The health and fitness column: Ignore those airbrushed celebrity pictures – be happy with your body!

By Cara Quinn

How many times have you looked at glossy magazines with scantily clad girls… bums like peaches, washboard abs and Barbie busts?

How many times have you thought, ‘If only I looked like that I’d be perfect… life would be perfect’?

Well folks, here’s a surprising piece of news… it is a massive FIB! Hours of airbrushing, touching-up and lighting have created these ‘perfect’ models, not good diet and fitness. Here’s a little perk… even models suffer from the horrid curse of cellulite!

Just this morning I was watching an advert which featured a beautiful, flawless, 34-24-34 woman and what was she advertising?… Cream Crackers.

The media use our craving for an unattainable body to sell their products but we are so bombarded with these images that we now deem them normal and see ourselves as abnormal as we don’t fit into that mould.

However, all you have to do is look at the ‘circle of shame’ that graces the same magazines, where we get a guilty pleasure in getting a glimpse of celebrities’ wobbly bits/cellulite/stretch-marks, to see that they are, in fact, just as ‘abnormal’ as us.

What we need to do is destroy the dangerous myth of ‘perfection’ that has turned our lovely ladies into a nation of self-conscious wrecks , shunning their bikinis in favour of Victorian all-in-one bathing suits, hiding their shapely legs in tights thicker than George Bush.

Instead of looking in the mirror and thinking, ‘I’m never going to look like that’ we need to say to ourselves, ‘I don’t want to look like that, I want to look like me’. This must be the first step; to be realistic. If you are not happy in your body, do something about it but don’t get disheartened by gluing your face onto Paris Hilton’s body and sticking it to fridge door.

Guaranteed you will get more acquainted with the inside of your fridge than before your diet. You are setting yourself up for failure from the word go.

I, myself, was victim to such thinking for years, with many of my teenage years spent dreaming up ways of achieving the body type that I saw in magazines.  What is interesting is that the more I pained to look like the model ideal the bigger I got. 

Then one day I stumbled across a picture of my 18 year old self and thought, ‘Wow I looked really good’ but I remember at the time of the picture being taken being riddled with self-conscious and self-deprecating thoughts. 

That day I was converted to an ‘I am proud to be me’ advocate and as a result of this new positive way of thinking I was able to achieve a healthy, strong and slimline figure through sensible diet, exercise and patience.

So, root through those old photos and find a picture where you looked and felt you’re most fabulous: this is your new goal so stick this up instead of a stick-insect. Remember, this picture is how you WANT to look, not how you SHOULD look. It is a slight change in your attitude that makes a big difference to your success.

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