A little bit of Thin-spiration

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Ask any woman in todays modern society exactly what they consider to be the perfect body and you can pretty much guarantee that the word ‘thin’ will be in there somewhere. Average statistics show that at any one time 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will be on a diet or weight loss program of some form or other. In an increasingly media driven society models of perfection are paraded as examples to aspire to and aspire to it we do. 

Despite an ever expanding population the diet and fitness industry continues its popularity explosion with companies like Weight Watchers pulling in a hefty $1.452bn (1) in annual revenue. Definitely no slim sum by any means and a clear indicator that the diet industry, in the western world at least, is definitely big business. As the media continues its glamorous promotion of those body beautifuls, we in turn fuel the trend and flock in our millions to buy into the illusion that they sell.

So much of a change from a small few decades past when icons and idols sported more ‘womanly’ curves. Glamour oozed from such well rounded starlets as Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot and the timelessly sexy Bettie Page. Yet it is a true indicator of todays media influence when many questioned nowadays truly consider those afore mentioned sex symbols to be overweight. Indeed on more than one occasion this writer has seen the beautiful Marilyn described as ‘Fat’.

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But how accurate is this media bandwagon and are those ideals of perfection really so perfect after all? Well on camera it seems so. Glossy celebrities smile those perfect smiles and flaunt those flaw free bodies across magazine covers the world over. Enviously we admire everything about them and hurl ourselves desperately in the direction of anything we believe will make us like our idols. Billions each year are spent on diet, cosmetics and now on an increasing trend of cosmetic surgery as industry cashes in on our need to be perfect. The ‘quick fix’ surgery solution has rocketed in the last few years with millions of us opting for an invasive procedure as a way to give us that which we desire so badly. There is no doubt that this growing trend will not be seeing a decline anytime soon and the industry sees set to boom to massive proportions. 

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Sadly many recent media revelations reveal that perhaps the perfection we yearn for so badly may not be such a reality after all. Articles galore adorn the internet screaming the reality of an illusion we are all to ready to buy into. It seems there is a route to perfection after all but it does not lie at the end of a surgeons scalpel, nor indeed as the result of any super hyped diet program. To achieve the body of your dreams it seems all you need to do today is get yourself airbrushed. Stars have been no doubt cringing in shame as the internet buzzes with before and after photographs showing the reality of alleged perfection. With a few clicks of a computer mouse the pounds are shed, cellulite banished and perfect wrinkle free skin glows with health. Not such hard work after all then and certainly a look we can all manage with ease. Amusing then that men are among those most easily taken in by the images fed to us. I have encountered shock and surprise from more than one gentleman when i explained the wonders of airbrushing to them for they really did believe such flawless beauty existed. There is no doubt that there are indeed many beautiful people out there but nobody is perfect. So as we embark upon yet another diet in our efforts to be thin and spend billions on anything we are led to believe will get us there, perhaps we need to be a little more realistic in our efforts. Maybe one day the media will step up to the mark and take responsibility for the monster that it has created. But in the meantime we will all try just that little bit harder and spend just that little bit more. 

Because you can be perfect……can’t you?

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(1) source – google finance

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Who wants to live forever

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It has been a long standing joke in my house that i am going to live to be a very aged cantankerous recluse, with a spooky house full of cats that children dare each other to knock upon the door. Quite blase i would airily announce that i was going to live to the ripe old age of 103. I have no idea where this number came from or why i settled upon it, but 103 has always been my mantra. 

I cannot for one minute imagine what quality of life i should have at this age and being in my early 40s, which i consider very young in the scheme of things, i do not ponder it too much as to me it is a terribly long way away. Imagine the things i will have seen if i reach such a ripe old age!! Croakily announcing to the younger generation that i remember a time before computers were invented will no doubt make me seem incredibly old indeed. Much in the way that i regard with awe those older persons who were around in those historical times and witnessed the birth of monumental discoveries we nowadays take for granted. So i tell myself i shall be regarded for those changes having taken place in my own lifetime.

Perhaps, like many, i have been guilty of thinking too little about my own mortality and just taking for granted that i should be here for quite some considerable time….until recently. Being a member of an online fitness group brings me into contact with a diverse range of people and within this community i have made many likeminded friends. All of us dedicated to fitness and trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Gradually as you converse you learn the stories behind the people and those things that motivate them and in turn relate your own. 

Meeting a new friend recently of a similar age we happily swapped tales and when she declared herself impressed and inspired by my own success i volunteered to help her in any way i could. As she related her tale to me i was horrified and catapulted into a reality that, i for one, had not even thought of considering. This particular lady, although a year younger than myself, had suffered a heart attack only a year before. Granted her size had much to do with this but, as i reminded myself, i had also been considerably overweight myself and only luck and perhaps good genes had prevented me from being in her place. To say i was shocked was an understatement for i had not for one moment considered the fact that people at so young an age can, and indeed do, suffer from such devastating health scares. Thankfully this lovely lady did recover and is very dedicated to redressing all those factors that led her to suffer as she did. For myself i sat and thought for a while, for this really had made me think quite seriously about my life. one cannot deny that it is all too easy just to sail along complacently, imagining that we shall always be here and putting off until tomorrow those things which we should do today.

