Vicki - Interview 18
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'.
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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.
Vicki would rather be called 'every name under the sun' than 'obese'.
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I’d rather be called like every name under the sun than be called obese. Just because I just think it’s a disgusting word. And I, but I know it’s like the correct terminology for like being overweight, like well quite a lot overweight, but I just really don’t like the word, and I, and I because I know it means like more overweight than overweight, like, and I know that I am obese, and it just, oh, I’d rather be called overweight, or fat, than obese. But although knowing I’m obese, I’d rather not be told it. Like, you know, it’s one of those things, I’d, I refer to myself as fat, but if someone else called me fat I’d be like, “Oh, thanks.” But I wouldn’t really let on, I would, I’d just be like, “Yeah I know.”
Morbidly obese is the scariest one, horrible, horrid. Just morbid is just oh, I just don’t like the word either, and what it means and it’s just, and I don’t know, I don’t know what it is about the words obese, I really don’t know what it is, but I just really, really, really gets to me that word. If someone was to say, call me obese in a serious way, I probably would just cry in front of them, but whereas if someone just called me fat or overweight I’d just be like, “Yeah, I know.” But I, I guess it’s because fat’s sort of the word you throw around as an insult isn’t it? And overweight is like the polite way of saying fat. But obese is just scary. Like when you’re obese you know you’re in trouble.
Vicki sometimes eats so much she feels ill afterwards.
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I had this curry and these chips, and I’d shared the chips, I’d halved the chips out, and I was like I’ll have half and if I want the other half, but I just knew, because I knew they were there I was like, “Well I’m going to have to eat them.” And it just knowing that it’s there and it was my order as well, and I was like, “No I’m going to eat them anyway.” And I ate this curry and the chips and like two or three pieces of prawn toast, and God knows how many prawn crackers, and I think I had a can of diet coke as well with it and I just felt like I was going to, like literally like I was going to explode, like if I touched my stomach it would burst. And I was laying on my bed just like, I just hate this feeling so much, but I didn’t, because I ate it so quickly as well, that I don’t realise I’m full until 5 minutes after I can’t move, and I was bed bound for a day after that, I was like, “Oh.”
But, you know, it’s just because I’ve got into the routine of eating everything in front of me, I mean if you gave me like, on ‘Matilda’ with the big chocolate cake that Brucey has to eat, if that was put in front of me, I’d have to eat it like, and I’d probably do it all in one sitting. But the thing is I’d feel absolutely so ill afterwards, and it just makes me feel like, especially after eating a take away I always feel really greasy and like disgusting, I have to wash my hands like five times, and I feel, “ugh, ugh, ugh” and I still feel really greasy in myself, and ugh. I don’t know, like the same with like , if you go to a restaurant for a carvery or something, and all of the oil around the roast potatoes and stuff, and I’m such a sucker for a roast potato, honestly, that’s one of my downfalls, is potatoes, like anything potato wise. And but just the fact that you can feel the oil in your mouth after you’ve finished the meal is just like, “Oh, this,” and the same with the fish and chips, like you may wash your hands six times, but still have grease on your finger nails, and it’s just disgusting.
But I know that it’s bad for me, and I know that I shouldn’t eat the amount that I do of that, like those particular foods, but I do just because, like I have no real reason to either. Like but the main thing is like although I am a happy person, I always fight with my emotions like quite a lot, I’m a really emotional person, and I cry at the drop of a hat honestly, but when I cry I eat, but then I eat because I’m crying, but I’m crying because I’m getting bigger, and it’s just a vicious circle.
Vicki thinks shes become addicted to food.
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And there’s just no point like in dwelling on it because at the end of the day it’s my own fault for being this way because although I was a good little eater I could’ve always sort of well, to this day, like from when I knew what I was doing, I could’ve stopped myself, like when I was hungry, no, when I wasn’t hungry, sorry, I could’ve just stopped. But I didn’t, and I think it’s just habit as well, like when I’m bored or tired, or bored and tired I just, or just in general it’s just become a habit like.
I remember before I did the Transformed programme I’d sort of go to bed, and I wouldn’t be able to sleep because I’d have food on my mind, so I’d go and make a sandwich, and then I’d be able to sleep after I’d had like my fix of a sandwich or something. And it’s just, it’s crazy and, I don’t know, it’s just, I do think that food is like, I know it sounds really stupid, but I think it’s like an addiction, it really is, because it’s just a habit, like it’s a force of habit, and that’s the reason why I’m so big is because I don’t get hungry often, I think I’m hungry because I’m used to eating, and like I’m a nibbler as well so just constantly picking at little things, like at Christmas as well, and there’s sweets here, and chocolates over there, and the Christmas tree with all the chocolates and the candy canes, and you’re just like, “Oh, where do I go?” And it just, I just don’t know. It’s really frustrating how, like I know I could’ve done something about it before now, but I haven’t, or I’ve tried but it never works like because I always fall back into the same routine of, sort of just eating when I feel like it.
