Poll: Would You Trade One Year for the Perfect Body?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  291 comments   :  56,851 Views

Let's face it: Losing weight can be hard work. It requires patience, dedication, and the drive to make permanent healthy changes in your life. It's not always fun to head to the gym instead of watching your favorite show on T.V., or turning down the French fries at dinner and opting for a side of veggies instead. Those who make healthy choices are able to look at the bigger picture and know that these choices aren't always easy, but will leave them better off in the long run. Knowing that it is hard work, would you be willing to trade time to get the body you've always wanted? A new survey says some women are willing to make that trade.

The survey of 320 young British women found that 16% would trade one year of their life for the ideal weight and body shape. Most of the women surveyed said that they were unhappy with their looks. Even though the majority was normal or underweight, 79% said they wanted to lose weight. 93% said they had negative thoughts about their bodies within the past week. To me, that's sad but not surprising. Given the amount of pressure so many women feel to live up to some perfect "ideal" that may or may not even be attainable, it's no wonder that women are hard on themselves for falling short.

"Many women were also willing to make other sacrifices for the ideal body, the researchers found. About 13 percent said they'd give up $8,138 a year in salary in return for their perfect body. Eight percent would give up a promotion at work, and 6 percent would give up earning a degree with honors. Nine percent were willing to give up time with friends and partners, while 7 percent said they'd trade in time with their family. Another 7 percent said they would sacrifice health to reach their ideal weight."

I'm not going to pretend that I am completely happy with my body and wouldn't change a few things here or there if I could. But I've learned to accept that I am going to age and my body is never going to look exactly like it did before I had kids. As long as I'm living a healthy life, being a good person and a positive example for my kids, that's what matters most to me. I wouldn't trade one minute of time with them to look "perfect". To me, it's just not worth it.

What do you think?

Would you be willing to trade one year of your life for the perfect body?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
See More: news, body image, poll,
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!
NEXT ENTRY >   10 Tips to Stay Safe and Comfortable in a Hot Yoga Class


    Not a chance I'd give up a year for the perfect body size or weight. I definitely would devote a year or more to becoming healthy, but that's a benefit not a trade-off. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and should be treated with the reverence and respect God intended. - 1/30/2018   5:15:15 PM
  • 290
    I probably would -- IF I could keep that perfect body for the rest of my life. What's one year? - 10/30/2017   10:35:59 AM
  • 289
    I gained a lot of weight because of a medication side-effect. I still feel sexy. When I look in the mirror the first thought I have is "You are one sexy fat chick." That doesn't change my weight loss goals. Yet, I believe it helps me. When I have a setback I am not devastated. I just stick to my plan. - 8/28/2017   12:11:04 PM
  • 288
    Absolutely not! - 8/17/2017   10:43:28 PM
  • 287
    No way! - 4/26/2017   1:53:04 PM
    Women give up family time, promotions, raises, friends, and worst of all, their health?! The list shows that women have been conditioned for so many years by the beauty industry that we are willing to give up Quality of life as well as quantity. Normal weight or underweight women answered this survey. That is the most disturbing piece. - 10/9/2016   6:10:03 AM
  • 285
    Absolutely NOT. Miss even one day of this beautiful life that G-d has give me? Miss seeing my daughters and grandchildren? Miss one day of thanks and praise? No. No. No. - 7/7/2016   8:23:49 AM
  • SHAHAI16
    Are we talking a year at the end of my life or immediately? At the end sure. Right now I've got a lot of stuff going on so maybe not. Also, are we talking "ideal body" according to me or society? I will never be society's idea of perfect, but I'd trade a year to be my personal ideal, knowing I'd probably live longer and healthier. I work out and eat lots of fruits and veggies and try to limit junk, but I'm not willing to starve myself or deny myself everything delicious or not have a life. Maybe I could actually maintain a good weight, it's getting there that is the problem. - 2/16/2016   7:14:56 PM
  • 283
    Every time I see this article, I think of course I'd trade a year. And by trade a year, I mean I'll learn healthy habits, get off my butt, and make my body better. I'll trade a year of couch time for a year of gym time. After that year, I won't look back (except to see how far I've come). Besides, being unhealthy is costing me years of my life anyway. - 2/16/2016   6:20:38 PM
  • 282
    I already got a perfect body, why waste a year of my precious life. - 1/15/2016   2:04:01 AM
  • 281
    I would probably do this if this was an option as I don't feel that living a longer life is better, but living a good life is better. However this doesn't mean that after I lost that year I would go back to making the same mistakes I did before. I would still want to live a healthy life eating balanced food and exercising, but I think I just wish I could start at fresh instead of with a disadvantage. - 8/12/2015   1:20:50 PM
    QWESTING has it right - which year are we talking about? If the deal was that I'd shave one year off the end in exchange for never having a weight problem again, never wondering if the jeans will fit if I dry them, never being embarrassed walking into a room full of strangers, yes, probably. - 6/12/2015   12:56:14 AM
    Absolutely not! My goal is too lose weight and live a healthier, longer life. Giving up a year to achieve that seems counter intuitive. Plus the question doesn't mention how long I'd have the perfect body for. - 6/11/2015   11:13:50 PM
  • 278
    I have and will continue to spend my yearS working on a healthy body. - 6/11/2015   9:44:17 PM
  • 277
    The average size in the UK is a size 16, which is definitely not normal or underweight. So it sounds like for starters, the sample wasn't exactly representative.