Life is a gift and we really should treat it as such. I have long realised that, were we to waste the time we are given ,you do not get sent back to have another try. We none of us know when our time will come and for some of us it may be far sooner than for others. I guess all in all its a case of living every day like it could be your last. No regrets and no what ifs. Reach out and grab those things you can while you can, and do not waste time being afraid or complacent. 

So easily i could have been her, but thankfully i changed my life in time to save myself….this time.

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Adventures with a Bionic Fatty

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Well you guessed it i’m still here. Like some homeless inebriate clinging to the last vestiges of warmth at the local AA meeting i’m still lingering on the fringes of diet land with nowhere else to go. Clocking in at the 150s (pounds not kilos!!) before christmas provided a small whoop of joy before my treat starved body latched itself firmly to a much anticipated tin of Quality Street. Welding with all the tenacity of a rock growing barnacle, i firmly ensconced myself upon twiglet boyfriends sofa and began a long denied trip to chocolate heaven. Whilst this definitely delighted me the squeals of dismay from my skinny self were  muffled into oblivion by the sounds of my determined chomping. No doubt a familiar scene as many of us indulged way beyond the sensible in true Christmas abandon and worried about the regrets as the chimes of New Year rang in. 

So 2013 blows in and i guiltily step onto the scales, peeking through my fingers to hide the inevitable weight gain. I confess with the amount i ate i was easily expecting 5 or 6 pounds but my gleeful shriek at 1.8lbs startled the cat and awoke my nemesis. I have an overdeveloped sense of hearing you see, much in the way that animals can hear sounds on a level that humans cannot, so can i. But it is not whistles and supersonic bat calls that reach my level of hearing, oh no! My bionic hearing is tuned to a pitch that perfectly picks up the tantalising cries of……the cookie!! Just when i think i am safe its sirens call will hypnotize me into the kitchen, force cookies into my resisting paws and lure me into eating them against my will. I am sure that were it not for my bionic hearing i should by now be the super slim size 8 i wish to be instead of languishing as a paltry size 10. 

I confess i should have been much more impressed had my super powers been more awe inspiring. I’m not sure they will ever write a book about the adventures of Panda and her talking cookie but you have to admit it would prove rather interesting. So as i hop up and down on the scales and will them to go lower i stick my fingers in my ears and loudly chant ”LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!” Fortunate for me that my neighbours are not passing by as i am not sure what they should make of a semi naked woman hopping up and down with her fingers in her ears talking to herself!!

Chewing doggedly on a plate of lettuce some time later i am mentally telling myself ”pretend its chocolate, pretend it’s chocolate” whilst dreaming of a lovely pair of new boots. Of course lettuce doesn’t taste anything like chocolate and in reality all it does is make you pee since it is mostly water after all. Good for you right?? 

One day they will start an addicts club and i shall stand up in all my shame and say ”Hi there, my name is Amanda, im a Bionic Fatty and a cookieaholic!!

Is that for your husband dear?

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Hunting madly through the kitchen drawer i really was far from impressed to find that yet again a screwdriver famine had descended over my once well stocked tool kit. Over the months various members had ‘borrowed’ items and as usual either lost or not returned them home leaving me with few sorry items hiding away in a huddle. What should have been a simple task of changing a vacuum cleaner belt was now turning into something far more complicated but then this is my house what did i expect? The one remaining Phillips screwdriver lurking in the depths of the drawer was far too short for the very deep screws so thoughtfully designed by the people at VAX. Heaving a sigh i eyed the rain resignedly, decided to brave the weather and trudged my way up to a local hardware store. Humming along  to tunes on my ipod i abandoned my very wobbly and now soaking umbrella at the door and headed for the tool section. I decided that whilst i was here perhaps now would be a good time to price up a new tool kit since i’d had one on my to buy list for quite some time and not gotten around to it. 

The store itself is very haphazard, cluttered and narrow which makes viewing items properly quite difficult. Far from being hung in uniform military precision as in the larger department stores , these items were much more scattered and overflowing. Deciding to save time i approached a shop assistant for advice which i normally do not do, much preferring to ponder my own choices. Explaining what i wanted the kit to contain i smilingly asked to be shown suitable items at a reasonable price. Immediately afterwards my smile faded and i gaped as the shop assistant blithely asks ”Is this for your husband dear?”

”Ummmmm, no actually its for me” I announced confidently ”i dont have a husband”

Her eyes opened wider and she swept her gaze over my red lipstick, down to my heeled boots and finally settled on my finger polished nails before quietly exclaiming ”OH!!”  