And Mum always tries to help me, and I don’t think, Dad obviously cares but he’s just sort of like, “Well it’s your life, it’s your body,” kind of thing, whereas Mum also battles with her weight, and she’s, I think if she could she’d lose the weight for me, but by pressuring me to lose the weight it’s just making me think well I don’t want to lose the weight. Like she’s on my case all the time, I’m just like, “Leave me alone, I want to eat something.”
Vicki has made more friends at college than at school. She says people there care more about friendship than how people look.
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And then I went from there to [name] College and I’ve had no problems at all - like being overweight at college. I think it’s because I’m such an overpowering person that my personality just completely like...if people often say to me you know when, like you could tell when I’m around or something because it’s just like noisy and there’s always something happening, and I think people and people at this age now have just got to the point where they can see past weight for friendship and like see past weight, someone looks for a friendship, and like I’ve got a lot of good friends at [name] and I think that if I ever had any trouble with any of them about being overweight, like they’d stick up, like they stick up for me. And there’s a lot of overweight people as well who are friends at the college now, and I don’t really go out and about with them because they’re mainly boys, and they just play at X-box whatever, it’s like, “Are you coming out today?” “No, we’re playing X-box.”
Vicki became very emotional when she was dieting because her weight kept fluctuating up and down.
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Well it’s really, really difficult, especially when you’re younger. Like with the diet regimen, the yo-yo, the whole yo-yoing up and down through that 10 week period, was absolute torture for me, like I’ve just couldn’t sleep. I was terrified that I wasn’t going to lose weight, or that I was going to put weight on.
I was just a complete emotional wreck really, I was crying every five minutes, I became a bit of a hermit, I, If I went out I didn’t speak to anyone, it was just really hard. I was 14 years old and having so much like, being so unhappy being overweight, finally getting the weight off is amazing, then piling it all straight back on was just absolutely heartbreaking. Yo-yoing up and down in normal diets just, has just become a way of life really now. Like, being fat, then thinner, then fat and then thinner, just it gets just a pain at the back side really. It’s just like, “Am I ever gonna be able to do it like?” It just makes you really doubt yourself.
When shopping, Vicki sometimes gets her mum to pretend the clothes are for her. She never tries anything on in shops.
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Clothes as well, I tell everyone that I hate shopping, well I don’t really hate shopping, I hate shopping, I hate Top Shop, I absolutely love Top Shop. I just hate the fact that the biggest size they go up to like is a size 14 to 16. And I remember I went in there with my friend the other day and she’s got a really nice figure, she’s a size 12 I think and - well it wasn’t the other day it was the sale in the summer when the Kate Moss range had just been launched - and I walked in there and I was like, “Well I don’t know where I’m going” because I know that I’m going to want to buy something, but I don’t want to have to go up there and be like, “Excuse me, do you have this in an 18 or a 20 or something” because you know a) it’s Top Shop and they wouldn’t have sizes like that anyway, and b) it’s just embarrassing having to ask someone for a size that big. Like for me anyway, for an 18 year old girl to go up to someone and say, “Can I have a size 18 to 20?” it’s just like, “Ohh.” So I don’t do it, like, I get my Mum to go shopping for me, or I’ll go shopping with my Mum, and I know it sounds really sad but she pretends to be buying all the clothes for herself because I get so embarrassed about it.
And another thing that I hate about shopping as well is changing rooms, and like having to.. I don’t like trying on clothes, so I’ll buy a piece of clothing, not try it on, and then if it’s too big I’ll take it.. I won’t take it back, sorry, I’ll just be like, “This is really embarrassing, ‘cos they’re gonna, “ Too small? Because they’re gonna know that it’s too small - or I feel like they’re gonna know it’s too small. And like the girls in the door, on the changing room doors like, “How many items have you got?” “Three,” “Okay,” and I just feel like they’re looking at the sizes as well while they’re looking at it and I’m like, “Oh this is so embarrassing.” So I just don’t try on clothes anymore.
Vicki loved horse riding when she was younger but now she's too heavy.
