Health and weight

Dee - Interview 39

Age at interview: 47

Brief outline: Dee is the mother of 20 year old Alicia. Dee partly blames herself for not taking control of Alicia's appetite or giving her smaller portions. She says that Alicia feels people should just accept her for who she is.

Background: Dee is a Careers advisor and mother of one child aged 20. Ethnic background: Black British.

Audio & video

Dee is the mother of 20 year old Alicia. She says Alicia was a big baby and has always had a big appetite and enjoyed her food. Dee partly blames herself and her parents for not taking control of Alicia’s appetite or giving her smaller portions. Dee sees this lack of control as being at the heart of Alicia’s problems with her weight. She thinks that Alicia feels she shouldn’t have to take control of her eating habits, and that people should just accept her for who she is. Alicia has become more accepting of herself now she has a boyfriend who likes her as she is.
Dee says Alicia was never really bullied, but was seen instead as looking after everyone else. In fact, Dee thinks she’s been more of a bully to Alicia about her weight and has been the least accepting. Family members also sometimes make comments and this upsets Dee.
When she was little, Alicia saw dietitians and Dee doesn’t think they were very helpful, and Alicia hasn’t had any other help. Dee thinks there’s more awareness about the health risks of obesity now and more help is available. Dee is worried about the consequences for Alicia’s health. She says that Alicia’s legs swell up in the summer because of water retention. Dee thinks Alicia is getting a bit more attention now because there is a history of diabetes in her family, and because her father is overweight and had a gastric band. Dee thinks it would have made a difference if the whole family had received help when Alicia was much younger. Dee thinks that it will take a health scare to shock Alicia into taking action.
Dee thinks that Alicia’s weight gain is due to the large portions of food she eats, rather than the type of food – which has always been healthy – because she was always an active child, swimming and doing Taekwondo and karate. Dee thinks Alicia got into a habit of eating too much and then it became difficult to eat less without feeling hungry. Dee believes Alicia doesn’t know when she’s full up.
Alicia lost a lot of weight after changing her eating and exercise habits, but as both her and Dee got busier, it became more difficult to fit these changes into their day to day lives, and the weight crept back on again.
Alicia has been through hard times and experienced anxiety and depression, and received counselling and medication. As a result, she didn’t go to university as planned, although she now has a place to do a Foundation in Medicine course.
Dee recommends that other parents should look at where they are going wrong and get help and support if they need it.


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