your intake.

Why use calorie and macro counting?

Research shows it works. Tracking calories and macronutrients—even without any other dietary counseling—helps people lose up to five percent of their body weight, finds research.2 For someone who weighs 200 pounds, that’s a 10-pound weight loss.

It provides maximal precision. Calorie and macro tracking aren’t 100 percent accurate, but they’re the most precise methods available outside of a lab. Important note: If you decide to estimate serving sizes—instead of weighing and measuring your food—this method becomes less accurate.

You learn calorie counts. By tracking macros or calories, you become more aware of how many calories are in everything you eat and drink. Like that a typical 8-ounce margarita has 450 calories or that your favorite restaurant salad packs more calories than two Big Macs.

Calorie and macro counting work well for…

Short-term use. Tracking your calories or macros for a couple of weeks can help you learn more about your current eating habits. It also gives you a better understanding of appropriate portions. Once you have the hang of it, you can transition to hand portions and, eventually, self-regulation.

People with advanced needs. More precision is needed for more precise goals. For example, let’s say someone needs to weigh exactly 125 pounds to make their weight class, or be exactly 8% body fat for their profession. Tracking calories and/or macros is generally the most effective way to get there.

Numbers-oriented folks. Some people truly enjoy the process of collecting calorie and macronutrient data, and then monitoring changes in weight, body size, and health markers such as blood pressure and cholesterol. They’re also usually emotionally detached from the numbers—seeing them as information rather than assigning them “good” or “bad” values. For these people, tracking calories or macros can feel empowering.

Calorie and macro counting are less ideal for…

Most people. In our experience coaching over 100,000 clients, the average person just won’t stick to it for long. That goes for everyone from elite athletes to 60-year old grandparents. They don’t want to bother with calorie math or meticulously tracking everything they eat.

And research shows that even people who like this method tend to stop using it over time.3,4 One likely reason: It can take the joy out of eating. For example, you might be so worried about hitting your macros you struggle to find pleasure in the social aspects of eating. (Like sharing a good meal with family and friends.)

What’s more, for some people, this type of food tracking may actually be unhealthy. Preliminary evidence suggests associations between calorie and macro tracking apps and three types of disordered eating.5,6,7

  • Binge eating: the overwhelming urge to consume as much food as possible, as fast as possible
  • Cognitive dietary restraint: feeling like you’re constantly making an effort to limit what you eat
  • Moralizing food: labeling what you eat as “good” and “bad” and attaching your self-worth to your food choices

Those at highest risk: People who tend to be overly self-critical, are prone to disordered eating, or have had an eating disorder in the past.

This isn’t just a research finding; it corresponds to what many coaches, dietitians, and counselors observe in their practices. (Which is the reason it was studied in the first place.)

That’s why we usually recommend you count calories and macros for only short periods of time. Or to people who need to achieve very specific body composition goals for their profession.

Remember: A tool is only as good as the job it does. So, if:

  • macro counting truly works for you;
  • you genuinely enjoy it;
  • you find it empowering and interesting; and
  • you’re meeting your goals with it easily and productively…

…then, by all means, keep doing it.

If, on the other hand:

  • macro counting makes you feel confused, anxious, distracted, distressed, or any other negative emotion;
  • you find it onerous, time-consuming, and effortful;
  • you’re putting a lot of attention towards it, creating an imbalanced life;
  • you’re spending more time on it than actually doing the things that help you reach your goal… 

… then consider other options and tactics (like the ones that follow). 

Method #2: Hand portions

In this system—developed by Precision Nutrition—you use your hand as a personalized, portable portioning tool. You’re not actually measuring your food, but rather using your hand to gauge portion size. And because each hand portion correlates to a certain number of protein, carbs, or fat, this method counts calories and macros for you. 

  • Your palm determines your protein portions.
  • Your fist determines your vegetable portions.
  • Your cupped hand determines your carb portions.
  • Your thumb determines your fat portions.

The way it works is simple: Just enter your sex, body weight, goals, activity level, and eating preferences into the Precision Nutrition Calculator. The calculator then reveals the recommended calories and macros for reaching your goal.

Then it converts those numbers to the equivalent hand portions. So all you have to do is use your hands to get the recommended number of daily portions. (The Precision Nutrition Calculator also gives you a free personalized report and eating guide to help you get started.)

