Health and weight

Sara - Interview 43

Age at interview: 47

Brief outline: Sara is the mother of Josie, 15. She believes it's important to feel happy in your body and while she wants to help her daughter to learn to control her appetite, she also wants to help her accept and be happy about her curves.

Background: Sara is a self-employed gardener and a married mother of three children aged 6, 13 and 15. Ethnic background: White.

Audio & video

Sara is the mother of Josie, 15. She says Josie’s build is unusual in their slim family. Josie started to gain weight aged 12, which Sara puts it down to Josie’s large appetite.
Sara says she feels responsible for her children’s health. She finds it difficult at times to manage Josie’s appetite and diet, and feels guilty about trying to restrict how much she is eating. She says finding the right balance can also be difficult, especially because she doesn’t want to make too much of an issue about food and as Josie doesn’t want to be told what to do. Sara likes being able to prepare her daughter’s packed lunch because she can control what goes into it, even though her children complain when she refuses to put crisps or chocolate in their lunchboxes. Sara says, however, that she doesn’t believe in labelling foods as bad, or restricting what she buys for the family, because they could always get those foods elsewhere anyway.
Sara says they’ve always eaten healthy foods and grown their own vegetables, and she’s pleased that Josie is learning to cook from scratch at school – and sometimes cooks at home too. She thinks schools should do more to teach children to take responsibility for themselves when it comes to making decisions about eating and exercising – because young people are not often encouraged to think for themselves.
Sara also has another daughter who is of slim build and very active. She says the two girls have groups of friends who have similar body shapes to themselves. She thinks that girls these days seem to be more preoccupied by their size and diet than when she was a teenager, and she thinks this is partly due to the skinny images of women portrayed in the media.
Sara says she’s tried to encourage her daughter to find a form of exercise that she likes, and currently takes her to pilates, but she says Josie would much rather get on with her homework. Josie cannot walk to school or cycle anywhere on her own because they live near a dangerous country road. Josie has a problem with her posture, which Sara believes affects her ability to exercise and is affecting her weight gain and weight distribution. She approached her GP and a physiotherapist, but they told her not to worry about it. Sara was relieved to finally got some advice from her pilates teacher (who is also a trained physiotherapist), because she says Josie would be more likely to take notice of someone other than her mother.
Sara also feels bad for her daughter when she gets upset about not being able to fit into clothes when they go shopping. Although she wants Josie to learn to control her appetite, she believes it’s important to feel happy in your body and she wants to help her daughter accept and be happy about her curves.


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