Ask Sam letter


To Sam

I feel fat compared to my friends

I know it sounds stupid but my freinds are really skinny and when I stand next to them I feel really fat.  I also do realise I eat a bit more than some but I swim for a competitive team and I train 5 times a week so why do I think I'm fat please help
Ask Sam



Thank you for your letter. What you’ve said doesn’t sound stupid at all. I’m glad you decided to write in, as I can hear this is something that’s been bothering you.

It’s normal to worry about the way you look. A lot of people worry about their appearance, even though they might not show it. It can be really difficult if you feel that you look different to your friends, but we all come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Your body can also change a lot through puberty and this can happen at different times for different people.

From your letter, I got the impression that you feel particularly unhappy when comparing yourself to your friends who are really skinny at the moment. I’m wondering if this is something that you’ve felt able to talk to your friends about? It can be natural for us to compare our body to people around us. It’s also really common for people to feel less confident about certain things to do with their appearance, whatever their weight. We all have a different idea about what is ‘ideal’ and there are a whole range of body shapes that people find beautiful.

Although many of us might compare ourselves to others, it can often be really unhelpful. Different bodies will usually have a different response to things like exercise and diet. There’s a great website called Teenage Health Freak that gives some more advice on body shapes.

I’m not medically trained, so I can’t give you any specific information about healthy eating and exercise. What I would say is that you’ve told me you eat a bit more than some of your friends and it sounds like you might need to, as your body is working hard because you do a lot of swimming. I imagine training 5 times a week requires a lot of energy and it’s important your body gets enough fuel to stay healthy and give you the energy needed to train at this level.

It could be helpful to look at some information on how you look on the Explore section of ChildLine. You can also talk about this more directly with a ChildLine counsellor by calling 0800 1111 for free, logging on for a 1-2-1 chat or sending an email. No matter what you’re going through, you don’t have to go through it alone.

I hope this letter has been helpful. Good luck with your swimming.

Take care


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