“The fairer sex are by nature, very competitive about appearance. And the more educated and aware women become, the more emphasis they choose to place on physical attractiveness because they believe that maximising their potential brings positive benefits, firstly, in terms of personal self-esteem and, secondly, in terms of how they react to them. This is not a bad thing and certainly does not demonstrate that as a gender, women are being manipulated. Rather it illustrates that women can, and often do, make the most of their assets.” 

Writes Suzi Godson in her book ‘The Body Bible”

Keeping in mind that we are an influential and thoroughly capable gender, we have to address the unique set of challenges we as women face in keeping ourselves functional and optimally productive.

The Start: If we haven’t begun our day well and have failed miserably at following a single part of our healthy routine, we only have the night before to blame. Going to bed with a heavy heart, clouded mind, exhausted body and soul can set you off on a bad night, which certainly leads to a re-run of the currently failed day, tomorrow.

I pledge to defeat this pattern and the best and most obvious way, is to read a good book. Suzi Godson’s Body Bible is going to be my first companion on this task.

In the introduction, I find much-needed encouragement and reassurance.

Fitness as Recreation

woman doing yoga illustration
Photo Credit: Google Image Search

“To support my research, over a period of 18 months, a Body Bible website gathered quotes and tips from women around the world. These perspectives form the backbone of the book and provide a unique insight into how normal women feel about themselves, their lives and their bodies. 

[…]

Without doubt, the women who were most positive about themselves were those who had participated in sport as children because they viewed fitness as recreation rather than a tool for weight loss.” 

Suzi Godson on the importance of how sports help in shaping our perception positively about body image.

What we must take away from this insight should be more than just a factual statement that sportswomen have a healthy attitude towards fitness, but a piece of advice to stop looking at ourselves as a tool or machine in function supporting our whims and fancies. It’s crucial that we start recognising ourselves as beings of ‘Life’.

The Female Condition

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Photo Credit: google Image Search

“Self- confidence and self-consciousness are so closely linked for women that the ‘female condition’ is better described as constant state of mild paranoia. I can’t pretend to be any different. How I look frequently, if not always, determines how I feel about my self, and over the years I have searched for my fair share of quick fixes in an effort to shift the ten pounds, or the ten years, that I believed to stand between myself and my self-esteem. But despite copious quantities of good advice, every time I have tried a new way to ‘quit, lose or improve’ something in the past, my initial enthusiasm has been swiftly followed by intimidation and disillusion. And I have rarely succeeded in changing anything.”

Suzi Godson on the perilous mix-up of self-confidence and self-consciuosness which leads to a mildly paranoic state of mind and has labelled it the ‘Female Condition’

Paranoia isn’t in any form a motivator. It can be exhausting and exhaustive, putting an abrupt end to positive endeavours. Unbiased, it will drain, immobilise and leave you incapacitated for long stretches of time.

The first step I perceive in addressing this predicament the ‘Female Condition’ poses for all of us ambitious women is to first accept that we do have some latent destructive tendencies and patterns. They continue as an undertow in our subconscious.

Careful Grooming Can’t Fool a Long Flight of Stairs

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Artist: http://heyxilo.deviantart.com/

“Wellbeing, health, fitness, beauty, weight, how well you age, how long you live and even how happy you are, are entirely interconnected. For me, this was the key to change. Once I realised that there is no point doing any diet if you don’t address your overall eating patterns and as Marlene Dietrich once said, ‘careful grooming may take 20 years off a woman’s age, but you can’t fool a long flight of stairs’.

Suzi Godson’s simple wisdom about the difference in bettween grooming and wellbeing. 

Even if we do fool the mirrors, camera and the stairs, it is a punishable crime to fool ourselves. We are not striving for perfection or any form of perfection, it is a matter of acknowledging that our body needs to be kept fit apart from what it manages to do on its own.

Cherry picking will only take you so far.

Holistic Approach

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“That simple realisation was the beginning of The Body Bible, an encyclopedic look at the bigger picture. It examines every aspect of the female body- from biological and physical differences to historical and cultural influences, in an effort to find out where women have come from, and where we should be trying to get. It takes a holistic view and questions all aspects of our emotional relationship with our physical selves.” 

Suzi Godson’s advices us to keep a holistic perspective to begin getting at real answers ans solutions. 

Our interactions with ourselves are as important- if not more- as our interactions with the world outside. Taking a closer look at how we see our body and why will let us understand better what it takes to sustain in an ever-changing and challenging world. The emotional turmoil that comes with the malfunctioning of the mechanism or lack of appeal in appearance can be subdued with knowledge of oneself, all of it.

Sorting out our priorities couldn’t have been easier with this approach:

Health Span vs Life Span

Woman Yoga drawing
Photo Credit: Google Image Search

“There is no point in proposing the unsustainable to the easily diverted. Although we are full of good intentions, at the end of the day what woman has the time or the inclination to find the 16 ingredients required to cook ‘Gourmet Rock Cornish Hen à l’Orange’ for her Zone diet. 

[…]

though The Body Bible began as a personal project, it has ended up providing a platform for a whole community of women and I hope that the voice it gives to female concerns about body image will draw attention to the fact that good looks have little to do with happiness and well-being, but negative self-image disturbs both.  

For me, thinking in terms of ‘health span’ as opposed to ‘life span’ was the kick up the butt I had always needed.” 

Suzi Godson

Suzi Godson

Suzi Godson has written a weekly sex and relationships column for The Times newspaper in the UK for the last ten years. Her column is syndicated in The Irish Examiner and she also writes a weekly blog for The Huffington Post. Suzi is the author of The Body Bible.

For more works by Suzi Godson on Sexuality, Commitment in Relationships, Parenting and Mental Health.

The key to controlling the span -quantity- of life was once lost to mankind and it will not be found anytime soon, unfortunately. Not altogether in our power to yield fate, however quite in our control is another key- ‘the quality of life’.

It is not altogether in our power to yield fate, however, in our control is another key- ‘the quality of life’.

The dream body and life could have been dancing right under your nose- literally- all this while.

Breaking patterns and shifting paradigms is a long and enduring process. A step wise, well paced and well-educated approach towards it could help side step pit falls that could set you back.

The Body Bible is split into 8 sections to ease you in on this process of transformation.

The Essential Companion For All Women

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The Body Bible: Every Woman’s Essential Companion

 

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