Health and weight

Holly - Interview 05


Brief outline: Holly, 18, is a student and is happy being the size she is. She thinks it's important to hear from people who are 'comfortable with being on the larger side'. Holly disagrees with her BMI (body mass index), which classes her as 'morbidly obese'' she would describe herself as overweight. Ethnic background: White British.

Background: See 'brief outline'.

Audio & video

Holly, 18, is a student and is happy being the size she is. She thinks it’s important to hear from people who are “comfortable with being on the larger side”. Holly disagrees with her BMI (body mass index), which classes her as “morbidly obese”' she would describe herself as overweight. She thinks the term “obese” is unpleasant and is used for “shock tactics,” but says this doesn’t help your confidence.
Holly thinks that genetic factors may contribute to weight gain, because most of the women in her family are big, but she thinks that people also have different metabolisms and says their environment may affect what they eat. In her case, she says it’s a combination of these factors and the fact that she is lazy and loves food!
Holly has always found it really difficult to lose weight. She’s tried lots of different diets, exercising and she’s been to WeightWatchers. She finds it difficult to stick to diets or to eat healthily by eating five fruit and vegetables a day and choosing lighter options. She says she’s noticed that healthy foods cost more than unhealthy ones and this is difficult for students like her to afford on their budget. She also thinks that low income families are more likely to be overweight, especially during the credit crunch, because people will eat what’s available to them. Holly also says it’s difficult to eat healthily because she’s so busy with college and the volunteering that she does. This means that very often she’ll grab fast food on the go or late at night when she’s finished work. Holly says she always found excuses not to do PE lessons at school and thinks that may be why she’s unfit now. School PE also put her off doing exercise classes or going to the gym now, although she doesn’t mind cycling because no-one can see her.
Holly says there are downsides to being bigger, such as finding clothes to fit, and how it affects your health and mental health. Holly says her weight affects her confidence, and this has had a knock on effect in other areas of her life. Holly has been tested for diabetes, and although she does not have it, she was advised to lose weight to reduce the risk of it developing. When Holly developed a 9cm tumour on her ovary, it was not discovered until she started experiencing pain and other symptoms; Holly wonders if she would have discovered it sooner if she had been smaller. Holly has been called names and had comments made about her weight by strangers in the street and in supermarkets; she even used to receive abusive messages via her Facebook and Myspace accounts, which concerned her at first but she doesn’t let them bother her. Holly has found the college environment more accepting of her size, partly because there is a more diverse range of people there. Holly doesn’t have a boyfriend at the moment and she believes this is because boys tend to prefer skinnier girls.
Holly says she wasn’t always happy with her appearance but has come to accept it more. She thinks it’s better to be happy how you are than to keep trying to change. Having said that, she says that if she could lose weight in an instant, she would.


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