A group of five overweight men and women got together to discuss the relationships they have with their bodies – without wearing any clothing.
Kat, Jo, Corey, Sophie Mayanne and Jed appeared on BBC3’s new documentary on the topic, called The Naked Truth: Obesity.
The five men and women – including one photographer, one model and a comedian – talked candidly about interactions they’ve had with people in the street, their own insecurities and the importance of being present in your own body.
Thirty-one-year-old Jo, who founded her own plus-size clothing company and models, says that unlike a narrative often touted towards overweight people of a traumatic childhood, hers was “healthy [and] happy”.
At the age of 17 she caught glandular fever and put on weight as a result of staying at home.
I was eating sweets, crisps and chocolate to try to make myself feel better because I was stuck in the house all day.
Once I got better, I accepted my new size. I didn’t see my being overweight as a bad thing, and since then it’s fluctuated between 17st and 23st.
People channel their anger towards fat people and assume that if you’re big, you’re lazy.
Well, I’m not. I’m busy running a successful internet business seven days a week.
I do accept that obesity puts pressure on the NHS, but so do smoking, alcohol and drugs, and let’s not forget that some people are obese because of a medical condition.
There’s nothing morbid about me"
Comedian Jeb believes that being overweight is, in some ways, a part of his identity.
If I wasn’t fat, maybe I’d be a different person. Maybe I wouldn’t have developed a personality where I had to make people laugh to get them to like me – so maybe if I wasn’t fat, I wouldn’t be a comedian.
I think we all have an ideal body and this isn’t my ideal body…but it’s my body.
And photographer Sophie Mayanne adds that being overweight is not a marker for character - and criticises a common (and damaging) misconception: that overweight people are lazy.
I know I’m fat but I go to work every day, I pay my bills, I take my dog for a walk.
I think restricting yourself and denying yourself things makes you then feel worse about yourself and then that leads to bingeing and more overeating.
Your body and your experiences kind of lead you up to where you are today and then if you could change yourself then all of that history isn’t kind of present in your body.
Corey, who says he is “happiest” when dressing up as a drag queen, says that for him, the excessive eating does concern him.
He’s been limiting his portions with the use of a lunch box.
A yoghurt, a couple of sandwiches, a pack of crisps, a chocolate bar and a small cake.
Once that is gone, that is gone, I’m trying to limit what I have got.
Kant, 34, wanted to break the stereotype that overweight people couldn’t be physically active.
Working for a law company, she’s also a part-time fitness instructor.
We live in a judgemental world and there are some very negative opinions about body size.
She was often bullied at school for her teeth and her weight, and at the age of 16, resulting from a pregnancy, her partner to leave her and she comfort ate.
Within six weeks, I was a size 28. I’d eat a 24-pack of Cadbury’s Crème Eggs and drink six pints of milk without thinking about it. I hated what I saw in the mirror. My body had changed drastically.
Despite an “unhealthy relationship” with dieting which made her depressed and anxious, she was able to overcome it. Now she teaches or attends “four or five fitness classes a week”, and is much happier
You can watch the entire documentary on the BBC3 website.