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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   :  37,219 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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  • 215
    Trade a year of my life for the perfect body??!!! NO! Time is a precious commodity and every moment should be treasured. There is something to appreciate in every single moment. Just look around, become aware... and be grateful! - 4/25/2013   10:01:31 AM
  • 214
    They'd give up a year of their life rather than give up their poor nutrition and poor activity levels? Including some people who were at or under their ideal weights for health?

    That's so sad. Society is so completely focused on what women look like that we forget it is far more important who women are. I would bet large sums of money that if this poll were done asking men the same questions there would be dramatically different answers. - 4/25/2013   10:01:29 AM
  • 213
    The part that makes me the most sad is when people say that they would give up time with family or even compromise their health to get the ideal body. One thing I am never willing to do is sacrifice my health. What is the point of a perfect body if it wasn't healthy. I guess that it wouldn't be perfect anymore. So many people do compromise their health to lose a few pounds. I could write a long list of things I want different or change with my body. What is the point when I know I'm healthy. I'm at a healthy weight and I feel better than I have ever felt about my body. - 4/25/2013   9:51:00 AM
  • 212
    The ONLY way I'd give up a year of my life for the perfect body is if I was guaranteed both the perfect body and perfect health for the rest of my life. Then, I'd give up a year at the end, when I'm old & can't do anything anyway. - 4/25/2013   9:39:16 AM
    Don't think so....can't think of a year in my past that I would want to give up so I assume that the oncoming years will continue to offer me plenty of good along with the bad. Life is never dull! - 4/25/2013   9:33:46 AM
  • 210
    To magically have the perfect body, for the rest of my life? Hell yes, I would give up a year. I'm surprised only 16% said they would, to be honest. - 4/25/2013   9:26:07 AM
  • 209
    Yes - I would give up a year for a perfect, healthy body! When I think of the time and discipline I spend each week working toward health ..... - 4/25/2013   9:20:24 AM
  • 208
    To truly not have to worry about my weight? To be a healthy weight and look good? To leave foot pain behind (caused by my weight)? - Yes - I think I'd give up a year of my life. Too bad it isn't that easy. - 4/25/2013   8:59:59 AM
  • 207
    If by "perfect" one meant completely HEALTHY, yes, I would trade a year to have the rest (however many or few) be pain free and without the deteriorations of, let's face it, being overweight. But just to be 'beauty-perfect'? no way. - 4/25/2013   8:45:59 AM
  • 206
    Just one year? Yes, I think I would. - 4/25/2013   8:41:17 AM
  • 205
    No way! I will be going to soon at any age I go. Only God will decide. - 4/25/2013   8:28:25 AM
  • 204
    My opinion is that God created each of us in a special way. No two people are alike and he does want us to take care of our bodies by exercising and eating right. So if I was over weight, then in my mind I would need to exercise and eat right, but that doesn't mean I am going to look like I did in highschool or that I will ever look like those models on tv. It means being happy with who you are on the inside and looking healthy on the outside means that you are within your healthy limits, but yet you may never be a size 6, but you can be happy with a size 10 if that is how God meant for you to be! - 4/25/2013   8:11:14 AM
  • 203
    yea, i would, im almost 46, one year closer to death haha, but maybe, just maybe that one year, i would come to really see how wonderful life can be when you dont struggle with high blood pressure, depression, aches and pains for being overweight, maybe being able to be more active and healthy would show me that i need to upkeep that weight and continue working hard to maintain it.
    and getting looks from guys in a good way, might not be too bad haha - 4/25/2013   8:10:44 AM
  • 202
    Very interesting blog. As I read the details, it occurs to me that it would make sense that these women feel as if they have to "give up" a year of their life, or something else of value, in order to attain their goal. Obviously that is not the reality, at all. It doesn't sound to me like these women like themselves very much, even those who don't sound like they have major weight or health issues.

    What I have discovered is that you first have to learn to not just accept yourself, but to love and value yourself for the right reasons. That's when your motives for embracing real life change become an adventure, exciting, a reward that we give ourselves - instead of that familiar old self-imposed punishment cycle of "diet and fail". - 4/25/2013   7:55:18 AM
  • 201
    In a could prolong my life AND increase the quality of the years I do have remaining. - 4/25/2013   7:50:32 AM
  • JGRAY76
    Absolutely not. Life is too precious! - 4/25/2013   7:30:09 AM
  • 199
    I have often fantasizes about this kind of scenario and would probably say yes, I would give up a year, because it would most likely mean better quality of life, too. However, it is a false question because the reality is that attaining and maintaining a healthy weight (which is what my perfect body means to me) is more likely to add years, if it is done in a healthy manner. - 4/25/2013   7:08:39 AM
  • 198
    16% would give up a year of their lives for the perfect body. I see many peple replying that these women could use that year to (fill in the blank). Two points (not reallying arguing so much as playing Devil's advocate).

    1) That year would require work and giving up habits and even after a year, it is work and it doesn't get easier with age. A year to magically have the perfect body (and I make the assumption that for giving up the year, the perfect body is there for life), I can see the temptation.

