Body Image: Are There Options For Improvement Without A Surgical Intervention?

Body image is a subject that we're constantly confronted with - and for good reason. The statistics on the number of women who are comfortable with their body is, to put it mildly, shocking. There have been numerous studies giving a variety of different percentages, but on average, only about 20% of women are happy with the way they look.

This is seriously alarming. There are huge questions that society has to ask itself for the number of unhappy women has grown - and keeps on growing. But those are issues for a different day.
For many women, the only way to feel comfortable with their bodies is to go for surgery. They just have to fix that one little issue - their perceived-to-be big nose; their "muffin top" - and then, they figure, they will be happy. To an extent, that makes sense. If there's one particular area that you just can't abide, why not get rid of it?
I was shocked to learn that the answer is actually simple: because it doesn't work. With what these women thought was their primary issue taken care of, they just zoom in on a new primary. A secondary concern gets a promotion. It's far too easy to get addicted to surgery, as women continually go for "just one more" fix.
At this point, I could launch into a torrent about how you are special and beautiful in your own way. That you are not defined by your body - I could be a lengthy Instagram-inspiration post.
It doesn't work, though. We live in a world where a touch of cellulite is enough to splash a celebrity across the front of gossip magazines. It'd be nice if we all caught up and did embrace our natural beauty, but recently, Gigi Hadid - a literal supermodel - ran in a campaign about realistic beauty. How very realistic! World, we have to do better at this.
If you have an issue with your body, then it's not vain to want to get rid of it. But it's also not necessary to resort to surgery to fix it. Surgery is a complicated procedure that has severe threats. Even people who know about the dangers of general anesthesia somehow convince themselves it doesn't apply to cosmetic surgery - but the risks are just as real.
So what you can end up having is a situation where you not only don't resolve your body hang-up, but you make yourself seriously unwell. I think it's time for some alternatives, don't you?
I can't promise they will work as well as surgery, because that the nuclear bomb of an option. Instead, the suggestions I have below are compromises to lessen the severity of your problem area. A 50% improvement without surgery seems like a good compromise to me!
You Think: Your nose is too big.
The Surgical Option: Rhinoplasty - more commonly referred to as a nose-job.
What You Should Do Instead: Think like a Kardashian.
Yes, really. A Kardashian.
What I'm referring to here is the makeup trick of contouring. It's been a staple of the stage and screen for years, but the Kardashians - particularly Kim - brought it into the mainstream. The whole concept of contouring is about emphasizing the good areas of your face.
Contouring your way to a smaller nose is not only possible, but surprisingly easy. You won't need to spend a fortune on makeup to do it, either - most budget brands are now creating their own contouring kits.
It's not going to reduce the size of your nose in a literal way, but considering the complications of rhinoplasty - is it not worth giving it a go?
You Think: Your muffin top is a disaster.
The Surgical Option: Liposuction
What You Should Do: Target the right areas with the right treatments and be aware of which it's an issue for you.
The easy answer here seems to be "lose weight and exercise". However, there is a reason - a proper, scientific reason - that we store fat around our waistlines. The rest of you might be perfectly in proportion and toned, and you still have problems with that stubborn area around your waist.
Losing weight is not necessarily the answer to this problem, but exercise is. However, this isn't just a case of grab your running shoes and throw yourself on a treadmill. Dealing with this area has to be done in a targeted way, so your normal cardio (which impacts the whole body) isn't going to cut it. A thousand and one sit-ups won't have the answer either.
The area you need to target is referred to in Pilates as the "B line". If you put your hand on your hip, you should be able to feel to the very top of the pelvis. Then, trace a line - beneath your belly button - across to the other side, to the same pelvic point. This is the B line, and it's the area you need to work to reduce a muffin top.
Pilates is a fantastic option for this. It's far superior to sit-ups, which work the abdominals - too high for where you need to target. Exercises such as hip curls will focus the B line.
Even with good toning, this area can still be problematic. It's that evolutionary problem biting your modern self once again! But worry not - there are still plenty of other options other than lipo, so don't go for the nuclear option just yet.
You Think: You look older than your years, thanks to facial lines and wrinkles.
The Surgical Option: Face lift
What You Should Do: Examine a few habits.
The first thing that you should do is remember that face lifts can, and do, go very wrong indeed. Not just concerning health, but in terms of how they look - as many a celebrity has found out. Unless done by a real expert, there is a falseness to a face lift that is unmissable. Maybe that's okay for you in exchange for fewer wrinkles, but it's something you have to be aware of.
It is said that a good anti-ageing regime needs to start early to be effective. There might be some truth in this, but there's still plenty of option if you already have facial lines in situ.
The first thing is to examine the way you're sleeping. Sleep lines can become wrinkles as you age, which seems unfair given gravity is usually the culprit.
Silk pillowcases can make a huge difference to sleep lines, allowing existing ones to fade and preventing new ones from forming. They are also purported to have some benefit for hair too, making it less prone to frizz. If a silk pillowcase sounds expensive, then bear in mind it's still a lot cheaper than the full surgical option!
You should also try and sleep on your back as much as possible. The more you squash your face against your pillow, the more lines there is the possibility of creating. It can be difficult to train yourself to sleep on your back, but it is possible if you persevere. You can even buy special pillows to support your neck - if you're comfortable, you're less likely to want to roll over!
As for the wrinkles themselves, the scientific developments going into everyday cleansers, toners and moisturisers are staggering. Do your research and see what might help you the most. I can't directly recommend given that what works for you will depend on your skin type, but the options are truly astounding.
You Think: Your breasts are too small or not perky enough.
The Surgical Option: Breast Augmentation or lift.
What You Should Do:
First off, try and remember that completely naturally perky breasts are pretty impossible - or reserved for 20-year-olds. As gravity takes its toll on our fragile bodies, everything is pulled downwards.
However, that doesn't mean you can't yank them up! A good bra is the place to start. A shocking number of women don't actually wear the right bra size, so go and get measured by an expert who can guide you correctly. Also be aware that your bra size will change, especially if your weight fluctuates. You may even need different bras for particular times of the month, as your hormonal changes can make your breasts bigger.
With the right scaffolding in place (so to speak), you can begin to help in other areas. Pectoral muscles are so often used in reference to men, but of course, women have them too. When you strengthen and tone this area, a useful side effect is that your breasts will become more pert. As the muscles beneath and around them tighten, everything else will be lifted upwards.
For the size problem - there is no particular way of boosting size without surgery. You can try herbal, alternative remedies to trick your body into thinking it is permanently hormonal, but that tends to mean month-long PMS. Again, maybe that would be worth it for you - but check with a doctor beforehand.
What you can do is invest in good underwear and exercise to improve your appearance when clothed. Considering the risks you face not just from the general surgery but from implants themselves, it doesn't seem like a bad exchange.
*This is a collaborative post, please read my full disclosure here.

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