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Poll: Would You Trade One Year for the Perfect Body?

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/24/2013 12:00 PM   :  265 comments   :  37,149 Views

See More: news, body image, poll,
Let's face it: Losing weight can be hard work. It requires patience, dedication, and the drive to make permanent healthy changes in your life. It's not always fun to head to the gym instead of watching your favorite show on T.V., or turning down the French fries at dinner and opting for a side of veggies instead. Those who make healthy choices are able to look at the bigger picture and know that these choices aren't always easy, but will leave them better off in the long run. Knowing that it is hard work, would you be willing to trade time to get the body you've always wanted? A new survey says some women are willing to make that trade.

The survey of 320 young British women found that 16% would trade one year of their life for the ideal weight and body shape. Most of the women surveyed said that they were unhappy with their looks. Even though the majority was normal or underweight, 79% said they wanted to lose weight. 93% said they had negative thoughts about their bodies within the past week. To me, that's sad but not surprising. Given the amount of pressure so many women feel to live up to some perfect "ideal" that may or may not even be attainable, it's no wonder that women are hard on themselves for falling short.

"Many women were also willing to make other sacrifices for the ideal body, the researchers found. About 13 percent said they'd give up $8,138 a year in salary in return for their perfect body. Eight percent would give up a promotion at work, and 6 percent would give up earning a degree with honors. Nine percent were willing to give up time with friends and partners, while 7 percent said they'd trade in time with their family. Another 7 percent said they would sacrifice health to reach their ideal weight."

I'm not going to pretend that I am completely happy with my body and wouldn't change a few things here or there if I could. But I've learned to accept that I am going to age and my body is never going to look exactly like it did before I had kids. As long as I'm living a healthy life, being a good person and a positive example for my kids, that's what matters most to me. I wouldn't trade one minute of time with them to look "perfect". To me, it's just not worth it.

What do you think?


Would you be willing to trade one year of your life for the perfect body?



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Comments

  • 265
    I would give up a year because to me, the rest of the years of my life with that body would be happy years & not miserable ones. It would be years that I would do MORE with my family and be able to actually play with my kids. I would be able to feel comfortable at the water park and then I would take my kids there more often. It's all about quality not quantity. Those years with that body would be better then living one extra year miserable in a body I hate. - 12/8/2013   3:03:34 PM
  • 264
    Yes, because I'd probably have more years from which to give up one. - 12/8/2013   4:14:40 AM
  • 263
    I see this question as A Year of my Life as far as completely giving up unhealthy habits and to start working out... not as literally giving up a year of living, or die early, to lose weight. I think people are interpreting the question differently. As far as the family/friends part, I would never do that, but isn't that what they are doing on shows like Biggest Loser?! They leave their families to become better. As far as health goes, isn't that what people do by taking weight loss pills? This article does not surprise me at all. And like I said, it all depends on interpretation because I didn't mean giving up a year of life the way that some people mean it. - 9/16/2013   12:42:07 PM
  • SCHUYLERDARE
    262
