EDITOR'S NOTE: Guest blogger Cynthia Parrott is a busy working woman who manages to find the time for fitness, diet and the writing of great advice for health-conscious women.
I used to get depressed when the latest Victoria's Secret catalog arrived in the mail. I would quickly flip through the pages and then toss it into the trash, while angrily muttering, "I need to go on a diet!"
After a few years of doing this, I realized I had a little problem. Instead of looking through the catalog like a normal person and actually ordering things I might like, want or need, I was using it as a tool to punish myself.
Those Victoria's Secret models were gorgeous and I hated them. They could be wearing big, black trash bags and still look stunning.
As I turned each page, I tortured myself because I didn't look as thin and flawless as one of those models. I wasn't overweight at all. In fact, far from it. I was fit and healthy.
I certainly had no intention of ever wearing a G-string and having my backside photographed through a wide-angle lens. Personally, I don't know any women who would want to do that, regardless of how fantastic they look.
So why was I punishing myself for not being model thin? And why are so many other women doing the same thing to themself?
Yes, I know those perfectly thin models haven't had a slice of chocolate cream pie since 1985. And yes, I am well aware that the photos are airbrushed and NO ONE looks that good in real life.
The camera adds weight so If I were to bump into one of those models on the street I'd quickly notice she is very thin... the kind of person you badly want to treat to a steak dinner with all the fixins.
We too often catch just a quick glimpse of these lingerie models in magazines and television spots. And that's after they've just spent hours with professional makeup artists, hairdressers and photographers.
But we as women buy the look they're selling hook, line and sinker. We starve ourself, punish ourself, and even submit to surgery to become what too many people wrongly consider true beauty.
I recently spent a night out with a few friends. At one club we encountered a tall, attractive, extremely thin blonde. I noticed that the moment this woman walked into the room, the conversation among us girls suddenly shifted to diet, weight and exercise.
While it seemed like all of the women in the place stared at this beauty much of the night, the majority of the men glanced her way maybe once or twice. I was intrigued and decided to take a survey right then and there.
I asked several women what they thought of the tall blonde girl on the other side of the room. Each one thought she was perfect... they wished they could be that thin... they felt fat or inadequate compared to her... they hated her... or they saw her as a threat.
Imagine my surprise when just two of the 20 men I spoke with found blondie to be attractive, sexy or appealing. The rest thought she was too thin and shapeless.
Whether they were married, single, old or young, the men I spoke to wanted the same thing: a woman with curves and "a little meat on her bones."
I am not trying to insult anyone here. If you are tall and very thin, bless your heart -- you can wear skinny jeans and clingy dresses without SPANX and actually look good in them! You might walk into a room and men circle you like a school of sharks.
This is not an article about what men want. We should NEVER try to be what someone else wants us to be.
But I am curious. If the majority of men say they want a woman with some meat on her bones (a la Beyonce or Kim Kardashian) then who are we trying to get so thin for?
What I want to do is encourage women to see themselves as beautiful exactly as they are.
A truly beautiful woman is confident and comfortable in her own skin, regardless of her weight or dress size.
If you need to lose a few pounds, then by all means, choose a healthy diet and take off some weight. If you need to firm up, then start a exercise program and stick to it until it becomes a part of your daily routine.
Be the healthiest woman you can possibly be, inside and out.
STOP punishing or depriving yourself because you don't look like the tall, thin, blonde woman in the crowd or an airbrushed model in a magazine.
START loving yourself for the gorgeous, sexy, unique woman that you are.
Now where did my Victoria's Secret catalog go? It's time to place another order!
About Cynthia: I am a Certified Holistic Health and Nutritional Counselor. My company is Metamorphosis Consulting and I have been in private practice for over 10 years. I believe we can completely transform our lives by nourishing our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. It is my desire to help others achieve their health and nutritional goals, their personal goals, and to live the life they have always dreamed of. Learn more at www.truemetamorphosis.org and www.cyndaily.com.