Why use hand portion tracking?

It’s convenient and easy to understand. Your hands are with you everywhere you go. They’re proportional to your body and always the same size. So they serve as a reliable reference point—without the need for measuring cups or a food scale.

Customization is simple. If you’re not seeing the results you want, all you have to do is adjust the number of portions you’re eating. For instance, you could remove one cupped hand of carbs and one thumb of fats from your daily intake, and see what happens.

It’s also easy to make adjustments based on your preferences. You can swap a handful of carbs for an extra thumb-sized serving of fats, or vice versa.

Plus, you can use this approach to follow any preferred eating style, whether it’s Paleo, keto, Mediterranean, or plant-based.

It’s precise enough. For most people—even those seeking body transformation—it’s not necessary to meticulously measure or weigh food.

Our internal research shows hand portions are 95 percent as accurate as carefully weighing, measuring, and tracking, but with substantially less effort and time involved. 

And since calorie databases—the tool most people use to track calories and macros—can be off by as much as 20 percent, the five percent difference here is negligible for most.8

Make no mistake: Hand portions aren’t as accurate as macro tracking. But they are accurate enough to help you consistently track your food intake, and reach your goals. And that’s what really matters.

Hand portion tracking works well for…

People with busy, messy, complex lives. So basically everyone. Compared to scales and tracking apps, hand portions make it far easier to consistently gauge how much you’re eating.

Most body composition goals. Unless you’re chasing extreme results against a non-negotiable deadline—for instance, you get paid for how your body looks or performs—hand portions can get you where you want to go.

Hand portions are less ideal for…

People with the most aggressive goals. Professional physique athletes and models may need a more precise strategy. It’s the same with athletes who need to cut weight or reach a specific body fat percentage—such as in preparation for a UFC fight. Keep in mind: These people are essentially being paid to eat this way. It’s part of their job. And that comes with tradeoffs.

Method #3: Mindful and intuitive eating

Mindful eating means paying attention to the experience, feelings, and sensations you have around eating. Practices like eating slowly and eating until 80 percent full are a part of mindful eating. Instead of focusing on eating certain types or amounts of food, mindful eating teaches you how to regulate your food intake by noticing how your body and mind feel when you eat.

Intuitive eating is a similar system, but it rejects “diet” messaging and culture. Intuitive eating wasn’t originally intended to achieve a specific body composition goal, but rather to improve your overall relationship with food.

Both approaches involve learning how to tell whether you’re hungry or not, know when you’ve had enough, and be at ease with food.

Why use mindful and intuitive eating?

These approaches foster a healthy relationship with food. By practicing mindful and intuitive eating, you can improve your ability to self-regulate. Over time, you’ll remove the training wheels of external guides—calorie counting, macro counting, and tracking hand portions—and enjoy more flexibility and freedom, while staying on track.

Mastering these self-regulatory skills has also been shown to strengthen self-efficacy—the belief you can reach your goals.9 This can work wonders for your confidence, motivation, and self-assuredness in pursuing your health goals. (It’s pretty valuable for everyday life, too.)

The principles can be applied anytime, anywhere. No matter what food options are available, you can always eat slowly and mindfully. Understanding what it feels like to be hungry, satiated, full, and/or overstuffed is a lifelong skill. These methods give you practice.

You learn that hunger isn’t an emergency. When you feel hungry, it’s common to panic and want to eat whatever you see. But when you start paying attention to your hunger cues, you learn that you’re absolutely going to feel hungry sometimes. And you discover that’s okay.

Nothing bad will happen if you don’t eat immediately. You might even find the feeling passes. Or that you actually aren’t all that hungry. It could be you were craving food to help you cope with pain, shame, guilt, or stress. (Sixty-three percent of our clients say emotional eating is their #1 nutritional challenge.)

You might also realize you are, in fact, really hungry. But by understanding that hunger isn’t an emergency, you’ll have the time and space to make more thoughtful food choices.

Our clients consistently report this is one of the most powerful things they learn in our coaching program. Want to learn more? Check out Conquer your cravings: Break the sinister cycle that makes you overeat.

Mindful and intuitive eating work well for…

Anyone whose main goal is to improve their relationship with food. These are folks who don’t have weight or body composition-related goals (at least not right now). Instead, they just want to feel more at peace with their food choices.