    I would give up many things for a healthy body but the " perfect" body is not worth giving up there things. - 9/3/2013   3:41:36 PM
  • 261
    I think I have spent more than a year over my lifetime planning meals, looking for healthy choices on menus, being physically active. my body is not perfect, but its mine. There are no short cuts to worthwhile goals. The effort makes the sucess all the more sweet. - 9/2/2013   12:14:08 PM
  • 260
    I said undecided because it all depends on how you interpret this one! In all honesty, I "give up" all the time I spend working out, planning foods, preparing healthy options, studying and Sparking. You might say I already have given up a year to this effort. Is my body "perfect" in terms of air-brushed model perfection? Heck no... but that's not my goal! My goal is healthy, not external looks. And for that... darn right I'll give up "whatever it takes" and count it well worth the trade... because I feel good, inside and out. - 9/2/2013   5:40:04 AM
  • 259
    If we gave up a year to be 'perfect', wouldn't we miss all the lessons learned and all the joy gained? If we didn't appreciate how we attained 'perfection' how would we know how to maintain it? How would your mental and spiritual side have changed? Or would it have? Would we continue to pick on our perceived flaws and never attain that peaceful contentment with who we are? - 9/1/2013   5:51:10 PM
  • 258
    If you are willing to give up a year of your life for a fit and healthy body, then let that year start today! With diet and exercise changes by next year at this time you will feel much better. The benefit to this plan is that you can still be alive for the entire year that you "give up". Really you should "give up" on old habits that hold you back from living your best life. - 9/1/2013   5:09:47 PM
  • TURTLELADY56
    257
    i am willing to do the work and learn the life lessons....not willing to miss this oppertunity - 9/1/2013   4:25:01 PM
  • TURTLELADY56
    256
    i am willing to do the work and learn the life lessons....not willing to miss this oppertunity - 9/1/2013   4:25:01 PM
  • LDCRITT
    255
    I feel I AM giving up a year of my life to get a healthy weight and body. I have started going to the gym 3 times a week. Water aerobics class, strength training, then 30 minutes cardio. That's 3.5 hours x 3 days weekly x 52 weeks per year. Then, I'm on Spark People for articles to help me in my efforts, tracking my food on the food journal. Easily, 1/2 hour daily x 365 days per year. Grocery shopping and food preparation to cook at home versus going out to eat or going through the drive-through adds time devoted to my trek. So, yes I do feel like I'm giving up a year of my life - but I'm doing it willingly to become a better and healthier me. - 9/1/2013   12:20:07 PM
  • 254
    If I'm 102, have alzheimer's, receiving around the clock medical care, etc. Then perhaps I could give up 103 to have a lifetime with a perfect body. (But it would have to be a perfect body and healthy 24-7 no matter what I do.) - 9/1/2013   11:58:46 AM
  • 253
    He's my thing: I am overweight. Not to the point of being dangerously overweight, but 160 lbs on a 5 foot frame is not healthy. Statistically, I will live 10-14 years longer if I lose this weight. So would it be worth it to me for that figure to become 9-14 years instead? Totally. And I would definitely got for it if the fat melted off overnight. That would be awesome. Because I haven't lost weight in weeks. - 9/1/2013   9:59:19 AM
  • 252
    I think this is an interesting topic, ripe for discussion. As Rebecca LM said: "I'm working hard to get a great body AND extra years" - 9/1/2013   9:48:52 AM
  • 251
    Comment deleted by poster. - 9/1/2013   8:43:52 AM
  • 250
    The key to losing weight, honestly, is to believe in yourself - and that takes self-love, which is a problem for anyone that has a weight issue. It seems to be a vicious cycle.

