They said I was too skinny

It isn't unusual to feel uncomfortable in your body, especially in your teenage years when everything's changing. Whether you feel too big or too small, too curvy or not muscly enough, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that everyone's different and that's ok. What makes us unique, also makes us beautiful.

Will has always naturally been very slim. He remembers clothes being baggy on him and not fitting when he was a kid, but it was when he was around 13 that he really started to notice and become self-conscious about it.

A stand-out moment for him was when he took his top off to go into the sea on holiday and his mum said:

I can see your ribcage through your back and I was just wondering if you were ok?

“I really started to not like my body,” Will says, but he felt alone and like he couldn’t talk to anyone about it. Watch the video below to discover the steps Will took to build up his body confidence.

Build your body confidence in four steps

Will outlines some of the clear actions that he took to build up his body confidence:

1. Talk about it

Will’s mum’s comment about being able to see his ribcage really stuck with him, but she didn’t remember saying it. It really helped Will to talk this through with his mum; what was a passing comment to her really hurt him. “Talking to her made me realise I should watch what I say too” reflects Will.

2. Find something you love

Find or reconnect with a hobby or pastime that you enjoy can help you to build up your confidence levels and give you a break from worrying. “What helps me is finding something that I love to do,” says Will, “It acts half as a distraction but then also it makes me not really care about my weight.”

3. Surround yourself with people who love you

“It’s really important to surround yourself with people who love you and care about you,” says Will, “because they are what keep you going when you’re down.” His advice is to find those people who love you for exactly who you are – friends and family – and hold on tight to them.

4. Focus on yourself

Instead of worrying about what other people thought of him, Will chose to focus on himself and focus on being happy instead. He says he found this shift in perspective empowering and reminds us that:

You are so much more than just how you look, and focusing energy on your strengths really helps you to feel good about yourself in many ways.

You are the most important thing to yourself.

Where to find support

People can feel unhappy about their weight for lots of different reasons. Remember, we all come in different shapes and sizes, and there is no one 'right' way to look. However, if you start to feel that your health is being affected by your weight, you should speak to your GP.

You can find lots of advice about healthy weight on the NHS website as well as advice about eating disorders. Young Minds and Beat also offer lots of helpful support around body image.

If you’re concerned that someone close to you is struggling with their weight or may have an eating disorder, speak to an adult you trust.

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