People using other food monitoring methods. (Or are ready to transition away from them.) Mindful and intuitive eating by themselves have a mixed track record for weight loss results.10,11,12,13 But since they help people build fundamental eating skills they can use forever, we highly recommend them.

When mindful or intuitive eating are combined with a method such as tracking hand portions, calories, or macros, it’s the best of both worlds: You get external guidelines to help you become more aware and make better choices. And you learn to better self-regulate your intake by paying attention to how food makes you feel.

What to do next…

Step 1: Start where you are

Determine the approach that best matches your (or your client’s) lifestyle, goals, and preferences. For most people, this means a combination of methods.

Use the nutritional training wheel approach—calorie counting, macro counting, hand portion tracking—to learn how to:

  • Better gauge portion sizes
  • Build quality meals
  • Optimize your progress

To track your food intake, you’ll need to determine your starting point.

You can do this by entering your details into the Precision Nutrition Calculator. This will provide the calories, macros, and hand portions to eat to achieve your desired goal—whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, or simply eat for better health.

Then use the targets that correspond to your chosen tracking method. This is your baseline. Follow this approach as consistently as possible for two weeks.

Ideally, combine your food tracking efforts with intuitive/mindful strategies: paying attention to your internal cues, eating slowly, and stopping when you’re about 80 percent full. (We recommend that, remember?)

Step 2: Monitor and adjust

When it comes to tracking your food, accuracy is an illusion.

All tracking options—even the most careful calorie counting—are inaccurate to some degree. (See why here.)

Fortunately, when it comes to food tracking, pinpoint accuracy isn’t what really drives results.

Consistency is what’s most important. 

Here’s why: When you track what you eat, regardless of which one you choose, you’re getting a consistent measurement of your food intake. So even though the calorie counts aren’t 100 percent accurate, you’ve still established a solid and repeatable baseline.

Then you monitor your progress:

Are you (or your client) losing weight, gaining weight, or maintaining? 

From here, you simply use your preferred tracking method to adjust your food intake, if needed, to achieve your desired outcome.

This process happens no matter how accurate your food tracking method. Because guess what?

There’s no way to precisely predict how many calories your body needs each day. Even the best calculators only provide an estimate to start from.

Think of it as an experiment. If you don’t get the results you want, make small tweaks until you see progress.

Let’s say you want to lose weight and the Precision Nutrition Calculator advises you eat:

  • 2,500 calories per day (if you’re counting calories)
  • 200 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbs, and 100 grams of fat per day (if you’re counting macros)
  • 7 palms of protein, 6 fists of vegetables, 6 handfuls of carbs, and 7 thumbs of fats per day (if you’re tracking hand portions)

But after two weeks, the scale hasn’t budged.

Your next move? You could reduce your intake by:

  • 250 calories per day (if you’re counting calories)
  • 30 grams of carbs and 15 grams of fat (if you’re counting macros)
  • 1 handful of carbs and 2 thumbs of fat (if you’re tracking hand portions)

(Or, if you’re trying to gain weight instead, you could increase your intake by those amounts.)

Monitor for another two to four weeks, and if needed, adjust again using the same process.

Now you’re making modifications using feedback from your progress, not on your initial calculations. This is how you optimize your food intake for your individual needs.

Step 3: Find your sweet spot

As you reach your goals, you can fully transition to self-regulation.

This doesn’t mean you have to forget about calories or macros or hand portions. In fact, you’ll continue to use the skills you’ve built to get to this point.

For example, you now:

  • Have a better sense of how many calories and macros you’re eating
  • Understand appropriate portion sizes
  • Have an increased awareness of food quality

You may still reference your palm when determining how much protein to put on your plate, but you won’t need to track it. In essence, you’ve now internalized these external guides.

So you’re now using what you know to mindfully build out meals (without moralizing food). But you’re only doing so when you’re physically hungry. (Unless you’re making a conscious choice to eat something when not hungry.) And then you’re eating these meals slowly, until satisfied.

But also know this: Whenever you want to make significant body changes, you may find it helpful—even necessary—to use external guides again. The methods are there for you, if the need arises.

And remember: Think beyond the food

Food is important, but it’s not the only thing that matters. That’s true even if weight loss is your goal. A well-rounded program will focus on not just nutrition, but also on:

  • getting more quality sleep
  • moving regularly
  • stress management
  • improving your outlook and mindset

So that you (or your clients) are thriving in all domains of health.