    I decided that I was going to love myself, for WHO I AM, no matter what the number said. And once I started doing that, I started to eat right and exercise regularly, and the weight's been flying off since. It's because I am WORTH that - that's self-love. - 9/1/2013   7:06:19 AM
  • 249
    I don't think we have to give up a year of our life for a healthy body -- only bad habits that we have accumulated to be in our current state. I think we need to change our bad habits to good habits and to open our minds even perhaps wake up to some of the bad habits we don't even know we have. - 5/24/2013   10:30:27 AM
  • 248
    I'm working hard to get a great body AND extra years. - 5/20/2013   8:17:27 AM
  • 247
    I'm willing to give up anything on my food plan except Paleo since that is what is working for me. So no more wheat or other starchy flours, no more dairy, no cereals, no sugar or sweeteners or additives of any kind. Real food is all I am eating I am willing to give up everything else. - 5/17/2013   5:34:22 PM
  • 246
    No Way!!! - 5/12/2013   10:36:42 AM
  • EDWINZ
    245
    NEVER, there is no such thing as perfect in this life. Media brainwashing has deluded to many people and caused so much harm. Life is to precious to give away. - 4/30/2013   11:15:33 AM
  • TJRUMFELT
    244
    NO! I know that all things change. I do not have to be perfect, just healthy and fit. There are are other things way more important than that. Family is right at the top. We are not here for ever so make the most of it. - 4/28/2013   4:57:25 PM
  • SCRAPPYDOO9
    243
    Happiness comes from within. It is important to be healthy in all aspects of being: physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally. I would rather have a balanced life that I could enjoy in good health than to aim for any sort of external idealized notion of perfection. Life is beautiful and short.... I'd never give up a year willingly. - 4/26/2013   1:32:05 PM
  • DEWIE1945
    242
    No! Quality of life doesn't depend on a perfect body. I believe a better body will extend life and it is achievable without that kind of sacrifice. As a survivor, I have no hope of ever being "perfect," but am more than aware it would not be satisfying at any cost. - 4/26/2013   10:18:42 AM
  • 241
    For me it depends on what you mean by 'give up'. I've sacrificed years of quality living already because of being food addicted and overweight in the form of locking myself away and not living life to the full. If anything we give up years of our life by having an unhealthy body. - 4/26/2013   2:28:14 AM
  • 240
    No way. I am not perfect, but I am what I am. And I have become comfortable with who I am, and what I am not. - 4/25/2013   11:10:30 PM
  • 239
    Absolutely not. - 4/25/2013   8:53:31 PM
  • PUGGLEMONKEY
    238
    Yes I would, because the quality and opportunities would likely increase. I guess I would take quality over quantity. - 4/25/2013   7:11:08 PM
  • DWHARLOW
    237
    I loved this blog! I would also trade a year of my life for the body. I do not think that I would jeopardize my health for it, though. I try to keep in mind that God made me and my bad choices is how I ended up being over-weight. - 4/25/2013   6:24:49 PM
  • 236
    It's funny that people will trade time with family, money, etc. But they will NOT trade the french fries, or the tv time, or being lazy. We need to prioritize what is important to us: french fries or family? - 4/25/2013   5:27:31 PM
  • 235
    No....in my opinion there is no such thing as a perfect body.....if someone criticizes how they look now what makes them think they will ever find that perfect body. I will be satisfied with being the best that I can be. - 4/25/2013   5:16:48 PM
  • SHKIRK
    234
    Yes Siree !! As long as the "ideal or perfect" body is my choice. Being overweight is taking a year off my life. - 4/25/2013   4:11:33 PM
  • KHALIA2
    233
    NOPE! - 4/25/2013   3:47:16 PM
  • 232
    From someone who suffered in my younger life with anorexic and bulemic behaviors--I have sacrificed health and possibly years off my life in pursuit of weight loss/a "perfect" body. It wasn't worth it. I almost died at 48 in part because of those behaviors. Now I concentrate on a healthy lifestyle, and that isn't a euphemism for "thin as possible". So no, at this stage of my life, not a chance. I love my body for what it does for me, and if it never looks like an airbrushed picture of an underweight professional model, that's fine. - 4/25/2013   3:42:35 PM
  • TROUBLEVST2
    231
    Without a 2nd thought. We have sold out this USA of ours for the all mighty dollar. I am sorry I brought children into this world. I would give up a year. I wish I had the knowledge on how to tell the powers to be in Washington that what they are doing is I'm sure not what our forefathers had in mind. Our government is so self serving. They don't care about us, only themselves. What other job can you work for four years and quit and receive full pay and benifits for the rest of your lives. Hopefully some of them will see this and know some of us know what they are doing.. We just don't know how to change it. - 4/25/2013   2:59:02 PM
  • 230
    No. Way. Life is precious. And I don't want a perfect body anyway.

