BEING a healthy weight is important.

But there is something definitely unhealthy about being stigmatised for being overweight.

In these social media days, the challenges are even more heightened as people purport to enjoy the perfect lifestyle and use filter adjusted images.

The illusions only add to the pressure of people to improve their looks and while it might be good for their physical health, it can be damaging to their mental health.

Mums have revealed how being overweight made them feel guilty.

Leanne Beveridge runs the Parsons Heath Slimming World group in Colchester.

She lost more than four stones and now helps others to shed the pounds.

She is calling for a radical rethink over the way people who struggle with their weight are treated.

It comes after a survey by Slimming World and Netmums revealed 84 per cent of mums are self-critical because of their weight.

Leanne says the survey reveals a ticking timebomb of guilt which will only fuel obesity problems unless we take a radically different approach to weight management.

She said: “Many of us, whether we’re mums, dads or just dealing with day-to-day stress, feel under increasing pressure to achieve perfection in all areas of our lives.

“Celebrity culture, magazines, indeed our whole way of life is geared towards encouraging us to compare ourselves with other people and to only feel content when we think we’re doing better than others.

“However, this ultra-competitive society is not good for our wellbeing because we are setting ourselves impossible ideals.”

While the survey found the majority of mums believe pressure to look good comes from themselves, a significant 34 per cent blamed the media channels and 24 per cent blamed celebrities.

Leanne said: “Slimming World’s support has always focused on raising people’s self-esteem and self-confidence so members feel empowered to take control of their lives.

“By helping people to feel more positive about themselves and manage feelings of guilt and shame, we are much more likely to make changes and succeed with our weight loss in the long term and pass on new healthy habits to our families.”

Leanne said it was important to see the bigger picture for the sake of the individuals and the next generation.

“As long as mums, who are the main influencers around food and health in the majority of families, continue to feel under pressure and feel this bad about themselves, we won’t make significant inroads into tackling obesity,” she added.

Hollie Greig, who is mum to daughter, Olivia, joined the Parsons Heath Slimming World group in December 2018 and has lost more than five stones.

She used to weigh 16 stone and five pounds.

She says losing weight has not just made her a more confident mum, it has helped her provide a much healthier lifestyle for the family.

Hollie, 22, said: “I used to beat myself up about the fact I was overweight and I was setting a terrible example to my daughter.

“By losing weight through Slimming World’s healthy eating plan and changing the way I shop, cook and prepare family meals, as well as having more energy and being much more active I’m so much happier as a parent and partner.

“Because I feel great about myself and I get so much support and kindness from all the members at group, I’m a much more patient and calm at home, too.”