Health and weight

Bella - Interview 15

Female

Brief outline: Bella, 15, loves drama because it helps her switch off and feel like a different person. She thinks confidence is the most important thing because it can help you feel more comfortable with everything. Ethnic background: White British.

Background: See 'brief outline'.

Audio & video

Bella, 15, loves drama because it helps her switch off and feel like a different person. Bella thinks confidence is the main thing because when you have a lot of self-esteem and feel confident with how you look, you can feel a lot more comfortable with everything.
 
Bella says she can feel a bit paranoid when she’s out because she thinks people are laughing at her or calling her names. She says she can’t go places without feeling uncomfortable or her weight being mentioned and says she didn’t like lining up for school dinners. She feels like she doesn’t fit in at school because she’s so much bigger than the other kids. She says it’s hard to concentrate when people are throwing things at her, calling her names and pulling her hair. Bella thinks bullies are just showing off. The bullying used to make her really depressed but she got a lot of support from her friends, teachers and her mum.
 
Bella’s school have been really supportive about her weight issues' when Bella took time off school, they sent the school nurse to talk to her and then the teachers found and took her to a weight management programme in their free time. Since going to the programme, Bella says her confidence has grown. She says it really helped her writing in a journal when she was upset, but now she can talk to people about how she’s feeling. Bella says she loved going to the programme because there were other young people like her there and she made lots of friends. She says everyone was really nice and nobody forced her to do any of the activities.
 
At the programme, Bella was tested for diabetes and told she was at risk, especially because there is a history of diabetes in her family, but the doctor told her if she looks after herself it’s possible she won’t develop it. Bella says she’s really scared about taking medication, having a heart attack or dying early.
 
Bella says she eats out of boredom and for comfort when she’s upset about something. She thinks she started to gain weight when she was much younger and her mum and dad split up. Bella has found it hard to stick to diets because she feels hungry all the time, or depressed and angry. Now, she tries to avoid sugars, fizzy pop, sweets and crisps, but says it’s hard to give them up because it’s like an addiction. She’s also noticed that healthy foods are more expensive than unhealthy ones. When she gives in to temptation, Bella says she feels ashamed and disappointed in herself. Bella says it’s difficult to exercise outside because she feels uncomfortable and like people are laughing at her. Bella thinks it might take her a couple of years to get to her ideal size but only if she cuts down on things, eats fruit and veg and keeps up her exercise.

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