Teenage Kicks: Overcoming the Stigma of Being an Overweight Teen

 Overcoming the “Fat” Label as a Teen

Is your teenager struggling with their weight or body image?

My guest today knows all about feeling uncomfortable in her body, and the negativity from friends and peers at school that can come with that.

Margaret Steffie says she was never the fit kid – she openly admits that as a teen, she was more likely to be found curled up with a book than playing sports, but she also suffered with food intolerances that made her bloated and demotivated around her health.

We talk about how Margaret had her weight medicalised at a very young age, and the impact this had on her perception of herself.

We also talk about bullying due to weight issues, comfort eating, and how even well-intended comments about what she was eating, or how much she was exercising, contributed to her struggle to be healthy.

Margaret talks about the stigma of being an overweight teen

Margaret has since revolutionised her approach to her weight and health. She is now a health coach, personal trainer, and group fitness instructor. She says her goal is to help women skyrocket their energy and find their purpose in life.

How do we give our kids independence?

The big take home for me as a mum was Margaret’s advice to parents to take a step back from their children’s problems, and to have faith in the process they’re going through.

This is something that’s really been on my mind recently – As parents we start our journeys with our children trying to maintain control – necessarily, and sometimes for their safety! But that makes it difficult for us to stand by and watch when our kids are struggling with something, or to allow them to make mistakes.

And yet, we do eventually have to hand over full control to our children – and that’s ultimately what we want too, however difficult it is to accept. And by trying to intervene and direct what our children do as teenagers, we might actually slow down the process of them reaching their own conclusions about what to do.

Advice for parents with teens struggling with their weight

Margaret’s other super piece of wisdom is that no one can be led into a lifestyle change without being ready for it, and that by pushing our children into certain courses of action, we might actually be doing more harm than good.

Have a listen to what she says about her conversations with her parents now, and how it’s helping them to understand what she and her siblings need.

Where to get help if you’re being bullied about your weight

As well as talking to the pastoral team at school, you might find useful advice on bullying from these websites aimed specifically at teenagers:

Where to listen:

You can find the episode in your usual podcast app, or if you prefer, you can listen online below, or through the podcast page.

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Subscribe to the Teenage Kicks podcast

Thank you so much for listening! Subscribe now to the Teenage Kicks podcast to hear about the new series when it begins. I’ll be talking to some fabulous guests about difficult things that happened to them as teenagers – including losing a parent, being hospitalised with mental health problems, and battling an eating disorder – and how they overcame things to move on with their lives.

I’d love to hear from you if you have any suggestions for future topics on the Teenage Kicks podcast. Contact me here, or you can find me on Instagram and Twitter at @iamhelenwills. I appreciate every message, and love to hear from my listeners.

I’d love it if you’d rate and review the podcast on iTunes too – it would really help other people to find it.

For information on your data privacy please visit Zencastr. Please note that I am not a medical expert, and nothing in this blog or in the podcast should be taken as medical advice.

Join me in the Teenage Kicks Facebook group!

If you’re a parent of teens it can be difficult to know where to go for advice, to vent, or just to talk. So I’ve made the Teenage Kicks Facebook group, for all parents of teenagers to chat in a safe space. It’s a private group and everyone in there will be a parent of teenagers.

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