Because ultimately, isn’t that the kind of deep health you’re really after?

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

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What’s it all about?

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Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 30% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, April 8th, 2020.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 30% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.


Click here to view the information sources referenced in this article.

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My Money: ‘I used the same nappy for my nine children’


A nappy used by Katie Holden's nine childrenImage copyright
Katie Holden

Image caption

“What does an 18-year-old re-usable cloth nappy look like after it has been through nine children? Like this.”

My Money is a new series looking at how people spend their money – and the sometimes tough decisions they make. Here, Katie Holden from Bradford, records her spending over a week, and shares tips for saving which is especially important because she has nine children.

We’re looking for more people to share what they spend their money on. If you’re interested, please email or get in touch via our My Money Facebook group and we’ll aim to contact you.

Katie is a home-schooling mother of nine children. The eldest two are studying A-Levels at college and the youngest is a toddler. Her husband is a maths teacher who also runs a rental business for extra income. Her family is obsessed with road cycling and last summer one of her sons won a local triathlon.

She has used cloth nappies for all of her nine children: “They still work just fine, incidentally, and have saved us a bonny penny over the years.”

She also says she has three wonderful cats and also keeps “too many” pigeons, rabbits, quails and gerbils. She likes to crochet, grow vegetables and go camping.

Katie’s week: Chinese medicine, bike frames, pigeon food and stew

To start the week I made a vast pot of stew, which my 15-year-old son later honours with the accolade of being “half decent.” Feeling dizzy with joy on hearing such extravagant praise, I feel it is only fair to share the recipe with a world undoubtedly breathless with anticipation.

Katie's "half decent" stew

Katie Holden

Katie’s “half decent” stew

  • £2Yoghurt

  • £1.89Red lentils

  • 50pOnions

  • 50pCarrots

  • £1Frozen peas


1. Fry three chopped onions, five garlic cloves, five grated carrots and one huge grated marrow-type thing (homegrown so I’m not sure what it is exactly) in coconut oil until the juices have evaporated and the vegetables are browning.

2. Add a large serving spoon of ras el hanout (cheapest source is the internet) and a teaspoon of turmeric (from an Asian supermarket), three tins of chopped tomatoes, 1.5 litres of home-made chicken stock and 1 kg of dry red split lentils. When the mix is boiling, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the lentils are cooked (at least an hour). Stir occasionally to prevent the lentils sticking and burning.

3. Add any chopped green vegetables to hand (today this means frozen peas), season with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables are done. Put some aside for the freezer and keep the rest for the week ahead.

4. Serve with rice and yoghurt containing chopped, fresh coriander.

Here I am with my husband and five of my children. The oldest four didn’t want to be photographed.

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Katie Holden

Total spend: £5.89

I top up my mobile with £10 today, sending my balance rocketing to a whopping £11.36. I can afford this reckless spending spree because (wait for it) Etsy have refunded me £92 for a non-existent picture I paid for two months ago. Actually, I paid £102 for this myth when you include tax, so have lost £10 for two months of owning nothing but a beautiful dream…

I defrost the freezer and start making stock with all the sheep bones and trotters that were lost in its icy depths. Our local butcher sells bones really, really cheap and gives us left over chicken bones for free. They make fantastic stock and the cats eat any leftover scraps of meat.

Recipe for stock

1. Put bones and any vegetable scraps in a pan.

2. Cover with water and once it has boiled, cover and simmer on a very low heat for hours and hours and hours to get the nutrients out of the bones.

Before and after pictures of bone stock:

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Katie Holden

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Katie Holden

When I take the car out in the evening it has the deep, distinctive roar of a knackered exhaust pipe which really needs replacing. Something else that will cost money to fix!

Total spend: £10

Total gained: £92

A blessedly cheap home-schooling day today. After the morning’s maths lessons I cut my seven-year-old son’s hair (£0 – oh how good it feels to not spend money!). The kids carve three pumpkins (£2 per pumpkin). We put the pumpkin seeds on a tray to dry out for our pet gerbils and rabbits to eat and I boil the flesh for soup.

