Reality TV put pressure on Malvern teen to have 'ideal body type'

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Callum ShippImage source, Callum Shipp
Image caption,
Seeing reality TV and sports stars showing off their bodies was "overwhelming" for Callum Shipp

A teenager who lost 22kg due to an eating disorder said he felt pressure to have "the ideal body type" from seeing footballers and reality TV stars.

Callum Shipp, from Malvern, started losing weight when he was 16 when his life "just got quite stressful".

The 18-year-old said seeing sport and TV stars showing off their bodies was "so overwhelming".

He said he wanted other teenagers to learn from his experience.

Speaking to BBC Hereford & Worcester's Sons of Anxiety podcast, Mr Shipp said he had watched one season of Love Island and "found that quite difficult".

"Everyone on there has what I thought was the ideal body type and I was comparing myself against everyone on there and I don't look like that and I found that really difficult to deal with."

"I feel Love Island and shows like that and sport, when footballers take off their shirts when they score a goal or something, it is difficult for people who are going through eating disorders or anxiety and stuff like that."

ITV's digital controller defended Love Island's lack of body diversity in 2018 - describing the show as "aspirational".

While in 2019 the show's creative director said: "We are not saying that everyone that's in there is how you're supposed to look."

Image source, Callum Shipp
Image caption,
Callum Shipp said his friends had been incredibly supportive when he told them about his eating disorder

Mr Shipp was diagnosed with an eating disorder and received treatment for about 18 months, including a stay in hospital for three months.

"Having an eating disorder and being male is just something which isn't really spoken about, so I was expecting [when I spoke to friends], not really judgement but 'oh really?' and stuff like that."

"I just did not get that, I just felt so supported, so comfortable around everyone I told."

He has now created his own booklet Callum's Guide to Survival which he takes everywhere to support himself.

Mr Shipp said he also wrote down everything good that had happened to him each day "even if it was just that I got out of bed".

"Just the smallest thing to the best thing and it just keeps me from focusing on the negatives."

If you are affected by any of the issues in this story, you can talk in confidence to eating disorders charity Beat by calling its adult helpline on 0808 801 0677 or youth helpline on 0808 801 0711.

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