Q: My family moved and I just started secondary school. My new classmates are not very nice. They are mean and make fun of me because they say I’m fat and ugly. I try to exercise, but whenever they tease me I just want to go home and eat more chocolate ice cream. I feel very sad. I hate everything and everyone. I hate being fat but I don’t know what to do.

— Anonymous, 13 years old

Hello Anonymous,

Moving and starting new chapters in life is a constant, we are all faced with challenges whenever things or situations changed. I do not have enough information about you, such as whether you are a boy or a girl, how is your family like, what is your height and weight etc so I cannot ascertain your BMI hence I will answer you based on the information you provide.

You cannot control what other people will say or do to you, but you can control how you receive, perceive and respond to it. So, your new classmates can say anything to you about you, you do not have to believe them and react negatively towards those criticism. When you react negatively, such as eating more ice cream, you are just allowing them to irritate you and then do things that will worsen the situation.

This formula that I will teach you will help you to deal with your responses better.

Something Happens = Thoughts + Feelings + Action = Result

The next time something happens, take note of your thoughts and feelings and then, what you do about it. Write them down as soon as possible. Then, when more calm and collected, look at your thoughts, feelings and actions again and then ask yourself, ‘What can I do to think/feel/act differently?’ Be creative and adopt a positive spirit in answering this question. Write the new thought, feelings and actions you would rather have, that will be considered smart and then cancel off the old ones. Look at it again and remind yourself of this new intelligent responses.

If you are indeed really overweight (by indication of calculating your BMI), talk to your parents about it and ask them to help you find ways and help to lose some weight so you can maintain at a healthy weight range.

Remember, other people’s opinion of you need not become your reality!