So SOME of Us Are Satisfied With Our Bodies!

Hear, hear!  Twelve percent of middle-aged women are satisfied with their bodies, according to a new study. I guess that's better than 0 percent.  But where are all the rest of us?

And here's the clincher.  We have to work really, really hard to keep that satisfaction going.

"This minority of midlife women who report being satisfied with their body size appears to exert considerable effort to achieve and maintain this satisfaction," reports newswise.com. And we are not immune to "dissatisfaction with other aspects of (our) physical appearance, especially those aspects affected by aging, the Web site quotes Cynthia Bulik, PhD, corresponding author of the study.

“Of course the fact that so few women are satisfied with their body size is concerning,” Cristin Runfola, PhD, first author of the study, told newswise.com. “But we were interested in how some women remain happy with their size and shape, given ubiquitous social pressures to retain a youthful thin appearance, and the influence of a multibillion dollar antiaging cosmetics industry.”

I, like many women, have been on a diet since I was about 11 (not counting anorexia in middle school). Three times I got down to my goal weight, only to gain most of it all back again. (I'm not alone -- read about Taft, our one obese president.)

Today I'm about 15 pounds away from where I'd like to be (that's down from 25!) but I know I will struggle the rest of my life.  It's just the way it is (how it hurts to have a 12-year-old son who is so underweight his physician wants to see him again in six months to see if he's gained any weight!).

I swim and run and do Zumba and still I fight (surprisingly, this summer, when I've been my most active, I've gained weight!  Talk about motivation.).  There are days when I just want to roll over in bed, and sometimes I do, but then guilt starts nagging at me and I have to go out for a run.  I haven't missed a day of exercise in over three months (something many experts say is not good to do). I'm exercising more now than I was in my 20s (but then, I didn't really have to).

Respondents answered a wide array of questions about their history with dieting and weight control, current eating disorder symptoms, current weight and shape concerns, and quality of life, according to newswise.com.

Satisfaction with their bodies was defined as "having a current body size equal to their preferred size."  And here was where only 12.2 percent of women ages 50 and older found themselves.  Interestingly, satisfied women "had a lower body mass index, and reported fewer eating disorder symptoms and dieting behaviors," the Web site notes.

Yet, a sizeable number still reported dissatisfaction with other aspects of their appearance, including their stomach (56.2 percent), face (53.8 percent), and skin (78.8 percent).  And even with cosmetic and weight-altering surgery, the overall number did not go higher.

So where do we go from here?  It's really hard to be okay with your body when everywhere you look, women with their hip bones sticking out are staring back at you -- from TV, the movies, magazines, Web sites.

But I'm just going to do what I always have.  Hang out with friends who are heavier!






 

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