Measuring Up

I wonder if our slightly green tinted glasses distort reality.

I do what I can to stay in shape, I eat healthily and exercise every day and, for the most part, I am OK with what I see in the mirror. I sometimes find myself looking wistfully (and with the tiniest amount of envy) at the beautiful 20 somethings but I’m sensible enough to realise that I’m not going to have their perfect bodies and flawless skin at my age. No amount of time spent at the gym and no amount of money spent on moisturizers will turn back the clock. That said, I’m a UK size 10 and a minor investment in botox and dermal fillers has ensured that my face doesn’t look like it needs ironing just yet so, all in all not too shabby.

Until I walk into Monaco, which is about 20 minutes from where I live. I swear to God, there are more beautiful women per square metre there than anywhere else in the world! Young, tall, flawlessly made up and with an amazing, effortless elegance. As I usually walk to Monaco, to avoid the traffic and the notoriously small parking spaces, I dress in trainers and workout clothes and am invariably, unless it’s between January and March, sweaty by the time I arrive. I also love to listen to music when I walk so my ensemble is topped off with a pair of bluetooth headphones which are incredibly practical but make me look a bit like a cyberman. CybermanFaced with the visions that float around me trailing clouds of perfume and very small dogs dressed in small pink dog jumpers I can’t help but feel a little inadequate. beautiful woman tiny dog

I guess I’m not the only woman that feels like that from time to time, the fashion, makeup and cosmetic surgery industries wouldn’t exist if I was, but I do wonder why we put ourselves under so much pressure to look good? Moreover I wonder if our slightly green tinted glasses distort reality. Of course there are some women who are naturally beautiful but many of our expectations of ourselves and our appearance come from what we see in newspapers, magazines and, of course, online. When someone has been dressed, made-up, beautifully lit and possibly airbrushed of course they’re going to look their best but, see that person without all those things and it’s a different story. They may well still be beautiful but it’s more real, more attainable if you will.measuring-up

The pictures below show celebs with and without make-up; I give them to you as a gift for the next time you’re beating yourself up because, no matter how hard you try, you can’t stop finding yourself wanting when you look in the mirror.

As Sophia Lauren famously said “Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful”. I’ll be sure to remember that when my hair’s plastered to my head with sweat, my face is red with exertion and I’ve just remembered that I’m wearing the leggings that go all baggy around the arse after about 10 minutes ;O)

Instead I’ll leave you with this quote which reminds me that focusing on how we act towards others is far more important than how we appear to them:

A beautiful face

Living it Large

one of the women will likely be an object of derision and the other is modelling on the catwalk in a fashion show

We are constantly being advised that it’s not healthy to be overweight. It’s true, if you are obese you are more likely to suffer from all sorts of health related issues such as diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure and breathing problems. That said, if you are underweight you may end up with a weak immune system and fragile bones so a happy medium is always the ideal.

I think that we can all agree that neither of these images presents a picture of perfect health and yet one of the women will likely be an object of derision and the other is modelling on the catwalk in a fashion show.

Around 725,000 people in the UK have an eating disorder and, in America more than 35% of people are considered obese. How have we managed to create a culture where people have so many body issues? Many say that the media is to blame; if people are looking for body images to aspire to it’s pretty difficult to live up to something which has been airbrushed and digitally enhanced. Essentially you are on a hiding to nothing right from the start – if you try change your body to copy an image which is not even real your self-esteem is bound to suffer. So why not just make the best of what you’ve got and be happy with that? It would make life so much easier.

 If you’re carrying a few extra pounds you might have got the idea in your head that you can’t go out and exercise because people will laugh or tease you – so what? What does it say about them? People’s negative comments usually stem from their own insecurities; how many people will make nasty comments about another person when they’re on their own? Very few, usually its one person in a group who will say something in attempt to get recognition from the others. The only reason they do that is that they don’t believe in their own self-worth i.e. they don’t feel that giving information about themselves will be of interest to their ‘friends’ so they look for someone else to target and deflect attention. Ridicule of another person never comes from a good place. Rudeness

If you’re happy with yourself and the way that you look no words will ever be able to hurt you; if you’re not happy with the way that you look there are things you can do to change that so don’t give up and, if you fall, get up and try again because it will all come together in the end.

If you’ve decided that you want to change something about your body look at exercise types which are going to be low impact such as swimming, walking or yoga as you will have less risk of injury and you will see noticeable improvements in a relatively short space of time which will give you the encouragement you need to continue. If your aim at the start is to run 26 miles it will be easy to feel defeated and there will be a bigger chance that you’ll give up; if your aim is to walk a mile and you achieve it after 2 weeks how amazing will that feel? You’ll have a great sense of achievement and then will want to push on to the next mile and the next. As with anyone who has taken the decision to up their exercise, you will begin to feel so much better about yourself that you will undoubtedly want to make other important life style changes. Before you know it, you will have a whole new wonderful you!

Everyone should be allowed to make decisions about their health and their body without interference and, if they are happy with the results – super! The ultimate that we can achieve in life is to wake up every day smiling and without a care in the world, secure in the knowledge that we are exactly as we want to be. Thin, fat, old, young, tall or short – we are all truly beautiful when we smile.