Health and weight

Vicki - Interview 18

Female

Brief outline: Vicki, 18, has mixed feelings about her size, and says she's happy in some ways, but not in others. She loves clubbing and dancing but feels embarrassed to dance because of her size. She says people often underestimate her because of her size. Ethnic background: White British.

Background: See 'brief outline'.

Audio & video

Vicki, 18, has mixed feelings about her size, and says she’s happy in some ways, but not in others. She says she doesn’t want to be stick thin, because she’d feel uncomfortable in a slim body, but would like to be a size 14-16. Vicki says she was brought up to finish her food and that now she continues eating even if she’s full. She thinks her size is her own fault because she could stop herself from eating – but she says it’s become a habit and compares it to having an addiction. Vicki’s tried lots of diets but always puts the weight back on. She thinks she hasn’t lost weight in the past because she’s worries her personality might change' because she’s always been big, she doesn’t know what it would be like to be slim, or if she wants to be. When she has lost weight, Vicki says she’s become more self-conscious about her appearance, whereas when she’s bigger, she feels can wear what she wants. When she was 14, Vicki took part in a TV programme about teenagers trying to lose weight' she lost weight on the programme, but afterwards felt quite down and “an emotional wreck”. Vicki says she’s ready to lose weight now because she’s worried if she doesn’t she never will, or that she’ll never be completely happy; but she also wants to lose it for university. She’s been attending WeightWatchers, and thinks she’s been losing weight because she’s changing her lifestyle rather than treating it like a diet.
 
Vicki says she’ll often make a comment or joke about her size before other people do – although this can make her friends feel uncomfortable. She says that although she acts as though she doesn’t care what people say about her, it does hurt. She says people often underestimate her because of her size, for example, an athletics teacher wrongly assumed she wouldn’t be able to take part – although she was actually quite good. She says people also tend to think she is “thick” and that she’ll be a pushover.
 
Vicki says she finds it hard sometimes going out clubbing with her friends, because
everyone in the clubs and her friends are all slimmer than her. She says she loves dancing but feels embarrassed to dance because of her size, so she dances alone at home. Vicki also loves swimming but doesn’t go to the pool because she doesn’t want to be seen in her swimming costume. Vicki says she’s never had a serious relationship and worries about being intimate with someone.
 
The only time Vicki went to the doctors about her weight was when she wanted to go on the contraceptive pill to help with her painful periods. After taking the pill she started to have pains in her legs and when she went back, the nurse weighed her and recommended that she didn’t take the pill because she was clinically obese.
 
Vicki thinks there should be more support groups for young people with weight problems so that young people can chat to each other about how they feel.
 

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