It’s not just teenagers who measure their looks against the women they see in the media. We all do – especially when we’re preparing for a major social or business event and assessing our possibilities. That’s when we tend to compare ourselves to those models of perfection on the pages of magazines.
But get real! Models spend two hours in the makeup chair in the hands of makeup experts. If that doesn’t produce perfection, a little computer magic completes the transformation; photoshop slims faces, arms and hips, plumps up lips and removes tiny wrinkles and skin imperfections. Who can compete with that? Model Cindy Crawford was the first to say that those professional images of her don’t much relate to what she sees, at home, in her own mirror. It’s all illusion. Our competition is with what we see in our own mirror.
The lesson that needs to be learned is to stop comparing ourselves to unrealistic images and learn to analyze and then build on our own potential. Much of our appearance relates to our inheritance. Until recently, a relatively youthful image had more to do with our mothers and grandmothers than with what came from a bottle. We looked at the skin of our mothers to see our future. And then products emerged that could truthfully be called breakthrough’, and for the first time we discovered that we weren’t totally trapped by our heritage. So a lesson to be learned is to keep abreast of what’s new and what is well proven. The future is encouraging; today’s 30-year-old woman, when she is 60 years old, will not look like her mother at age 60. Tomorrow’s 60-year-old has the potential to look and feel a decade younger, and it starts now.
There’s another trap many of us fall into. We keep applying cosmetics in much the same way as we did when we were in school – allowing ourselves to look stale-dated. It’s a good idea to occasionally have a department-store makeup stylist apply our makeup. It involves spending a few bucks on new makeup, but it’s a terrific investment in discovering new ways to apply makeup to emphasize our own bone structure and best features. Buying the right makeup is just the start. They key is in application.
Willpower Versus Brain Power
Magazines tend to perpetuate a myth that weight loss is easy, and that maintaining lost weight is even easier. Perhaps – if we were robots and could be programmed to eat a balanced diet. The truth is that weight loss is never easy, but it is attainable.
There are good weight loss programs available, but here’s the rub. There is no one-size-fits-all program. Every person has to read their own body and personality and then feed into a long-range program that is tailored to their specific needs. For some it may be a good formal program, such as Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. For others, it may be partnering with a friend who has the same goals. For still others, it is an intensely private battle. The only overriding truth is that weight loss must be slow – and the only universal result is that fast weight loss boomerangs, inevitably resulting in regaining the lost weight.
People who go on extreme diets and then repeatedly yo-yo have stronger-than-average willpower. It is now understood that those who repeatedly go on diets, giving it the old college try, have exceptional will power. But recent studies prove that weight loss has little to do with willpower and everything to do with brain power. What is perceived as failure is really the brain’s response to a crisis – it interprets less food intake and fast weight loss as starvation – and so the brain ultimately undermines the program. This is a primeval response, buried so deep that we have no conscious awareness of it. And so we seem to fail. Again.
So is weight loss hopeless? Of course not. But each of us has to read our bodies and tailor a personal program that is slow and long-ranging so we can side-step the body’s response to perceived starvation.
Sustainable weight loss is not easy and it’s not fast. But it is attainable if we develop a personal program that is in tune with our own bodies.
Here’s the bottom line. All women of all ages should stop comparing themselves with air-brushed magazine images. We need to compare ourselves with ourselves so that we can set attainable goals. We need to keep current about new products and new styles of applying makeup. And we need to develop our own personal program to achieve our goals in health and appearance. No outsider can know us as well as we know ourselves. Some of us are divas and high maintenance. We love lotions and potions and consider regular visits to a spa mandatory. Others of us are shower-and-out-the-door women. But for each of us, our beauty goal should be to understand our potential and accept who we are and what we need to feel good about ourselves. PC