Thursday, June 11, 1998 Published at 18:11 GMT 19:11 UK
Health: Latest News
Fighting the shape police
The Taking Shape campaign is featured on BBC Local Radio
"Everyone who writes about me has to write 'larger than life', 'tubby', 'hefty', 'weighty'. They never just say Vanessa," she said.
"I am on television. Everyone can see what I look like. I am on there looking fat. I do not need to be described as fat every single time people write about me."
She hopes taking part in the campaign will help larger women feel better about themselves. She advises: "So don't just sit there and let the shape police tell you what to do. You can do anything you want to do. For goodness sake, the best of times is now."
Prejudice against fat people is widespread. The stereotyped view is that fat people eat cakes all day and are lazy. Sometimes this can affect their chances of getting a job.
There have been several high profile anti-discrimination cases in recent years. Discrimination can lead to a downward spiral of low self-esteem and depression, which can have long-term effects.
Women are particularly prone to comfort eating when they are depressed, often getting caught up in a cycle of binge eating and starvation.
Many get hooked on crash dieting to shake off weight and some become obsessed by shedding the pounds. The most important thing is to develop a healthy attitude to food.
It is not necessary to give up cakes and chocolate for good. As long as these are rationed and seen as occasional treats rather than everyday necessities, they can be part of a healthy diet. A more balanced diet keeps off the weight better than any amount of crash dieting.
BBC Local Radio is running a series of information items as part of the Taking Shape campaign.
If you'd like advice on how to lose weight successfully, you can also call the BBC ActionLine on 0800 888806. There is a free pack of very useful information, which includes tips on how to establish a healthier eating pattern, some specially developed recipes and a free fridge magnet to help you stay on course.