    2) The majority of those polled were of normal weight or underweight. You might find many of the 16% just having unrealistic expectations. How many times do you see someone who looks good, complain about their flaws? No matter how toned I get, I will never look like what I think the ideal body type is. Would I be willing to trade a year of my life to get "that" look? Not at 44, but maybe at 18 my answer would have been different.

    Really a rather sad blog. - 4/25/2013   5:51:26 AM
  • 197
    If you spent a year giving up the things that make you unhealthy and out of shape, instead of giving up a year of your life you would both look better and possibly ADD years to your life. - 4/25/2013   5:32:57 AM
  • 196
    If 16% of the young women will give up a year to have the "perfect" body, perhaps they could instead give up a year of the habits that created their perceived imperfections in their body. By living the year differently, they are giving up their routines of eating unhealthy foods, dining out, lethargy, self-disparagement for a year. - 4/25/2013   2:40:56 AM
  • 195
    No way! That would mean one less year with my wonderful son and loving husband. - 4/24/2013   11:59:03 PM
    NEVER! Life is precious ;) - 4/24/2013   11:42:49 PM
  • 193
    Not a chance. I like my time with family and friends. To me the perfect body is the one I am in. Celebrate you!! - 4/24/2013   11:18:50 PM
  • 192
    No. It has taken me a very long time to begin accepting myself and caring for the somewhat imperfect body carrying me through life. - 4/24/2013   10:48:22 PM
  • 191
    NO - 4/24/2013   10:34:36 PM
  • 190
    No, I wouldn't I'd rather make lifelong changes for good, life is too short. I would be happy with what I have! - 4/24/2013   10:27:42 PM
  • 189
    Does perfect mean healthy? So the trade might mean I would be even healthier therefore live longer than I normally would have if I were heavy? I know being heavy, I had one foot already in the grave. I have reversed that, but not sure by how much or what damage I might have already done that was beyond repair in terms of longevity. I also spent 2 decades being fat and missing so much. I am missing from all pictures. It was like being dead already. I probably still have a year left to go before I get the weight all gone, and I have already been at it for about 1.5 years already, so from that perspective, it is sort of a pay me now or pay me later sort of deal..... I am not saying I would want to, as I am doing pretty well reversing things and getting out and living life again now, but just looking at it from another angle is all. If "perfect" included perfect health, which meant longevity that I might not achieve on my own, I might would consider it. - 4/24/2013   9:47:00 PM
  • 188
    My life is pretty boring as it is lol, so yes I would give up a year of my life but not for the "perfect" body, but for a HEALTHY body! - 4/24/2013   9:45:02 PM
    It depends on what you mean by "giving up a year." If you mean a year of your total life, no. Probably not. But getting healthier and by proxy looking better I am adding years to my life. And more than that - quality! The time I spend making healthy meals and working out is definitely worth the sacrifice. As for time with my family and friends - I try to schedule family fitness activities now. Hiking, long walks - our new favorite weekend activity is Wii Fit competitions. My goal though is health, not the "perfect body." A better body is just sort of a side effect. - 4/24/2013   9:42:16 PM
  • 186
    I would say yes if I could keep it that way and never have to spend another minute agonizing over dieting and exercise and could enjoy my time with friends and family without counting calories or saying I can't go to happy hour because I have to go to the gym or whatever. And it is so worth 1 year of my life to be able to eat fried chicken, bratwurst, onion rings, etc. whenever I wanted and not have to worry about my figure or my health. I have spent 4 years researching, trading off what I want for what I need in my quest for health and fitness and weight loss, and am almost at the same spot I started with. I'm sick of it and exhausted! - 4/24/2013   9:32:01 PM
  • 185
    No way! Time is precious, especially with family. Being a cancer survivor, I have learned to cherish every new day. My body is not perfect, and never will be. All I can do is eat healthy, exercise and take care of myself. My hubby loves me just the way I am. He and my family are just happy that I am still here, and so am I! - 4/24/2013   9:06:43 PM
  • 184
    I have already sacrificed so much just getting overweight, I'm not willing to give up anything to be at the perfect weight. The only things I am giving up is the TV so I can workout and junk food that I don't need. - 4/24/2013   9:02:57 PM
  • 183
    I already sacrificed my health. Getting so large 313 my largest on a 5" 4' frame made me ache and I was there for over a year, moving down 20 lbs I am able to stand to push a shopping cart and suprisingly I am no longer leaning from the back pain. Thank God that is so over! - 4/24/2013   8:21:36 PM
  • 182
    Absolutely not. I aim for health above all, and the weight that goes with it, whatever it might be. The perfect body, my idea of perfection, is not worth losing a single day of my life. I want to age gracefully, being active and healthy. Dorian Gray doesn't live here - 4/24/2013   8:19:28 PM
  • 181
    Yes I would make the trade.
    -- I wish I had understood the end results of poor choices when I headed down this path after the age of 30 and 3 children later. Now past 50, I'd be happy to trade a year for going back to "how I used to be"...without the cravings and significant tripping points. - 4/24/2013   8:18:18 PM
    No, not going to give up a year for a perfect body. Just want to be healthy enough to enjoy time I have! No need stress'n about it. - 4/24/2013   8:11:57 PM
  • CHERIE16
    In all honesty, although I am over weight and would love to be smaller I would not give up any time to have the perfect body. I am learning how to eat properly and teaching it too my children. My time with them is precious and I know all too well that you could be gone tomorrow and I want my memories to be long and happy memories and not of what I gave up to achieve perfection. I think everyone's main goal should be to be Happy, everything will fall into place after that. If you are not happy now having what is considered the perfect body will not make you happy in the future. Happiness is within not a reflection in the mirror. - 4/24/2013   7:55:53 PM
  • 178
    No. I certainly don't have a perfect body after 3 children. My man loves me just the way I am even though I am very critical of some of my body parts. - 4/24/2013   6:01:24 PM
  • 177
    I don't have kids. So saying I don't want to "lose time with my children" doesn't apply. Would I sacrifice a year of my life for the "perfect" body? Is that MY idea of perfect? If so...then absolutely. Not even a question.