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Horse riding was my life, honestly from when I was like 4 to 16, I’ve had horses all my life, I’ve still got one now, I don’t ride him, he’s this big, but like ‘cos my Mum’s, was absolutely like the most passionate person about horses as well, and then I sold my horse after I finished school, purely because I wasn’t really riding her anymore, and it’s just unfair to keep them if I wasn’t going to like ride her and stuff. But then when I sold my horse that’s, when, like when I was horse riding, that was like my incentive to stay like reasonably smaller, like I’ve put on so much weight since horse riding because the horses were the reasons I didn’t put on the weight. Because if I got too big I wouldn’t be able to ride them, and I miss it so much, but I’m so big now I can’t ride them, I, well I don’t know if I could or not, but I wouldn’t want to ride them because I’d feel like I was hurting them, like, and but I just really want to get back into it, but it’s just so, like so hard. Like people say, “Why don’t you just do it then?” It’s like, “Well you just don’t understand.” Like and people who have, have also horse ride, ridden, and people who right like used to ride with me and stuff, “Like well why don’t you just do it?” And I’m like, “Because I don’t want to.”
Like my friend offered me to go and ride her horses, with her, she’s got two. And she says, “Well come out riding with me,” and I was like, “Mate, I’m probably far too heavy for your horse.” And she was like, “No, honestly you’re not.” And I was like, “Okay,” and, I was like, “But I don’t want to ride, like I don’t want to ride him, like because I don’t want to hurt him, and I don’t want to feel like I’m putting, like putting so much pressure on him.” And I just I just feel really uncomfortable, like the horse riding was the big thing that the programme, like, but that my reason for going on the programme was the horse riding, and I wanted to improve my horse riding and stuff and obviously wanted to lose weight, but I wanted to lose weight mainly for my horses. But like after doing that and stuff, I just, I never, I don’t know, I just never really got into it properly and stuff. Like back that and got back into it and stuff and its really sad.
Vicki is scared of getting rejected by guys because of her weight.
And there was this one guy who me and my friend were both interested in, and so it was a bit like, and I just took, took the back line and I was like, fine, you know he would go for you anyway because you’re slimmer than I am, and you’re prettier than I am, like go for it. And I think that’s part of my problem as well is like I don’t really put myself out there much, like I’ve never had a serious relationship, I always like freak out and I’m like, and I don’t want to do anything with guys either because I’m just worried like I’m so, like paranoid they’ll be like, “Oh my God, you’re so fat.” Like so I just, I just keep myself to myself really.
And like I hate, I remember I was seeing like this guy in the summer and he stayed round a few times. I just didn’t want to like do anything because I felt so self-conscious, and I’ve known him for ages as well, and it’s like he’s probably seen me get changed into my pyjamas before, but it was just the fact like intimacy really scares me because I’m overweight, and I think if I wasn’t overweight I’d be fine like. And cuddling as well, like going to sleep, I didn’t like it, I lay flat on my back and hold my stomach in until he fell asleep, I’d be like... and then I could go, finally go to sleep myself, and then like make sure I wake up before him so I’d be like, hold myself in and stuff.
Vicki thinks there needs to be more support for teenagers who are overweight.
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Well I think there should be like, as I said like a group, or like local groups or something for overweight people. And like you don’t have to broadcast it like, “Oh, we’re fat people, like roll up roll up,” kind of thing. Like just have some sort of, some thing to make people aware of and they wouldn’t listen, if they want to hear it or not. It’s important.
Like , and make things more, like teenagers trying to diet don’t have much money, like stop making everything so expensive for diets. Like that’s just the one thing that really annoys me, is how, and nothing is aimed specifically at teenagers, because everything is like 16+ as well, and well not everything, but most things are 16+ and like, just like, so some people are being, they’re getting to be overweight and getting to 16 it’s too late, like, they won’t change back because being overweight has been with them since they were young, and it’s shaped the person they’ve become, so they might not want to lose weight, but they, they, they shouldn’t if they don’t want to like, but.
Just more help for like younger teenagers, because it’s all well and good like people my age, like 18, 19, can get the help because they can go to the meetings, like Weight Watchers and stuff, and they can use all of the gym equipment and like as you can, like the people who are 16 and plus can like can go to most of the meetings and like most, use most gyms and stuff, but I think people under 16, like kids who are getting bigger I really think they need help as well, because, but they, rather than make it something nasty and stuff like, “Oh you’re a kid, and you’re fat,” kind of thing, like be nice about it, like try and. I don’t know just, help younger children as well like, ‘cos they’re, if you, if you look like you’re gonna get big when you’re younger you’re gonna get big for your teens as well, like, that’s how I started when I was 10 I started getting big. I was big like, like I said I was one of the bigger ones, but I was tall so you couldn’t really count it out, and I was, as I sort of, I started to shrink a little bit but just sort of grew in width like. And, it’s more awareness for younger teenagers really, especially.
Don't let your weight get you down, exercise and don't pay attention to the nasty comments of others.