Hmmmm had she been an elderly lady i might have understood but this woman was younger than i am so perhaps she should not have been surprised at a woman buying herself a toolkit. I debated telling her that i can quite happily accomplish all manner of DIY tasks from unblocking a U bend to repairing electrical items. As for flat pack furniture well there i’m almost an expert and super speedy and the go to gal amongst my friends when any is purchased. Showing me two or three less robust kits in between sideways glances i rolled my eyes as she was clearly showing me the more ‘delicate’ end of the range. Definitely not what i was after i want a proper tool kit that can withstand anything i throw at it not a pretty pink barbie kit!! 

Chuckling to myself i decided that perhaps one of the bigger department stores might be more realistic and instead settled for buying the size screwdriver i wanted for the job at hand. Shoving it into my bright red handbag i had to smile at the rather incongruous picture it surely presented to her. So they say the world is much more equal these days do they? Perhaps not so much as you would imagine after all! Ah well, time to go and file my nails whilst baking a cake i think. Tea anyone??

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How to have a happy New Year……….or not!

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So Christmas time has come and gone and with it all the hustle bustle and weeks of planning. January settles into somewhat of an anti-climax that leaves you sitting amongst piles of discarded wrappings gloomily wondering ‘Now What?’  Dismally we prod our post christmas weight gain and vow resolutely to sign up for the gym and turn ourselves into body beautifuls, quit drinking and therefore become wonderful people. Right?? 

Pretty much! Prodding my own post christmas tum, i have happily christened it my food baby and only the expected January diet has prevented it from growing into a full blown toddler complete with requisite tantrums. Actually in all honesty i’m exaggerating just a teensy bit here since Christmas weight gain was less than 2lbs despite eating enough for a family of 5. Someone up there must like me just a tad and i sent up a silent thankyou to those in the know as i wriggled into my size 10 dress. Partner in crime (twiglet boyfriend) is still bemoaning non existent stomach on the slimmest mans frame i’ve ever seen thus making us the most typical examples of New Years Resoluters going. Out of the window went any thoughts of portion control and to my shame i really did go on a see-food diet!! 

Lack of sunlight has robbed me of my lovely summer glow and my customary winter milk bottle skin blends me in to the bleak winter landscape, saved only by a splash of scarlet lipstick in total defiance at conformity. As is traditionally expected i sat, pen poised, ready to make my new years resolutions and winced as i automatically trotted out the age old ones written down by the population en masse. 

1) Lose weight (ah the old classic)….hmmmm i’ve been doing that most of 2012 and have very little left to go so we can pretty much scrap that one after march!!

2) Go to the gym ( but of course!)…. but ditto here too since i went most of last year, i just need to go back post christmas so lets scrap that one too!

3) Become best selling author and churn out books like post it notes. Okay maybe a little optimistic here but i have vowed to actually finish my book this year…..honest!! I just need a title, a plot, some characters and a beginning! Easy!!

4) Become total genius in 6 short months and make multiple appearances on Mastermind thus leading me to be invited to a dinner party with Stephen Hawking and other intelligent beings of note…

5) Become multi- lingual and annoy people by pretending to be from Sweden. 

6) Ride my bike without holding on to the nearest passing lorry, abiltity to turn corners would also be an advantage here so vow to work on that. Might consider removing stabilizers by Easter if progressing well.

7) Stop giving my wrinkles names and marking their progress off on height charts!

8) Learn the calorie content of every food on the planet thus saving large amounts of time in the supermarket. On the subject of supermarkets i will only slide down the aisles on my trolley when grouchy shop assistants aren’t looking

9) Will resolve to improve my aim when throwing stuffed missiles at rival team aka gorgeous boyfriend. Will also learn to duck faster thus scoring more points.

10) I will stop buying shoes since i have over 50 pairs and chances of ever leaving my room are being greatly diminished weekly. Maybe we’ll just tactfully ignore the 4 pairs i’ve bought since christmas *cough*

11) Buy new pyjamas and throw away ‘big enough for three people’ sized ones currently being sported by yours truly. Remind self constantly that having to hang on to your rapidly descending trousers as you walk is not a sexy look. Bum does definitely not look big in this!!

12) Be nicer to my ‘love me, love me’ cat. Will resolve not to miaow back at him from upstairs windows when he is frantically yowling to come in. Will also remind myself that comically surprised expression on his face when i do so is not actually funny.

13) Will resolve to have very uncharacteristic minor crisis at some point within the year, just to buck the trend. It just doesnt do to get stuck into a rut these days…

14) Stop annoying myself singing random songs that pop into my head especially when i dont know the words and have to hum half of it..

15) Be happy….just because life is too short and im too far along the path to go back and start again.

Happy New Year Everyone!!

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Happy New Year everyone!!