In the past few months I\’ve reassessed my life & come to the colnclusion that I need to change, sort myself out & get on track for a better future.

I\’m 16 & earlier this year I took my GCSE\’s. Although my results were good, I always felt I could do better. However, I was accepted into Sixth Form & now I\’m currently doing 3 AS levels. Psychology, Sociology & Photography. Which, I am finding to be somewhat hard & due to distractions surrounding my social life & other problems, tend to leave homework & revision to the last minute. I know I can do well. I just feel that I need to sort myself out in order to do so.

I\’m an extremely unconfident person, I\’m overweight, have spots & I\’m generally unhappy because of this. I\’ve tried to lose weight hundreds of times using different diets, but they last a few days before I have a day of binging, & I\’m put right back at the start. Each week is the same. I have a gym membership, but I don\’t often have enough confidence to go.

I also have moles on my face which cause me a lot of upset, I used to be bullied a lot because of them, but not it\’s not about the bullying, it\’s that I generally would like to have them removed to boost my confidence. I would like to know how to go about that & whether or not I would have to pay for it..

The general issues are, my weight, my moles, my confidence & my lack of determination & motivation in terms of school work & weight loss.

I really only have a couple of friends, to whom I\’m very close to. & they are very supportive, but sometimes it\’s as if they don\’t really see my problems as that big. I used to self harm because of my low self esteem & family problems, however I overcame that problem a while ago & haven\’t yet reduced myself to that again, & frankly I don\’t plan to.

I know that there are a lot of problems I need to address, but in order to grow I need to help myself. I am writing to you to ask for any advice you can offer me, I am interested in, losing weight, getting healthier, having my moles removed, motivating myself into doing my school work better & boosting my confidence & gaining my self esteem & self respect back.

I appreciate your time & would be grateful for any advice you can offer.

The problem with targeting several areas of your life you’d like to change is that it feels insurmountable. All those disparate and complex issues you’d like to address – it’s like trying to pack a balloon into a matchbox. You cram one bit in and another pops out.

You have a superbly analytical mind and have admirably marshalled the aspects of your life you’d like to address. But suspect since you feel overwhelmed you can’t see how organised and controlled you already are, and could be. And you can’t see that the only way to change is to get SMART. SMART stands for;


You have only one specific aim in your list – getting your moles removed. So let’s start with that. Look at how many you have, their size, where they are, how they effect you. I can’t see you so I’m not sure what you mean; whether you’re talking small beauty spots or large brown disfigurements. I too have moles. My husband has always thought them cute – he once bought me a very expensive necklace specifically designed to highlight the one on my throat. I don’t think I liked that mole when I was a teen – I’d have hated to have missed out on that necklace!

You do need to consider whether an increase in self confidence may preclude the need for removal. What I’d suggest is having a talk with your doctor. At 16, you have it right to any discussion to be confidential. You could have them removed on the NHS if your doctor feels they are a medical risk or effect your psychological well-being. But it would help to talk them through with someone objective who might help you see whether having them removed would have a measurable and realistic result. After all, that some idiots bullied you saying it was because of your moles doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them only that they discovered a button to push that made you jump.

If you want to lose weight you have to apply the SMART rule to that too. choose exactly how much you’d like to use – be both specific and realistic. No point in wishing to be 6 stone which is both ridiculous and unachievable. Then look at how you can do it. Only one way – more calories out than in. Which means, not a stupid faddy diet but healthy eating and…yes, EXERCISE. Again, I don’t know what your gym is like. Mine is run by a total mensch (look it up!) who makes sure everyone feels included and safe. Members are all ages, all sizes, all sexes. If no-one is giving you hassle then you have no reason to feel embarrassed at your gym – saying you don’t have confidence is just an excuse to take the easy way out. So pull your socks up and get going. Enlist your family in a healthy eating pattern – it will make all of you feel better. And one slip doesn’t mean you can throw it all overboard – again, that’s just an excuse. But the main issue is that you have to make your goals SMART for you to able to keep to them.

The school work is the same, really. Make plans, get organised but don’t expect to be A+ immediate -it all takes time. If you’re taking two steps forward even if you get knocked back a pace you’re still advancing – and that’s what you need to do to feel in control.

You’re capable of it – I know you are. Enlist some support and help, from teachers, friends and family. But recognise you’re the one who can do it, and you’re the one who both should…and will.

Mail me again in six months time and let me now what progress you’re making. I won’t expect you to be two stone lighter, three marathons fitter or top of the class. I will, however, anticipate that you’ll feel more confident, more in control and some way along towards your realistic goals. Best of luck!

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