All in all, home-schooling is one of our most expensive lifestyle choices. Each GCSE our children take costs £500 – £1,000 in exam fees, workbooks, tutors, textbooks, revision guides etc. This is on top of the costs needed to get the children through their primary years and funding the numerous projects and hobbies they’ve acquired. The greatest cost, however, is that I am not at work, investing in a career and earning money. On the plus side it is rewarding work and I am convinced the advantages to our children in terms of their personal freedoms and independence make home-schooling worth it (most of the time, anyway).

I put £10 on the new Sim card I bought for my 16-year old’s phone. This means we’ve lost the £2.52 he had on his old Sim, which O2 had said they’d reimburse, but failed to do. I can’t be bothered with the effort of chasing down the £2.52, to be honest.

As the weather has started to turn, I light a fire in the evening. This works out free as we salvage wood and leave it to dry outside over the summer. Here’s a picture…

Image copyright
Katie Holden

Total spend: £16

Today we are expecting guests, another home-schooling family, for lunch. I nip to our local Aldi with my nine-year old and buy £9.19 worth of salad and cheese for lunch (jacket potatoes with salad). We pop into the post office to send my daughters’ pen friend a parcel containing a painted stone they are convinced is a dinosaur tooth, although I have my doubts. I also spend 61p on a second class stamp and buy a game from our local charity shop for £2.

On returning home I have a heated exchange of words with my 15-year old when I ask him to go back to the shops I’ve just been to so he can buy the tins of sweetcorn I clean forgot to get three minutes ago. He mumbles darkly about shopping lists and their uses until, amazingly, my 16-year-old son volunteers to go. I give him £5. He returns with two extremely cheap tins of corn and says he needs to keep the change for college.

I make apple crumble with apples from the garden for pudding (the roses are a gift from our guests).

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Katie Holden

Total spend: £16.80

With a large family we are constantly choosing how and where it is best to spend our money. We save a lot by cooking from scratch and avoiding processed foods (which are expensive and unsatisfying) and most of our things we buy second hand. We scour the internet for bulk-buy bargains to reduce our grocery bill and use our possessions until they break, fall apart or disintegrate.

However, I do not want our children to grow up feeling deprived or resenting our totally unfashionable, low-tech, penny-pinching ways. When I do splash out I want it to be on worthwhile experiences; real things that make memories. This is my roundabout way of justifying the £110.42 I paid today to enter a cycling sportive. My husband is going on the shortest route with four children, whilst our eldest three children are doing “the monster” which is over 93 miles.

When my husband comes home he is elated to tell me the head teacher of his school took him to one side, thanked him for all of his hard work and promised he would ask the governors to give him a pay rise. He doubts this will actually result in a pay rise as the school has no money, but there’s always a chance.

We ate leftovers for lunch so spent nowt on food.

Total spend: £110.42

I have always wondered why, despite having five dehumidifiers in the house, there is a persistent patch of damp on my bedroom wall. Last night’s storm revealed a leak directly above said wall. The steady drip of water kept me awake but the rhythmic tapping apparently helped my husband get back to sleep. I look about 100 years old in the morning. The roof will need fixing which is other expense lying in wait for us.

Seven of our children begin the day by going for a bike ride. Unfortunately, our eldest son has noticed his bike frame is cracking around the rear brake and this leaves him with the options of:

1. Racing through Yorkshire’s stunningly beautiful, steep hills with reduced braking ability (his suggestion, not mine).

2. Buying another second-hand racing bike.

3. Buying a second-hand carbon frame (we agree this is best).

He finds an okay frame on eBay, bidding ends tomorrow and currently stands at £41.

I take three of our children for swimming lessons every weekend. Although this is a significant cost (£25.50 per week for three children) it is worth every penny.

I buy pigeon food (£31.50 for 60kg). I would personally like to re-home half our pigeons and halve the expense of this particular hobby, but my sensible suggestion was met with mutiny and tears, so the birds are staying and I’m still paying.

Here is my daughter feeding a pigeon chick.

Image copyright
Katie Holden

The last great expense of the day is borne by my husband who goes with our son for Chinese medicine. It costs £150 for five treatments. They come back with some herbs (for making tea).

Total spend: £207

I do the main grocery shop of the week, online, and spend £94.34. I have thoroughly explored all the options for our main, weekly shop, from driving between shops to hunt down the cheapest groceries, to comparing all the delivery options from the major supermarkets. My honest conclusion is that there aren’t truly astounding savings to be had when you weigh up the marginal differences in price against the quality of food and convenience to the shopper. Currently I’m using Ocado because they have given me a free trial of their delivery saver service. I’m not sure what I’ll do when that ends next month.

