Hi I’m Kyle and I’m 16 year old. I joined SHINE a couple of years ago not long after my sister had joined, it was like a brother and sister rivalry to see who could lose the most weight. At the time I was really big and chubby. I didn’t enjoy things like PE at school because I wasn’t physically fit enough to do the things like running with my friends and I tired very easy. I hated myself because of my size and the fact that I was called fat on a frequent basis. At 14 years old I was a 37 waist, which for my age and height I was huge. I could only wear men’s clothes and I couldn’t remember ever being a normal size like my friends. At the time I couldn’t understand why I was like that as I played football for a club and school, but SHINE taught me that it was what I ate that made me into what I was. I often ate junk and my portions were very big and now at 16 I have smaller portions than when I was younger. Through all of this my confidence sank and I began suffering with anxiety which I also had to address and SHINE helped me to do this.
Eating correct portions and doing regular exercise helped me lose weight in a healthy way. It took a lot of hard work with the training and trying new foods but I did it and I am really happy for it. Even though I have lost weight now there is still the struggle of resisting things like chocolate and I still have to work at keeping a healthy weight. I am a 32 waist and for my height I am in the correct weight category.
I have just completed my training to become a Community Sports Leader and I now continue to attend SHINE to help teach other young people about physical activity and how this helps to lose weight. I know what it’s like to be in their shoes and I really enjoy my new role. I know how hard it is for young people to take courage to join in physical activity programmes because I hated PE at school but if I can do it, then anyone can. Believe me it’s well worth it.
Kath says: when Kyle first joined us he had no confidence and he rarely went out with his friends. It has been a pleasure to see him develop over this last year and for him to use his experiences to help others. After completing his Sports Leader Award, Kyle has helped deliver a variety of sports sessions with co-facilitators including football, gym circuits, boxercise and swimming sessions. He has also increased in fitness himself during this time and is an excellent role model. Well done Kyle.
My name is Lily Longley and that is me in the photo. I am fifteen years old. I started at Shine a couple of years ago after I had started to self harm. I had no confidence and was bullied and was pretty miserable with my life. My parents thought it was best to take me to the doctors for help. I was placed on a waiting list for CAHMS despite my best efforts not to be. Then my mum found Shine. I took part in a 12 week course where I gained confidence in talking to others and lost weight as well as learn about the amount of portions I should be eating. I began therapy and they were prepared to listen to what had been going on in my head. I used poetry and journals to help me express how I was feeling and I didn’t need to hurt myself any more as I gained more control over my life. I was comfortable there and I still am today.
Over time my anxiety improved until it suddenly dropped again last year. I was going through a relapse. I did not know this at the time so as you can imagine, I got very worried and began doubting myself again. When a relapse was explained to me, it reassured me what was happening and that my feelings were normal. I just had to learn how to be in control again and manage my negative feelings. I was offered a place back into counselling with a counsellor I felt really comfortable with her and trusted her, and again this helped me realise I had the strength to work through my difficult times.
Thanks to Shine I am more confident and have better self-esteem. Shine also helped me lose enough weight to be classed as “normal” for my age and I have learnt to like myself again. Because of the help I have received at Shine, I had the confidence to perform my Drama in front of parents and a year group at school and I received an A*. I find it a lot easier now to talk to new people. I have become a buddy at Shine and I have tried to help other children who are in similar situations to myself. I have just been appointed as Chair of the Young Peoples Management Committee at Shine and we are fighting for more funding to keep our programmes going. I have taken part in a DVD for professionals to try to get them to understand us more and I have met our local MP Paul Blomfield with other young people to ask the government to put more resources into courses like ours, but we have had no luck so far.
I hope my story gives others hope that with good support change can happen and I hope young people reading this will take a risk and ask for help. Obesity is a killer and it not only leads to serious health risks but it also affect us emotionally and can make our lives miserable. If it wasn’t for Shine I wouldn’t have been able to have the confidence to do any of these things and if it wasn’t for Children In Need and the funding we get we wouldn’t have Shine. Thank you on behalf of all our young people and volunteers.