    All you have to do for the perfect body is sacrifice some time for exercise and some pleasure from snacks and/or booze. Or a lot of cash and pain with a surgeon...

    The question is absurd- firstly, you CAN'T trade a yr of your life, and secondly, everyone assumes it'd be a year off the end. Who wouldn't swap a year of their 80s to look perfect now? You'd get a far different result, I'd bet, if you asked whether people would swap the NEXT year of their lives... - 6/11/2015   1:22:35 PM
  • 276
    I never really thought about it that way...I think I'm not so concerned about having the "Perfect Body" as I am about having a much slimmer body and feeling better. In all honesty I think I'm giving up more than one year already by carrying around all this extra weight -- there are bound to be repercussions. So maybe I would give up one year.. - 6/11/2015   12:41:20 PM
  • 275
    What a completely stupid article. I plan on taking that same year to MAKE the body I want. But do they point that option out here? Oh no, just leave the article complete garbage. - 4/23/2015   12:51:49 AM
    If I add up the time I spend exercising to achieve a closer-to-perfect body, I'm sure I've already given up a year of my time. I don't think I've paid 8k in gym fees and workout videos just yet though. I'll get there! :) - 4/22/2015   8:43:38 AM
    If I add up the time I spend exercising to achieve a closer-to-perfect body, I'm sure I've already given up a year of my time. I don't think I've paid 8k in gym fees and workout videos just yet though. I'll get there! :) - 4/22/2015   8:43:32 AM
  • 272
    The irony of this poll is that if you gave a year of your life to healthy eating and exercising, it would do a lot to bring you closer to a more perfect body. But I do agree with others who have said that there is not such thing as a perfect body. Aim for a healthy one. - 2/16/2015   2:37:04 PM
  • 271
    No. I'd miss out on a year with my cats (and their lives are so much shorter than ours) and a year of watching my nieces and nephew grow. I couldn't deal with that. It would be one fewer year with hubby too and women often outlive men and the women in my family often live into their nineties and the men in his often live to be about seventy. It would be also be one year fewer of reading and there are so many books and such little time as it is.

    So no, I wouldn't give up a year. - 6/30/2014   12:58:37 PM
  • RUSSELL_40
    For those of you willing to give up an entire year of your lives.. you could just commit to eating healthy and exercising for that year, and would see huge results. Back in 2001, my cardiologist told me I had 6 months to live, and I have been making changes ever since. So far 13 years extra, by losing 180 lbs., and increasing exercise to an hour a day. If I could have traded it all for 1 year off my life, I would take it. I think this is just about being easier than spending the next 3 years undoing our 20's.

    I know this is supposed to be about us loving our bodies, but since most of us are more than a year away from being fit, and the benefit would be greater than a year, the answer should be an obvious yes.. not because of self-loathing, but simple arithmetic.

