Minister opens up about her body image hell

 

TOURISM Minister Kate Jones has detailed her heartbreaking life-long struggle with body image and the "enormous pressure" she feels to not be overweight in the public eye.

In a revealing interview with The Courier-Mail, Ms Jones has admitted to comfort eating due to stress and fretting about being "fat".

"It's hard, but when you get to 40 you have to start accepting things about yourself - I say to my husband I have fat legs and he says, no, you have strong muscles," she said. "I have made a point of not saying I'm fat in front of the kids (Thomas, 9, and Grace, 5) as I don't want them to have body issues.

"My whole life it's been there, this image that you have to be tall, skinny and have amazingly huge boobs.

"I have very short legs and am very conscious of it, and I know there are a whole heap of outfits I will never be able to wear, including shorts."

Ms Jones said as a teenager she had friends with bulimia and anorexia but "never had enough strength" to force herself to vomit or stop eating.

Minister Kate Jones talks about her personal battle during her younger days and body image. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT
Minister Kate Jones talks about her personal battle during her younger days and body image. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT

"I have not had an eating disorder but I've always struggled to have a healthy relationship with my body and with food," she said.

"Social media has made it worse, this pressure on people to be thin, and I was looking on Instagram the other night, and thought, 'Oh my gosh, this doesn't make you feel good about yourself, put the phone down'.

"There is enormous pressure being in the public eye to not be overweight or project the wrong body image. I've never been skinny and I'm not long limbed, and never will be."

Ms Jones said she grew up in a single parent household with food used as a reward.

"Having all brothers, even to get food was a challenge and I've definitely struggled ever since with not eating too much," she said.

"It has taken me to (age) 40 to not use food as an emotional reward. I have to eat out a lot for work, so I look for shortcuts and try to have just one proper meal a day and not comfort eat."

Ms Jones said society placed enormous pressure on people to look a certain way.

"There is huge stress on women and girls, and the challenge for me now, looking at it from the prism of being a mother, is about projecting your true value," she said.

"And it's not just females - there is increasing pressure on teenage boys to look like actor Chris Hemsworth and be seen literally as gods.

"It's all about how many abs they have."

 

Minister Kate Jones says Queensland has the highest obesity rates in the country. Pic Annette Dew
Minister Kate Jones says Queensland has the highest obesity rates in the country. Pic Annette Dew

 

Ms Jones said more than 30 per cent of the Queensland budget was spent on health, in particular fighting against obesity, amounting to "an opportunity lost" in other spheres such as education.

She is doing her bit to instil healthy habits in her children by not allowing soft drink in the house.

"As a parent, you can't control everything, but you can control what you bring into the home," she said.

"Queensland has the highest obesity rates in the country, so we have to start talking about how we change that."

"But how do you have that conversation without 'fat shaming' and for people without options, who were brought up in a household where they weren't given healthy choices?"

The Tourism Minister has spent much of her adult life in the media spotlight after first being elected to state parliament in 2006. She held the seat of Ashgrove until the 2012 election when Campbell Newman won the seat, sweeping to power as Premier.

But just three years later, in January 2015, Ms Jones became a kingslayer, dethroning the Premier and ending his long political career.

She has held the seat, including after a redistribution which saw the electorate renamed Cooper, ever since. She controversially gained the Cross River Rail portfoilo last month after it was stripped from Deputy Premier Jackie Trad amid an integrity scandal.

 

 

 

 



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