Health and weight

Huw - Interview 09


Brief outline: Huw, 17, said that he has had a problem with his weight for as long as he can remember. In the past he followed different dieting programs to tried and lose weight but didn't make much of a difference. Recently he did the total food replacement programmed and had lost two and a half stone. After the interview he has lost a further two and a half stone. Ethnic background: White British.

Background: See 'brief outline'.

Audio & video

Huw, 17, is a student in sixth form and is hoping to go to University next academic year. He currently lives with his parents and siblings. Huw works as a volunteer youth worker and at the time of the interview was busy organising a fashion show to help raise funds for some youth projects in the city where he lives.
Huw said that he has had a problem with his weight for as long as he can remember. In his early teens he tried Slimming World but said that he ended up heavier than when he started. He found the counselling side of the program good but said that there was not much talk about portion control. This program was followed by WeightWatcher’s for about 18 months but again it didn’t work for him and he didn’t lose any weight.
Recently, his GP suggested he did the total food replacement program and he lost about two and a half stone. Huw said that he was the one motivating his GP to help him lose weight. Huw describes the total food replacement program as a drastic one. He was allowed to have two milkshakes-type of drink a day and nothing else except water. He greatly appreciates the support he received from his family and friends particularly while he was sticking to this program. Huw said that it is difficult doing it alone. What he also found helpful was the support and advice he got from the pharmacists. Currently he is on the maintenance stage of the program and he continues to be supervised and weighed every week. He finds that reassuring but wishes the person who is supervising him was a bit bigger, he thinks he would find it better to talk to.
Huw describes the Body Mass Index chart as ‘a bit unrealistic’. According to BMI calculations he should be about 15 stones but he says that even his ‘thin’ friends who are similar in height to him, are over 15 stone. Also it doesn’t distinguish between men and women so he finds it a ‘bit general’. Huw thinks that it is more important to aim for a healthy weight which in his case is 17 or 18 stones. He is aiming to get to a healthy weight through eating the right type of food and exercising at the gym. But says that he lately is only managing to go to the gym once a week because he is busy with school work and youth clubs activities.
Huw felt that his mum has quite a lot of influence over what he eats by preparing all the family meals and preventing him from snacking. He said that he has a very healthy diet at home but the problem is when he is out and about with his friends. Moreover, he finds it hard to moderate his food portions. Because of this he is a bit concerned about the possibility of putting on weight when he goes to university next year and start living a more independent life.
Huw thinks that the images that are presented in the media about ideal weights are healthier for men than for women. He says that while men are portrayed with six pecks and muscular, the images of women are those of unhealthy, super skinny images.
After the time of the interview he had lost a further two and a half stone.


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