    Of course, this is impossible, but committing to a year of being healthy isn't. It's harder, but if you were willing to give up the entire year anyway, might as well give it up to healthy food, and exercise. That IS possible. - 6/23/2014   4:15:22 PM
    No way! my body is strong and functional. A year of my life, when every day is so precious? - 6/22/2014   2:44:34 PM
  • 268
    No way! Imperfections are what make us human, unique, beautiful, interesting, compassionate, empathetic, and provide our motivation to connect with other imperfect humans, you know those fascinating and adorable creatures. I've spent my whole life delightfully and happily imperfect so thus I have experienced much joy that the perfect body me would have missed. Imperfections are our stimulus to reach for humanity, growth, knowledge, excellence, gratitude, love, the striving for which is the source of human happiness and human kindness. I'll settle for healthy, strong, functional and uniquely and beautifully me body, with all the warts God so graciously gave me so that I can have all those other blessings. Give up a year of my wonderful life just for a perfect body that won't last anyway! No thanks! - 6/22/2014   2:20:24 PM
    If I keep the body I have, I might live to 65. If I trade it in for a healthy body, I could live to 95' minus one for the cost of trade in. So yes, the trade would be well worth it - an increase of 24 more years of healthy life! - 6/22/2014   12:12:33 PM
  • 266
    It kind of depends... I voted yes, because is the difference between 92 years and 93 years on this earth such a big deal in return for a body that I feel confident in? Sure! I'm fit and healthy and I've done the work. But, I still don't love my figure and have a body I'm confident in. I figure that I've got a good 9 decades of life in me and I don't know that it would be such a big deal to knock off a year at the end to feel terrific between now and then. - 6/22/2014   11:12:06 AM
  • 265
    I would give up a year because to me, the rest of the years of my life with that body would be happy years & not miserable ones. It would be years that I would do MORE with my family and be able to actually play with my kids. I would be able to feel comfortable at the water park and then I would take my kids there more often. It's all about quality not quantity. Those years with that body would be better then living one extra year miserable in a body I hate. - 12/8/2013   3:03:34 PM
  • 264
    Yes, because I'd probably have more years from which to give up one. - 12/8/2013   4:14:40 AM
  • 263
    I see this question as A Year of my Life as far as completely giving up unhealthy habits and to start working out... not as literally giving up a year of living, or die early, to lose weight. I think people are interpreting the question differently. As far as the family/friends part, I would never do that, but isn't that what they are doing on shows like Biggest Loser?! They leave their families to become better. As far as health goes, isn't that what people do by taking weight loss pills? This article does not surprise me at all. And like I said, it all depends on interpretation because I didn't mean giving up a year of life the way that some people mean it. - 9/16/2013   12:42:07 PM
    I would give up many things for a healthy body but the " perfect" body is not worth giving up there things. - 9/3/2013   3:41:36 PM
  • 261
    I think I have spent more than a year over my lifetime planning meals, looking for healthy choices on menus, being physically active. my body is not perfect, but its mine. There are no short cuts to worthwhile goals. The effort makes the sucess all the more sweet. - 9/2/2013   12:14:08 PM
  • 260
    I said undecided because it all depends on how you interpret this one! In all honesty, I "give up" all the time I spend working out, planning foods, preparing healthy options, studying and Sparking. You might say I already have given up a year to this effort. Is my body "perfect" in terms of air-brushed model perfection? Heck no... but that's not my goal! My goal is healthy, not external looks. And for that... darn right I'll give up "whatever it takes" and count it well worth the trade... because I feel good, inside and out. - 9/2/2013   5:40:04 AM
  • 259
    If we gave up a year to be 'perfect', wouldn't we miss all the lessons learned and all the joy gained? If we didn't appreciate how we attained 'perfection' how would we know how to maintain it? How would your mental and spiritual side have changed? Or would it have? Would we continue to pick on our perceived flaws and never attain that peaceful contentment with who we are? - 9/1/2013   5:51:10 PM
  • 258
    If you are willing to give up a year of your life for a fit and healthy body, then let that year start today! With diet and exercise changes by next year at this time you will feel much better. The benefit to this plan is that you can still be alive for the entire year that you "give up". Really you should "give up" on old habits that hold you back from living your best life. - 9/1/2013   5:09:47 PM
    i am willing to do the work and learn the life lessons....not willing to miss this oppertunity - 9/1/2013   4:25:01 PM
    i am willing to do the work and learn the life lessons....not willing to miss this oppertunity - 9/1/2013   4:25:01 PM
    I feel I AM giving up a year of my life to get a healthy weight and body. I have started going to the gym 3 times a week. Water aerobics class, strength training, then 30 minutes cardio. That's 3.5 hours x 3 days weekly x 52 weeks per year. Then, I'm on Spark People for articles to help me in my efforts, tracking my food on the food journal. Easily, 1/2 hour daily x 365 days per year. Grocery shopping and food preparation to cook at home versus going out to eat or going through the drive-through adds time devoted to my trek. So, yes I do feel like I'm giving up a year of my life - but I'm doing it willingly to become a better and healthier me. - 9/1/2013   12:20:07 PM
  • 254
    If I'm 102, have alzheimer's, receiving around the clock medical care, etc. Then perhaps I could give up 103 to have a lifetime with a perfect body. (But it would have to be a perfect body and healthy 24-7 no matter what I do.) - 9/1/2013   11:58:46 AM
  • 253
    He's my thing: I am overweight. Not to the point of being dangerously overweight, but 160 lbs on a 5 foot frame is not healthy. Statistically, I will live 10-14 years longer if I lose this weight. So would it be worth it to me for that figure to become 9-14 years instead? Totally. And I would definitely got for it if the fat melted off overnight. That would be awesome. Because I haven't lost weight in weeks. - 9/1/2013   9:59:19 AM
  • 252
    I think this is an interesting topic, ripe for discussion. As Rebecca LM said: "I'm working hard to get a great body AND extra years" - 9/1/2013   9:48:52 AM
  • 251
    Comment deleted by poster. - 9/1/2013   8:43:52 AM
  • 250
    The key to losing weight, honestly, is to believe in yourself - and that takes self-love, which is a problem for anyone that has a weight issue. It seems to be a vicious cycle.

