'Fat equals bad is not a fact': Comedian Sofie Hagen on how she learned to be happy fat
Point of View is an ITV News series where we invite people to share their life experiences and what they've learned from them.
Danish comedian and author Sofie Hagen told ITV News how she banished the negative voices in her head to proudly say she's happy fat.
Before she took to the stage as a stand-up comedian, a young Sofie Hagen was told by almost every adult she encountered that she needed to be put on a diet.
Her instinct at the age of eight was to accept that her body was "suddenly wrong" which led to a decade of hating her image.
The anxiety she had over her appearance forced her to avoid public spaces and shy away from the camera.
In fact, the only photos she recalls from her teenage years are with boyband Westlife.
She said: "I didn't really live for a decade of my life because I was just waiting for that one day when I would be acceptable enough to kind of be alive."
"Any kind of healthy relationship that I could have had with my body just got ruined by all of this idea of shame and how it was meant to look," she added.
According to a 2017 study by Dove, nine out of 10 girls in the UK have put their health at risk through methods such as restrictive eating because of low body esteem.
And for Sofie, it wasn't until she was in her early twenties that she ditched the diets and self-doubt.
"What worked for me is realising that fat equals bad is not a fact," she said.
But Sofie is still subject to hateful comments.
As recent as a few weeks ago, she recalled a stranger bumping into her and loudly saying 'Ew, I touched it' to her face.
Where she once would have found the remark hurtful, Sofie has now embraced her weight and even jokes about it on stage.
The confidence boost she received through her body positivity journey 'shook her into existence' and helped her find her feet as a performer.
"I started doing all of the things I thought I should have to be thin to do," she said.
Which now includes opening up about her story in her first book 'Happy Fat'.
In her book she shares tips on how to navigate your way in a world that "more or less just hates fat people", with advice from a range of people who have also been on their own journeys.
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