Woman shares what it was like to be featured on BBC show

When Barbara Glynn applied to be on BBC’s Who You Calling Fat? she did it to change people’s perceptions and raise awareness of mental health surrounding obesity.

Picture: BBC
Barbara standing fourth from left
Picture: BBC Barbara standing fourth from left

She said: “On the whole I think fat people are given the label as lazy/thick/unable to hold down a job, find a decent partner, have children.

“I wanted to change people’s perceptions on this. There are many reasons why someone is overweight. Genetics play a part, childhood trauma, eating disorders, habits are just some.”

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The programme first aired on BBC2 in October, but is available now on BBC iPlayer.

Barbara modelling for Topsy Curvy

It focuses on nine people who live with obesity, or who choose to call themselves fat, they move in together to explore what it means to be larger bodied in Britain today.

Barbara, 50, said: “I am very proud to have been apart of this documentary, for it to have won an international award for best docuseries I think shows the dedication for the program shown from Love productions.

“The program shows many extremes, from me who hated my body and would NEVER wear a sleeveless top, I still won't, to Victoria and Courtney who are very body positive and are comfortable to 'let it all hang out' to Del who lost over ten stone having surgery.”

Appearing in the programme showed Barbara that rather than having bad habits surrounding food for the last 45 years she actually had an eating disorder, something she is now addressing through therapy.

After the show first aired she admits she assumed that she would get messages of hate via social media.

“But I couldn’t have been more wrong,” the Barnham resident said.

“Friends were texting on the first night saying have I looked at all the comments about me on Twitter, I signed up and was in tears from all the positive, lovely, genuine comments I received, and still do.”

Since the programme aired she has had several invitations from therapists, a weight loss surgeon and Topsy Curvy, a plus size clothing company who promote body positivity.

She said: “I have been in therapy for a few months now and this has helped with my body confidence, so much so I finally said yes to the photo shoot in Manchester courtesy of TopsyCurvy.

“I had a blast, it was a fab day. When I saw the photos i burst into tears then heard myself saying 'WOW they don't look that bad'.

“I always hid when a camera was around, I hated my photo taken, I have missed out on so much worrying what other people’s reaction would be to me if I took the kids swimming or a theme park, so to protect them and myself I didn't do all the 'normal things' a family would do.

“I don't regret much in my life to date but this I definitely do, although my kids, who are now 30 and 21, tell me they didn't feel they missed out.”

Barbara has also lost weight and signed up to the 1.7million step challenge for Diabetes UK, walking 18,500 a day for three months.

“This is something I would never have thought of doing before the program, thinking I would fail so I wouldn’t even attempt it,” Barbara, who has type 2 diabetes, said.

It started on July 1 and finishes at the end of September.

Her advice to anyone who wants to address their weight is: "Get your mind in a good place first (telling me to eat less move more really isn't helpful when you feel so ashamed of yourself) then you can concentrate on weight loss, but not by fad diets but by eating a balanced diet and take regular exercise if you can.

"I meet up with friends for walks/cycle rides/swimming/exercise classes or the gym. I don't focus on the exercise more about socialising with friends.

"I hope anyone who watches the program comes away with a slightly different thought about why people 'allow' themselves to get so overweight, if it was just a case of eat less move more we would all be a healthy weight, wouldn't we?"

To donate to Barbara’s charity page, visit step.diabetes.org.uk/pages/babsSeries one of Who Are You Calling Fat? Is available on BBC iPlayer

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