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


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  291 comments   :  56,821 Views

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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  • RADIANT888
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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 heartbeat...it 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

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