Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Weight Loss - What's Realistic For You?

Do you, like me, pour over the latest issue of Heat or Hello, wishing you looked like the model on the cover?

Well, guess what, so does the model! They don’t look like that in real life. They’ve been airbrushed to within an inch of their lives. You only have to look at the “Stars Without Makeup” features (or work as an air hostess and carry them on your flight) to know that they are actually human.  Admit it. Who hasn’t looked at Cameron Diaz or VB and secretly felt smug because your skin is so much better than theirs?

Let’s face it. If we “ordinary” people had an entourage of helpers looking after us – personal chef, personal trainer, nanny, stylist, makeup artist, hairdresser and many more to get us out of the house every morning – wouldn’t we look a million dollars?

Have any of you ever had a professional shot taken? I have. I once went to an agency in Glasgow along with a friend and our mums. Of course that was the day I woke up to find the first spot of the decade radiating out at me from the bathroom mirror.

Anyway, we rolled up in our day clothes, no makeup on, looking decidedly average. But within half an hour we were primped and preened, full face on (the cement still drying), hair teased and twisted into some semblance of order. We had no idea what we looked like. There was a distinct lack of mirrors. I took one look at my friend’s face with the makeup laden on by a trowel and my heart sank.

I was whisked away to my studio, where I was given various what can only be described as “things” to wear on my top half (my bottom half in jeans and boots out of range of the viewfinder).

In one shot I’m standing with a black plastic bin bag wrapped around me.

In another, I am wearing a flying jacket pulled seductively off one shoulder, but let me tell you it felt a million miles away from sexy.

We finished the shoot and I headed back to reception to meet the rest of the gang. Sitting in the bright lights of reception, traces of pan makeup still showing as streaks down our necks and lipstick that these days would pass for a permanent tattoo, we began to wonder what we’d done.

An hour passed. We were getting more and more fed up. Another hour passed. We were deliberating whether to get up and walk out, but curiosity got the better of us.

Finally, we were shown into the screening room, and there we were, on the screen, larger than life for all to see.

And we looked amazing!

My black bin bag looked like spun silk, my hair elegant and understated, my makeup perfect, my skin dewy and blemish free.

My mum, with a white feather boa draped around her shoulders, would have given Ava Gardner in her hey day a run for her money.

Of course we bought the photos. Of course they cost a fortune. Of course my husband had a fit at the amount of money I had spent.

Until he saw the photos. And then he took them into work to show off his perfect wife.

I tell this story because when you decide to lose weight, you have to compare yourself to you. No-one else.
Choose a target weight that is realistic for YOU – size 0 is so overrated anyway – and focus on a time when you were really happy in your skin and felt amazing.

The more you visualise yourself as how you want to be, the more your brain will accept the change as reality, and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

Be the best YOU can be, spots, warts and all.

And on bad days?

Find a friend with Adobe Photoshop.

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