    I think a lot of women would and aren't speaking up in here, because they believe they will be criticized for their honest opinion. - 4/24/2013   5:26:45 PM
  • 176
    I've lost 100 lbs. in a year. I have given up:
    -time with my family, a lot of time
    -time pursuing other things
    -$1000 (a guess) for gym membership, new clothes, athletic equipment, (-$$ saved not eating out as much or as much expensive packaged foods, and less food total)

    But, I didn't give up a whole year of my life or time away from my family. At most, 5 hours a week!

    Granted, it's not the 'perfect body', but it's one I'm WAYYYY happier with. - 4/24/2013   5:03:42 PM
  • 175
    No. Why would I want to give up a year just for looks? O_o - 4/24/2013   4:46:48 PM
    No. My life is way more than just about how I look. It's about the relationships I have and the dreams I achieve. It's about cuddles with my baby, laughter shared with my older kids, quiet moments stolen with my husband. I deserve much better than giving all that up sooner than I need to just to get something that I probably would still find fault with in the end. I'd much rather continue to learn to love and appreciate my body for what it can do. - 4/24/2013   4:36:26 PM
  • 173
    I wouldn't trade a thing, Not time, money, health, etc...I don't think it's worth it. Nothing else about me is perfect and I'm ok with that. I love who I am and I am grateful for it. - 4/24/2013   4:35:05 PM
  • 172
    I blogged my thoughts, but echo what many here have already said. I AM giving up my time and money to be a better, healthier me, but I'm learning important lessons in the process! - 4/24/2013   4:33:31 PM
  • 171
    Do I get to give it up at the end? How long do I get to keep my new physically fit body? I'd consider it, but I'd want to die at 99 instead of 100. Old age in my family does not seem to be a fun thing. My grandfather was trapped in his body after two strokes, my grandmother is almost immobile and deaf. The other grandmother has Alzheimer... To give up a year of unhealthy unhappy for many years of happy healthy? It's a tough choice. - 4/24/2013   4:28:30 PM
  • 170
    Once upon a time I wrote an SP blog about this, because I was truly interested in (but apparently not committed to) putting on hold for 1 year all of those distractions that I felt were holding me back. I would set aside "that life" for 1 year to reclaim my health. Not long after, and not surprisingly, the stakes were raised amid those other commitments in my life, and my priorities changed. It was unrealistic to think I could flip the switch, and turn off other areas of my life like so many lightbulbs. This inch-by-inch approach is harder, but do-able. - 4/24/2013   4:06:08 PM
    No. I don't need a perfect body. I just want a healthy one. - 4/24/2013   3:56:59 PM
  • 168
    I think my answer would have to wait to have a couple of questions answered: How are the ideal weight and body shape defined? Ideal implies "perfect" and I feel strongly that is unattainable for anyone and will only send those women who are at a normal weight but still want to lose weight right into therapy.

    If the ideal weight means the ideal weight for ME and includes my best weight for continued health for the rest of my life, then I'm already signed up for that trip. My SP journey since last August has taken LOTS of time, thought, fortitude in order to lose the 55 pounds and stay the course. While I don't feel I'm at whatever my goal will finally be, I hope I recognize when I finally arrive at what my "best" health looks like. I worry that after spending so much time on this journey, that I won't have sense enough to sit back and relax, chill, find a new cause to throw myself into. - 4/24/2013   3:44:47 PM
  • 167
    nope and I didn't struggle with the answer either. A flat out nope. - 4/24/2013   3:37:05 PM
  • 166
    I wouldn't give up a year of my life..meaning less time with kids..hubby ..maybe by that point grandchildren and other family. I have lost many family members due to depression and cancer..Life is short....Yes I am working on being a healthier person..eating better ..and now adding running to my list:-) I still have a muffin top but bit by bit its slowly working its way down.
    I have 4 beautiful girls whom I never want them to fall to the pressures of being a woman..Life can be hard enough! - 4/24/2013   3:06:09 PM

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