    I decided that I was going to love myself, for WHO I AM, no matter what the number said. And once I started doing that, I started to eat right and exercise regularly, and the weight's been flying off since. It's because I am WORTH that - that's self-love. - 9/1/2013   7:06:19 AM
  • 249
    I don't think we have to give up a year of our life for a healthy body -- only bad habits that we have accumulated to be in our current state. I think we need to change our bad habits to good habits and to open our minds even perhaps wake up to some of the bad habits we don't even know we have. - 5/24/2013   10:30:27 AM
  • 248
    I'm working hard to get a great body AND extra years. - 5/20/2013   8:17:27 AM
  • 247
    I'm willing to give up anything on my food plan except Paleo since that is what is working for me. So no more wheat or other starchy flours, no more dairy, no cereals, no sugar or sweeteners or additives of any kind. Real food is all I am eating I am willing to give up everything else. - 5/17/2013   5:34:22 PM
  • 246
    No Way!!! - 5/12/2013   10:36:42 AM
    NEVER, there is no such thing as perfect in this life. Media brainwashing has deluded to many people and caused so much harm. Life is to precious to give away. - 4/30/2013   11:15:33 AM
    NO! I know that all things change. I do not have to be perfect, just healthy and fit. There are are other things way more important than that. Family is right at the top. We are not here for ever so make the most of it. - 4/28/2013   4:57:25 PM
    Happiness comes from within. It is important to be healthy in all aspects of being: physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally. I would rather have a balanced life that I could enjoy in good health than to aim for any sort of external idealized notion of perfection. Life is beautiful and short.... I'd never give up a year willingly. - 4/26/2013   1:32:05 PM
  • DEWIE1945
    No! Quality of life doesn't depend on a perfect body. I believe a better body will extend life and it is achievable without that kind of sacrifice. As a survivor, I have no hope of ever being "perfect," but am more than aware it would not be satisfying at any cost. - 4/26/2013   10:18:42 AM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a weekly summary of our diet and fitness advice We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.