Health and weight

Feeling good about yourself

Young people gave different reasons as to why they felt good or not so good about themselves. For some it was about feeling more confident in their social life, for others it was about making the decision to get fit and lose weight. 
Those who decided to make lifestyle changes and stuck to their decision noticed that their self-confidence improved and that they felt generally happier. Usually young people said that support from family helped them to stick with their new healthier lifestyle. Once they felt better they said their friends and family began to give them encouragement and compliments. 
Building up self-confidence was not that easy for some young people. Some said that they disliked themselves and felt guilty whenever they ate too much. Changing their lifestyle involved facing some uncomfortable truths about their problems. Several young people said that having counselling from weight experts was really helpful.
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Weight management programmes like SHINE (Self Help Independence, Nutrition and Exercise) and MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition … Do it! Programme), were said to be extremely helpful for increasing self-confidence as well as for losing weight (see Community-based weight management programmes).
As they lost weight, some young people had become more conscious about their physical appearance. Several said that they felt confused and had conflicting feelings about losing weight and about their new body shape. Some girls who were losing weight talked about how very proud they were of the curvy figure they had achieved and had no intention of losing more weight. Losing weight could also bring up new issues for young people to deal with, like the need to exercise in order to tone muscles.
Many young people believed that parts of the media, teen and celebrity magazines especially, were much too focused on the way people look (see Weight, health and the media).Young people with weight problems found this difficult and it impacted on the way they thought about themselves but there were a few people who were able to ignore it. These young people said that they were inspired by the success of larger celebrities such as Beth Ditto and Dawn French.
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Last reviewed July 2017.
Last updated February 2015.



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