Amy is a fashion stylist who has struggled with low body image since she was a teenager. What started off as an obsession with exercise quickly turned into an eating disorder until she decided she needed help.
“When I was 15 years-old, I was feeling really unhappy about my body. I started to do lots of exercise classes and then I started to really limit my food intake and lose a lot of weight. When I started to lose weight everyone was like ‘oh my god you look perfect’. I started off at a size 12 and just carried on to the point that a size 8 was too big for me. I was rather skin and bone really.
“No one realised because I used to wear a lot of baggy clothes. I felt like it took away my personality because I am quite a sociable person, but I didn’t want to be with anyone, I just wanted to lock myself away. Anything to do with eating, I would just avoid at all costs because I just couldn’t handle people watching me eat and judging me eat.
“One day, a good friend of mine rang me up and said ‘Amy I’m a little bit worried about you’ and I said ‘no I am fine.’ And she said ‘you are really not Amy, because you avoid all dinners, I’ve not seen you eat for months and I think you have got an eating disorder’. I was like ‘no, no I’m fine, I’m fine’.
“I was about to take my GCSEs and I thought, I will not get through these if I don’t eat. That’s when I realised that I had a problem.
“One day I went to the doctor on my own. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my whole life, sitting in front of someone and say, I have a problem and I need help. After that visit, I was admitted to an outpatient clinic.
“I learned a little bit about healthy eating in school, but only a tiny bit. We might have watched a video, but it wasn’t a real lesson about body image. I didn’t really know that much about it until I went through it myself.
“I think there needs to be less re-touching on photoshoots and more shoots that include real women. Pop culture is another issue, too many celebrities promote crash diets and unrealistic body goals and this really isn’t helpful for anyone’s confidence.
“There are people that are naturally a size 8 but it’s ok if you’re not. Just be comfortable with yourself and try to be healthy.”
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