It is a sad fact that many of us are dissatisfied with the way we look. Have you ever asked ‘Does my bum look big in this?’ or said ‘I hate my thighs’ or ‘I’m so fat’?

And it’s not just girls, guys are under increasing pressure to have a muscular, toned athletic physique whereas girls are expected to be impossibly thin, with legs up to their ears and disproportionately large breasts – in short, to be a Barbie doll.

A lot of our ideas about how our bodies should look come from the media – sometimes it can be hard to remember that magazines change photographs to make models and stars look even more attractive than they are in reality!

Your body is unique. Its shape and size are largely dictated by your genes and will stay the same however much dieting or bodybuilding you do. What you can do is look after it by eating healthily and exercising regularly.

Your body is your home. It’s also your friend. It serves you well. Take some time to thank your body for the fantastic job it does. Celebrate your body by walking tall and being confident about the way you look, then you are guaranteed to look fabulous!

Eating problems

Why am I having problems with eating?

Eating problems affect high numbers of young people and although they are most common in young women, young men are affected too.

Some people say eating problems help them feel in control, or to manage difficult experiences or feelings. The trouble is that the eating disorder ends up controlling you.

What is anorexia?

Anorexia is a disorder where someone deliberately restricts their food intake and loses a significant amount of their body weight, so they become underweight. People often do this to feel more in control and anorexia is often connected with low self-esteem.

What is bulimia?

Bulimia is also linked to low self-esteem and overwhelming feelings. It involves eating large amounts of food and then ‘purging’ through vomiting, taking laxatives or excessive exercise. One of the dangers of bulimia is that, because the person is often an average weight, it is less likely to be picked up on.

What is compulsive eating?

Compulsive eating involves consuming large amounts of food at one sitting, often very quickly in an attempt to manage difficult feelings. People who compulsively eat don’t purge and therefore experience weight gain and may be overweight.

Where can I get help?

If you are experiencing eating problems it is important to get help. You can talk to a Talksafe Counsellor or Peer Mentor or you may find the following young people’s section of Beating Eating Disorders website useful.


Most teenagers experience getting spots on their face, and unfortunately some people get more than others. These are caused by your skin getting oilier and have nothing to do with eating chips and chocolate!

Some people find using a special face wash helps, but some people get lots of painful spots called acne and may need medication from their doctor.

Isn’t it always the way – you’ve got a special date coming up or a really important party and suddenly your face erupts in an explosion of pimples. Here are some handy facts about acne, what it is and what to do about it.

If you have a question or you are unsure about anything then ask a Talksafe Counsellor or Peer Mentor.

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BBC – Body Image
BBC Health: Acne
BBC – ‘Young People Hung Up on their bodies’
Beating Eating Disorders
BJP – Media influences on body size
Children and Youth Health: Body Image

NHS Choices: Eating Disorders
NHS Live Well
Young Adult Health – Body Image
Young Adult Health – Acne

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Last review: 29/09/14 – Next review: 29/09/17