Health and weight

Edward - Interview 08

Male

Brief outline: Edward, 18, is a medical student. He does lots of exercise to try to achieve what he considers to be the ideal male body image. Ethnic background: White British.

Background: See 'brief outline'.

Audio & video

Edward, 18, is a medical student. He does lots of exercise to try to achieve what he considers to be the ideal male body image – which for him is a toned, muscular look. He lost the “baby fat” from his stomach when he started exercising. Edward says he does a lot more exercise than his friends do, he swims for an hour three times a week, does sit-ups, squats and press-ups most days for 20 minutes, goes running three times a week and does a martial art once a week. Edward says it’s difficult to fit in sometimes with university work, but he finds he can fit it in between things – they’ve just become a habit now. Since he started university, Edward says he doesn’t exercise as much as he used to. Before, he did martial arts 3 times a week and he used to run more often, but now it’s more difficult because he lives on a busy city street - there’s nowhere to run because there’s too many people and the traffic is dangerous. He also thinks these days there are fewer opportunities for exercise, because people drive everywhere.
 
Edward likes running because it’s free, but he pays to go swimming and to do martial arts. He doesn’t think it’s expensive to do these activities, but he saves money by budgeting and not drinking alcohol and eating less meat than he used to. Edward’s main reason for swimming and doing the martial arts is for stress management and relaxation, while the other exercises he does for his body shape.
 
Edward says reading magazines like Men’s Fitness can make you feel inadequate and depressed, but he realises that the images are unrealistic and edited. He’s noticed that men’s magazines, unlike women’s, do not have articles about how to feel comfortable being curvy.
 
Edward loves cooking and often cooks from scratch, but he says it’s difficult to avoid high amounts of salt and fat if you buy processed foods or ready meals. He tries to eat his five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and worries if he doesn’t. Edward says he follows a healthy diet because he thinks it will help his mental health but also will help him look healthy. As his local shop doesn’t stock fresh foods, Edward has to walk 20 minutes to the supermarket. When he’s buying food, Edward looks at the nutrition wheels on the packaging which use the traffic light system to know how much fat or salt foods have got in them (red means high levels; green means low levels).
 

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