By Ursula Hirschkorn
Last updated at 4:26 PM on 8th October 2010
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What woman doesn’t believe that losing a few pounds would somehow make her happier? That if her thighs were less wobbly and her jeans less tight she would become a new woman, that all her problems would melt away with the fat?
We all believethat being slim is the path to happiness because everything we see and read tells us so, from the slender models that grace the pages of fashion magazines to the teeny tiny celebrities in movies and on TV.
Is being slim the path to happiness? Ursula Hirschkorn says women who believe this are chasing a false lie
Never mind that half of these women are forever in the throes of painful divorces,wedded to serial cheaters or longing to find the perfect man with whom to settle down and have babies. They are thin, therefore they must be happy. Right?
The 24-year study of thousands of people found that obesity leads to more misery and suffering than being single, while being thin provides more satisfaction than a relationship.
Psychologist Dr Pam Spurr commented on the report, confirmingthat in her experience a woman's weight has more impact on her happiness than her love life.
I grew up believing this myth, and it’s only now, as an overweight and happily married mother-of-four, that I can say with any conviction what a false lie these women are chasing.
'Happiness does not come in the form of a pair of size-6 jeans. I know, I’ve worn them — and grown out of them'
Happiness doesnot come in the form of a pair of size-6 jeans. I know, I’ve worn them — and grown out of them.
I was a slim child, sporty and horse-mad. It was only when I started studying for my A-levels, grazing on biscuits throughout my revision, that the weight began to creep on.
University compounded the problem further. Pints of cider and late-night trips to the chip shop saw my weight creep up past the11st mark, and had me squeezing into size-16 clothes, which was heavy for my 5ft 3in frame. I went on my first diet in my early 20s, and so began the battle that was to dominate my adult life.
I am now 39 and have yo-yo’d from a size 6 to a size 20, following countless diets over the years. I let the fact I was fat sap my confidence.
I even stayed in a bad relationship because my lowself-esteem led me to believe I didn’t deserve anyone better: we’d been together since I was 17 and married when I was 24, but it lasted 18 months.
It had run its course long before that, but I was always worried I’d never find anyone else — because
I was fat. When we finally divorced, I discovered the magic diet I had been searching for. I lived on tears, late nights and heartbreak and the stones meltedaway to the point where my friends worried I was anorexic.
A woman's weight has a greater effect on her spirits than her love life does, according to a recent study
A size-6 skirt hung off me and I should have been triumphant — it was all I had longed for! But being thin didn’t make up for a broken marriage.
Eventually, my heart began to mend, but I was determined that my happier frame ofmind wouldn’t mean I began to pile on the pounds again. I stuck to a rigid regime to keep my weight under control.
I exercised every day and monitored every mouthful that went into my mouth. I went up to a healthier size 8 to 10, but I was still miserable.
My whole life revolved around counting calories and I felt guilty if I ever let my diet slip. I would go out with friends and watch as theytucked into a lovely meal, while I forced myself to pick at a salad starter, convinced that if I let my iron grip on my appetite slip it would be downhill all the way.
I did enjoy having my pick of clothes. I love fashion and being fat casts you out of all designer and most High Street stores. But I am not sure if the rush of being able to wear anything on the rail counts as being happy.