    I want to be thinner, yes. And healthier, definitely. But perfect? I don't even know what that means. I am loved and the people who matter to me think I'm beautiful. I can smile at my reflection and I am comfortable being who I am, which isn't defined by the size on my clothes or the number on the scale.

    Give me a full life and a little bit of mush around my middle. It's more huggable anyway. :) - 4/25/2013   2:11:34 PM
  • 1954MARG
    229
    For me having a perfect body means having a healthy body. Believe me, having poor health is no fun when it limits what you can do, so yes, I would gladly give up one year to have the rest of my life healthy so I would be able to enjoy the rest of it. - 4/25/2013   1:04:37 PM
  • 228
    No but I would take that year and work at being the healthiest I can. - 4/25/2013   12:07:51 PM
  • 227
    Yes! - 4/25/2013   12:02:32 PM
  • 226
    Without a doubt... putting it into contrast: how much do we shorten out lives by struggling year after year being overweight? when you look at the big picture we are actually making out much better. So, my answer is most definitely! - 4/25/2013   11:58:35 AM
  • 225
    Although life isn't all about looks as the previous poster says, I would absolutely give up a year to have the body I want and be healthy and never look back. Why when time is so precious? As someone who has struggled with my weight for my entire life..at least a good 18 of my 25...a year would be better than a lifetime of self esteem issues and not feeling like the outside reflects the inside in the least. I'd trade a year in a heartbeat. Media stigmas inspiring the notion of "perfectbody" or not. And it's not for lack of effort and hard work that I still struggle with my weight. So..yeah. I for one am definitely desperate enough to make that trade. - 4/25/2013   11:19:27 AM
  • 224
    I do make sacrifices everyday by going to the gym instead of listening to my head saying, "I don't feel like working out today". Because I know once I start, I always feel great! But some of the other sacrifices proposed, I would not trade, like giving up a promotion or a raise, or family time.........is a little crazy for me. My family is so important and we all need money. Education is important. I'm back in school myself, but there needs to balance...........I would never give up my family for the idea body. I just need to strive to be the strongest, healthiest, I can be everyday and make those small daily sacrifices, like going to the gym, working out at home, going for a walk, passing up (sometimes) a less healthy desert for an item that's more healthy.... - 4/25/2013   11:09:41 AM
  • 223
    I dont know...my first reaction would be YES, I would do it in a heartbeat, but then I think about my children and how I cherish every moment I get to spend with them. They are already growing up fast enough. I want to be there for the entire ride...so no, I wouldn't trade it. With the year I would be missing I could instead lead a healthy lifestyle and pass on the lessons I've learned to my children. They learn by our actions and I want them to know that taking care of their body is important. So no, i will take the long route and lead by example along the way...all while enjoying my time with my kids :) - 4/25/2013   10:53:49 AM
  • 222
    This is so very sad. First, we have to combat the myth that there even IS a perfect body! What a crock of nonsense, perpetuated by the "fashion" industry and the "nip and tuck" doctors preying on women. These so-called "super models" are nothing of the sort. They are starved, badgered, air brushed, sliced up, injected with god knows what, have things inserted into them, to get that way and eventually it will all "fall down" and they will be left with a shortened life, risk of cancer and other maladies and who knows what. As long as we perpetuate this "ideal" we will have sad young women willing to give up time with family or actual time alive. Makes me angry because I know being healthy is the way to go and it does take sacrifice and no, I won't end up with a model-like body but I'll be here to see my grandkids grow up and she them have kids and sit on my porch and enjoy life!! That's what's important. - 4/25/2013   10:40:49 AM
  • 221
    Depends. Do I get to choose the year I give up?

    If I were extremely out of weight and out of shape, I'd already being giving up at least a year and probably more. The years that I would have remaining would probably not be great from a "quality of life" perspective so giving up a year that I'd probably lost anyway would be OK because I'd probably still gain way more years than I'd lose - and the quality would be much better.

    - 4/25/2013   10:35:38 AM
  • 220
    Paying a potentially very high but very remote future price for a present benefit is not a realistic transaction, and the people who say they would do so likely do not fully appreciate the potential cost. The impact of the survey suffers from this inaccurate calculation.

    Worse, the question focuses attention away from an important fitness goal, that is, to be fully comfortable with a lifestyle leading to the fitness and appearance you desire without feeling deprived. There are no magic bullets for reaching such goals, and asking if one would accept bargains as uncertain as those proposed in the study only feeds the misconception that some easy approach to a fitness is possible and that being fit is necessarily painful. - 4/25/2013   10:35:33 AM
  • 219
    How sad that those girls (especially since most were normal or underweight) would give up so many important parts of living for the perfect body. The one that struck me most was that they'd give up health - isn't that what we're "supposed" to be striving for by working towards a fitter body?!

    I wouldn't give up ANY of those things - time living, a good education, and most of all my family. I was just reunited with my family in the U.K. after almost 30 years - I can't describe the joy I've felt ever since then. I almost did give that up, and I'll NEVER make that mistake again.

    I think we all need to take a step back and leave the "perfect" bodies to the super models. I'd far prefer to work hard at getting a fit and healthy body to use while I live my life, not give up my life to look pretty. - 4/25/2013   10:27:31 AM
  • 218
    To be healthy and fit and not sit on the side lines cause you can't do something, to wear a bikini for the first time in my life. To stop leg cramps and HBP to be able to have kids normally..YES HECKY YES I would. - 4/25/2013   10:24:09 AM
  • CHERYL1264
    217
    A year of life's up's and down's full of stress and worries, Yes...I most certainly would without a second thought. - 4/25/2013   10:13:54 AM
  • 216
    Only if the year is spent working out and eating healthy to get to my ideal weight and fitness level Isn't that what dieting is really all about? Giving up stuff--yes, I know, lets not feel deprived, blah, blah, blah. But to be honest, the only eating plan that ever worked for me involved "deprivation" Hate to be hard nosed but I've come to realize the only way to do it is to give something up. You can't have both. So if it's a year of "deprivation" I hope that after that year I enjoy a "deprived" ie Healthy Lifestyle. - 4/25/2013   10:06:20 AM

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