My personal bugbear is the way supermarkets price some things per kg, others per 100g, others per 10g and others per item in a multipack. To add to my woes, I am still unsure if the prices advertised online include any special offers, especially when money is knocked off for buying several items. I’m always looking for the best value, which generally means the cheapest items, and the mental arithmetic involved in trying to calculate this with non-standardised pricing would flummox your average quantum physicist.

I refuel the car to the tune of £50.54.

The bike frame we were bidding on goes for £160, which was out of our price range, so we’re back to square one.

Total spend: £144.88

How does Katie feel about her week?

This was pretty much an average week for us. Thanks to this My Money project I have realised we do have good money saving systems in place, such as bulk buying catering packs of food online, which does save a lot.

Most weeks we manage to spend a big chunk of money on less essential items, which was the sport equipment this week, but I don’t want to turn into a money obsessed robot that says no to everything.

I suppose it’s a balance. We look for the cheapest options and then use any money saved to fund the interesting parts of our lives. The downside is that we have absolutely no savings whatsoever, but that’s not unusual for these times.

Total weekly spend: £510.99

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Cristiano Ronaldo: Aaron Ramsey nabs goal from Juventus teammate in Champions League game against Lokomotiv Moscow


Juve beat Lokomotiv Moscow 2-1 in Group D thanks to Costa’s moment of individual brilliance in stoppage time after the Brazilian came on as a 70th-minute subsitute.

Had the goal been awarded to Ronaldo the Juve star would have set a new Champions League record by scoring against a 34th different club. It was Ramsey’s first Champions League goal for four years.

“Following a Ronaldo freekick that was hopelessly spilled by the Lokomotiv keeper, Aaron Ramsey tapped it in as it was just going over the line,” tweeted former England international Gary Lineker. “Ronaldo may not be happy with Mr Ramsey … or will the great man get it overturned?”

Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus' Italian coach Maurizio Sarri during the Champions League match against Lokomotiv Moscow.

In the 82nd minute Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri then took the decision to substitute Ronaldo, who looked less than pleased at his withdrawal from the game.

“Ronaldo was angry when he came off because he has a small knee injury and this created another small thigh problem. I replaced him just because I feared he could aggravate his injury,” Sarri told UEFA.com.

That injury did not prevent Ronaldo jumping up to celebrate his side’s winning goal with Juventus joining Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain in qualifying for the knockout phase. Juve last won the Champions League in 1996.

Real Madrid cruises

While Ronaldo was left to rue missing out on breaking yet another record, one of the most exciting young players in Europe took it upon himself to write a new chapter in Champions League history.

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema (R) celebrates with teammate Rodrygo.

Brazilian teenager Rodrygo netted a hat-trick as Real Madrid thrashed Galatasaray 6-0 in the Spanish capital.

Rodrygo scored twice in the opening seven minutes of the contest, becoming the first player to do so in a Champions League match.

At 18 years and 301 days, he also became Real’s second youngest goalscorer after the legendary Raul Gonzalez.

“I’m extremely satisfied tonight,” Rodrygo told UEFA.com. “This has been the realization of a dream.

“Every day I’m advancing a little faster than I’d anticipated. But my attitude is always to work hard, prepare myself and try to ensure that what comes my way doesn’t feel so new or unfamiliar.”

Rodrygo wasn’t the only Real player to make history Wednesday. Karim Benzema also equaled the record set by Lionel Messi by scoring in 15 consecutive Champions League seasons, taking his tally in the competition to 50.

His two goals and a Sergio Ramos penalty secured all three points and leave Real poised to qualify for the knockout stages.

It will almost certainly finish behind Paris Saint-Germain which qualified for the last 16 with a 1-0 win over Club Brugge.

Manchester City meltdown

While Real Madrid cruised to victory, it was a rather more uncomfortable night for Manchester City.

Kyle Walker of Manchester City prepares to go in goal after Claudio Bravo was shown a red card.

The English champion was held 1-1 by Atalanta in Italy and finished the game with defender Kyle Walker in goal after substitute keeper Claudio Bravo was sent off.

City had made the perfect start to the contest with Raheem Sterling firing his side ahead early in the first half.