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Just don’t let it bog you down really. If you really want to do it, you’ll find it in yourself to do it. And like, I know it sounds really corny and stuff, but exercise really is the key, it really does help and like and you can definitely do it like, you’ve just got to put your mind to it, like if you like want it enough you can do it. And just don’t listen to people when they make nasty comments and pass judgement, just think you’re, you’re so much better than them by not saying anything back. And like, its, we’re all in the same boat aren’t we really? So it can be done, it’s achievable, it’s achievable for anyone [laughs].
Vicki hates feeling judged by people because shes overweight.
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Me and my cousin look very similar, apart from that I’m fat and she’s thin. And people when we were younger, I was never particularly big, ‘cos I was always quite tall, but then all my friends grew up around me, and I just sort of stayed shorter but carried on getting wider, whereas my cousin, I was always taller than my cousin, so I didn’t look that big, because I was quite, like stretched out, and she was slim anyway. But as we got older like she’d be quite nasty and be like, “Oh you’re right fat.” You know and it’s just like, that was her argument, that was our, if we were to have an argument, she’d go, “Yeah, well you’re well fat,” or something, and I was just like, “Oh and you’re really clever.” Like is that the best you can do, like pick on someone about the way they look? It’s just the most pathetic thing in the world.
Like if I was to get into an argument with someone, I would never ever, ever, ever, ever like use against them how they look, because it’s just so pathetic and unfair and uncalled for and there’s just no point because it just... I don’t even know, I don’t understand why people sort of go, “Something, something, something, well yeah, you’re really ugly.” Or, “You’re, you’re really fat,” and it’s just like, but they are or no they’re not, but why would you put someone else down like that? There’s just absolutely no need. If you’re arguing with somebody because you don’t agree with what they’ve done, or they don’t agree with what you’ve done, you wouldn’t just turn around to them and go, “Well yeah but, you’re just fat,” or, “You’re just ugly.” Because it’s just really mean. Really mean.
Vicki says there are too many different messages on weight management.
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There’s so many different opinions and views, on weight loss and how to do it, or weight gain if you’re underweight and how to do it. Whereas drugs, there’s, there’s just the one message, stop. Obviously they tell you different, I guess there’d be like, kind of like the whole Frank thing where they’d have different ways of like telling you how to lose the weight, and showing like. What I think they should do is like, they should have like, do like a quiz or something, like, or have an internet page like Frank, and like have a quiz and like a personalised, like a quiz that you personalise, and then like whatever it tallies up to, you go and look and that right, what’s best for you way kind of thing, or something like that just because it’s so difficult like, it’s taken me… what, I’ve been dieting since I was about 10, ‘cos that’s when I first started getting properly like quite big, and noticing it, and its, so it’s taken me 8 years to find a diet that suits me, whereas if there was something like a facility like that, I’d have been able to do it easily, I’d have been, I would probably wouldn’t be in this state now if there was more like awareness about weight.
And I mean the fact that it’s glamorised just winds me up, I mean you don’t know much about, I don’t know much about obesity and I am obese like, I know more about being underweight because of how much it’s like spoken about and how popular it is. And its, it’s like a, like what’s it called, it’s like a phase, no, not a phase, like a craze. Like I was on MySpace and Facebook, and there’s actually groups of anorexic people who get together and talk about what they haven’t eaten. And it disgusting like, my friend for our coursework in Communication Studies did a piece on anorexia and on size zero model, and she found on Facebook a, like a group, completely glamorising anorexia, and it was a group of anorexics together, taking pictures of themselves and like posting them up and then comparing who’s the slimmest, and if you lost like, if you like put on weight you were like kicked out of the group and stuff. And it was just absolutely terrible. I mean you don’t get groups of fat people doing that do you? Well you get a few, but I just don’t understand like why you’d like do that really, I just oh. I don’t know.
Vicki says that people make assumptions about her, because of her size.
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And I sort of feel that I have to put myself on the line before people just think, “Oh the quiet little fat girl,” they sort of think, “Oh, she’s actually got personality, she’s not just like a lump of lard or something.” And, I just… I mean I’d quite like to be able to sort of keep myself a bit more reserved, and I feel if I was slimmer I’d be able to but because I’m bigger that’s what I, my personality is bigger than my size, so I throw that at someone first rather than sort of sit there and let them look at me and think, “Oh, she’s going to be really shy because she’s fat.” Its like, “No she’s not.” Like fat people aren’t shy, they’re just are unconfident, like a lot of, like I have a few overweight friends as well, and they’re just, they’re like me as well, they put their selves out there first, and I just, I don’t know, I get into big rants about it!