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  Full interview: Geri Halliwell
Updated 25 September 2003, 17.23
Geri Halliwell talks to Lizo
Geri Halliwell spoke to Newsround's Lizo Mzimba about her experiences with her body image and her battle with eating disorders.


Being a celebrity - there's a lot of pressure to look good - what does that feel like?
I think there's always going to be that pressure when you're in front of the camera. When you're famous it's just an extreme version of reality and there's a pressure to look a certain way.
I think that's how it's been from the beginning of the ages - whether it was very fashionable to have that Rubens-style, very voluptuous look, or the 1920s, stick-thin, Charleston look.
We're all just trying to fit in and find ourselves, particularly when we're growing up.

Celebrities are often slammed for being bad examples - do you think that kind of thing is setting a bad example?
Geri Halliwell
I think it's really, really important to remember that most people in the public eye are human for a start and a lot of things that you read in the media get slightly misconstrued and manipulated.

You have always been very honest about your problems with eating disorders, why is that?
I think there's a well known quote - the truth sets you free. It's a very liberating thing - when you say this is who I am warts and all and then you can just get on with life. It's amazing.

Can you tell me a bit about your experiences and what you've learnt from them?
For me, it was in my nature to have that and I can't really explain why I have it. It's not really about food or the body shape, it's just a way of dealing or coping with life - that's just for me.
I really feel that what's really helped me is talking about it with other people who share the same addiction or affliction.
And knowing that I'm not alone in it and really just being gentle and not beating myself up for it.

How does the fame thing affect that?
Geri Halliwell
I am absolutely blessed and I'm very grateful for where I am today and I'd never choose to turn the clock back. There are certain things that I've been taught - they call it HALT: hungry, angry, lonely, tired.
If I ever get too hungry, that can trigger me, so I always make sure that I maintain really good, healthy eating habits - three meals a day. I never diet.
I never let myself get too angry, or eat on feelings, you know stuffing food down. I try not to do that. I find other ways to release my anger or to express myself.
Lonely - I'm never getting too lonely because it's the kind of disease where you might sit in front of the TV with three bags of biscuits, rather than communicate with the world.
Tired is the last one, I know that I've overfed myself trying to prop myself up because I'm exhausted. Those kind of things are ones to look out for.

When you were suffering from this, how did you see yourself and how did your friends see you?
For me it's a disease of the mind. Some days, it still happens to me.
What happens is that I feel fear about something, but rather than registering I feel fear about it, I go "I feel fat" and relay how I feel to my body and the way that I look at myself - it's completely distorted. It's taken time to really let go of that.

How do you feel now you've come out of the other side?
It's got so much better and I'm so grateful for the help that I've received and to have relief from it because it's an absolute nightmare to be trapped inside that sort of illness, and it is an illness.
It's a day by day thing for me - as long as I look after myself and take each day as it comes - that's all I can do really.

What were your friends saying to you through all this?
Regardless of what my friends and my family were saying to me, I wasn't listening.

What would you say to people who've seen celebrities like you looking beautiful on TV and in magazines and are thinking they want to be like them?
Some people are naturally thin and some people are naturally heavier. It doesn't mean that bigger is healthier, or much thinner is healthier, it's on an individual basis. What we see in magazines or in everyday life doesn't matter.
The most important thing is how you feel on the inside.

What would be your message to young people suffering with an eating disorder?
I got better because someone before me taught me how to eat properly. She put her hand in mine and, equally, for someone watching, I'm putting my hand in theirs. Learning from others is important when it's not working for yourself.

There's a lot in media at the moment about diets such as the Atkins, what do you think about diets like that?
I really don't want to pass judgement on any of those diets. I've had many years of yo-yo dieting, but thankfully for the last two and half years, I have not been on a diet.
My body has done what it's done. Diets don't work for me.

In your role as ambassador for the Eating Disorder Association, what do you hope to achieve?
I want to bring awareness to the fact that there is a place for people to go. Just like when people are bullied, they know to ring ChildLine, if you're having problems with food and body image, you can ring the EDA. There is a place to go.

If you or a friend have any concerns about eating disorders, the EDA Youth Helpline number is 0845 634 7650

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