But a penalty miss from Gabriel Jesus and an injury to goalkeeper Ederson seemed to knock City out of its stride.

Mario Pasalic equalized for Atalanta four minutes after the break and City’s woes worsened with nine minutes remaining when Bravo was dismissed after charging out of his penalty area and bringing down Josip Ilicic.

With no substitute goalkeeper on the bench, Walker was sent on to keep goal and he even managed a decent save as Atalanta sensed victory.

“Did I volunteer? I think it was a bit of both,” Walker told BT Sport after the game.

“I try and sometimes banter the keepers in training but I found you sometimes have to take two touches to make a save. We came here for a point or victory. To come away from here with a draw is a good point.”

City will be desperately hoping Ederson recovers in time for Sunday’s Premier League showdown with top of the table Liverpool.

The Brazilian, who is one of the world’s best goalkeepers, has been one of the team’s outstanding players and his absence would be a huge blow for Pep Guardiola’s side, with City already trailing Liverpool by six points in the league.

“I don’t know at the moment right now,” Guardiola told BT Sport when asked about whether Ederson would be ready for Sunday.

“In this competition you know you have your chances and moments and you have to take it,” added Guardiola, reflecting on City’s performance against Atalanta.

“But with the problems we have, we made a good first half. First half we were outstanding and second we suffered. In the last 15 minutes we had the issue with the new keeper.”

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Golf: Els names Im, Niemann, Hadwin, Day as captain’s picks


MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Ernie Els has named Im Sung-jae, Joaquin Niemann, Adam Hadwin and Jason Day as his four captain’s picks for the International Team to play in the biennial event against the United States at Royal Melbourne from Dec. 12-15.

FILE PHOTO: Golf – The 148th Open Championship – Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, Northern Ireland – July 19, 2019 South Korea’s Im Sung-jae on the 11th hole during the second round REUTERS/Paul Childs/File Photo

Following is the complete Internationals roster:

Adam Scott (Australia)

Hideki Matsuyama (Japan)

Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa)

Marc Leishman (Australia)

Abraham Ancer (Mexico)

Li Haotong (China)

C.T. Pan (Taiwan)

Cameron Smith (Australia)

Jason Day (Australia)

Adam Hadwin (Canada)

Im Sung-jae (South Korea)

Joaquin Niemann (Chile)

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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Piccadilly Theatre: Wendell Pierce apologises for roof collapse


Wendell Pierce, who stars in Death of a Salesman, told the evacuated audience to “turn to your loved ones and go to the pub”.

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The lighter side of the (former) Brexit deadline


Clockwise from left: Richard David Lawman with I Want To Leave This Book, David Walliams and Matt Lucas as Little Britain's Lou and Andy, Kieran Hodgson and artwork for The HustleImage copyright
WatAdventure/BBC/Channel 4

Image caption

Clockwise from left: Richard David Lawman, David Walliams and Matt Lucas as Little Britain’s Lou and Andy, Kieran Hodgson and artwork for The Hustle

A comedian, author and musician tell BBC News why they wanted to mark the date the UK was to have left the EU.

Before the European Union’s offer of a Brexit extension was accepted, the UK had been set to leave on 31 October.

With that in mind, the BBC, Channel 4 and others commissioned works that were intended to coincide with that highly significant date.

The UK’s departure has now been put back. Yet that won’t stop a one-off, Brexit-themed edition of Little Britain going out later on BBC Radio 4.

Nor will it stop Channel 4 screening How Europe Stole My Mum, a light-hearted documentary about Britain’s relationship with Europe.

One Manchester-based publisher will release I Want To Leave This Book! – a 32-page storybook that endeavours to explain Brexit for children – at 23:00 GMT, as planned.

Musician Rhodri Marsden, meanwhile, ensured The Hustle, a Brexit-inspired disco concept album, was completed ahead of Britain’s putative Halloween egress.

All the above seek to find humour – satirical and otherwise – in a subject Hodgson’s programme freely concedes is “boring, complicated and comedically unpromising”.

Yet they also constitute artistic responses to a subject more often seen dominating news channels, bulletins and publications.

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Channel 4

Image caption

Hodgson visits Brussels as part of his mix of lecture and memoir

How Europe Stole My Mum, which airs on Channel 4 later at 23:05 GMT, grew out of a one-man show Kieran Hodgson performed last year at the Edinburgh Festival and elsewhere.

