Speaking from experience, Jen Atkin said that when she was given the label ‘obese’ she considered it as motivation.
The 26-year-old from Grimsby, Lincolnshire, went on to add that people trying to lose weight shouldn’t be too sensitive to phrases that eating disorder experts say could ‘be harmful’.
Jen told the BBC in a recent interview: “People are offended way too easily these days. I think hiding terms like ‘burn some calories’ and ‘let’s burn off last night’s pizza’ is actually going to have a really adverse effect on people.
“I think it’s going to encourage people to eat more calories and not keep track of what they’re eating and therefore end up overweight or obese. It’s just avoiding the issue completely.”
Jen, who signed up to her local gym and lost eight stone in two years, said such terms were used as motivation in gyms and exercise classes.
She continued: “Trust me, I have been fat-shamed in the past and this is not fat-shaming. Calories are in food and we need calories to survive.
“We need to educate people on healthy living.”
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But Belinda Barnett of Anorexia and Bulimia Care disagreed with Jen, saying those phrases could be a trigger term for those with eating disorders.
She said: “Language like ‘burn those calories’ suggest that we have to do some type of compensation for the calories we eat and I think that can feed into feelings of guilt and shame around eating.”
This isn’t the first time Jen Atkin has tried to promote healthier living. Just after she was crowned Miss GB, she launched a campaign for ‘clearer’ food packaging to making it easier for people to shop.
She explained how the labelling should be ‘eye catching’ and ‘obvious’ for the average person who, according to her, isn’t educated about nutrition.
At the time, she said: “If things were obvious and clear then it would be so much easier for people to eat healthily and lose weight.
“People are too busy to spend time dissecting ingredients and educating themselves about nutrition, they could just do with a little helping hand.
“It’s 100 percent something I could have benefited from when I was struggling with my weight.”