The show, then called ’75, saw him trace the roots of Brexit by exploring Britain’s decision to join the EEC (European Economic Community) in 1973.

“I thought doing a show about ‘Brentry’ and how going in was almost as fraught as coming out would provide a fresh angle on the subject,” says the 31-year-old.

“People will approach it with one view or another, but by retreating into the past it’s easier to find that common ground of humour.”

The title of How Europe Stole My Mum postulates a conflict between Kieran and his mother, played by Liza Tarbuck, over the different ways they voted in the 2016 EU referendum.

“It tells a very common story of family members or close friends finding themselves on either side of an earthquake crack that divided the nation,” he explains.

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Channel 4

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Harry Enfield (left) also appears in the hour-long programme

“I didn’t want to hide my own biases,” the Remain supporter goes on. “I wanted to acknowledge them, laugh at them and poke fun at myself as a means at poking fun at everything.”

Along the way the comic nimbly impersonates such political figures as Tony Benn, Ted Heath and Harold Wilson – with a little help from a protean Harry Enfield.

How Europe Stole My Mum was meant to go out on 29 March, the date Brexit was originally due to happen. But it was put back when Brexit was itself postponed.

“We found ourselves, strangely for a comedy show, at the mercy of developments in Westminster and Brussels,” says Hodgson, who admits feeling “slightly nobbled” by the latest postponement.

“Comedians are in their own way artists and it’s part of the artist’s job description to respond to major events in the life of the nation,” the comedian continues.

“I will probably go back to less divisive subject matter in future, but it seemed this was too big a thing to ignore.”

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Image caption

I Want To Leave This Book! was conceived and created in 30 days

I Want To Leave This Book! evolved out of co-author Richard David Lawman’s uncertainty over how to explain Brexit to his daughter.

“As a father to an inquisitive four-year-old, I started to think how I would explain the current political landscape,” says the father of two. “The answer was I couldn’t.”

Illustrated by Katie Williams, Lawman’s solution uses anthropomorphised animals who have differing opinions about the very story they’re in.

“The animals represent different groups of the electorate and politicians, and the new book they want to go into is post-Brexit Britain,” the author explains.

“The challenge was this is a live, breathing political issue that is highly partisan and hasn’t been explained to children in a fictional way before,” Lawman continues.

“The idea was to create an allegorical explanation of Brexit that uses metaphorical elements to represent the different aspects.”

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Image caption

The book features a large collection of animal characters

Like George Orwell’s Animal Farm before it, I Want To Leave This Book! features creatures that clearly represent human players in a real-life drama.

Theresa May is embodied by a timid hamster, Boris Johnson by a hirsute Highland Cow, while David Cameron’s stand-in is a pig called Percy Hogtrotter.

“Animals are a familiar medium so it makes it child-friendly,” says Lawman. “But there is a light satirical element there for adult interpretation.

“To do a good job we had to not take sides,” he goes on. “We had to zoom out as far as we could and place Brexit in its widest context.”

Completing the book in time required a Herculean effort. But it was a challenge Lawman and publisher WatAdventure were happy to take on.

“Brexit is a worthy issue to explain to children and picture books are the most creatively free medium,” he concludes.

“A lot of authors and illustrators are tempted to comment on world events, and the flexibility of the medium gives them scope to do that.”

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PA Media

Image caption

The Hustle is described as “a shining disco symphony”

When Rhodri Marsden set himself the challenge of writing a disco concept album about Brexit, he knew the clock was ticking.

“31 October was definitely the deadline,” he tells BBC News. “I had a feeling events were moving so fast and were very likely to overtake the creative process.”

Released earlier this month, the eight-song record sees the musician and journalist take playful aim at terminology that has become common parlance since 2016.

Its track listing includes titles like Backstop, No Deal and Freedom of Movement – phrases, he says, that “seemed to suit a disco treatment”.

“The whole project was more therapy on my part – getting friends together to do something weird and unusual,” he explains.

“I suppose it is a protest record in its very mild way, not so much about Brexit as the rhetoric surrounding it.”

The response, he says, has been “almost overwhelmingly positive – which is quite surprising given the divisiveness and rancour surrounding Brexit.

“I imagined I would get a lot of flack but I got almost none. Maybe there is a value in approaching the topic in a fun-poking way.”

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