Shine On

Women fret over their bodies three times a day, says study

Is it possible to quantify how often we worry about our bodies? A survey says 3 times a day. (Thinkstock)Let's face it. We think about our bodies. A lot.

And if images of the perfect physique were prevalent before, they're absolutely inescapable now, whether it's a headline screaming "Get Fit for Bikini Season" over an airbrushed posterior, or a Kardashian discussing her (expensive and sponsored) diet and exercise regime.

But a recent study carried out by hotel chain Travelodge claims researchers have managed to quantify the amount of times the average U.K. woman thinks about her figure.

That magic number? Three.

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According to the informal study, seven in ten British females fret over the way they look an average of three times a day.

And it's not just a female domain anymore. The same study found that 61 per cent of British males worry about flabby abs and undefined pecs.

What's more, 80 per cent of those polled believed their lives would become an endless parade of sunshine and lollipops if only they looked like David Beckham or Gisele Bundchen.

The most villainous body part proved to be the stomach, with 75 per cent of all those polled lamenting several extra pounds around their midsection.

Next up on the least popular list?

For women it was legs, bum, arms and hips, while men conceded that their arms and shoulders could use more gym time.

Travelodge spokesperson Shakila Ahmed weighed in on the findings and blamed our obsession with celebrity culture for the obsessional uptick.

"It's staggering that such a large proportion of men and women find themselves worrying about their weight every day," she says.

"Stars like Cameron Diaz and Kim Kardashian as well David Beckham are thought to have the 'perfect' figure… Many Brits feel the pressure to look just as good and it's having a huge impact on their lives."

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While it's a stretch to think researchers can pin an exact figure on the mental resources we allot toward our body, no doubt the pressure to look perfect has managed to infiltrate our daily lives.

You could even argue that body anxiety has become a social norm, with many women bonding over their abdominal concerns and the same number of men competing over who puts in the most time on the weight bench.

It's a noteworthy preoccupation at a time when weight levels are hitting all-time highs across much of the planet.

The BBC recently published a "global fat scale" that assigns readers a new nationality based on their BMI and the average weight of listed countries.

Here in Canada, our average weight levels are also increasing and so is our preoccupation with them.

A Statistics Canada self-reporting survey shows that from 2003 - 2011 obesity among men rose 3.8 per cent and 2.3 per cent among women.

The Telegraph reports that British women have become the heaviest in Europe, with an average Body Mass Index (BMI) of 26.9. British men were at 26.6.

A healthy BMI for adults ranges from 18.5 to 25, depending on gender and height.

The Canadian Women's Health Network warned that girls as young as 5 and 6 are taking measures to control their weight. And if children that young are already conscious of their body image, imagine how much that will grow by the time they hit puberty.

So what do you think? Does three times a day sound right, or are the researchers way off base?

Watch the video below about how your work office could be contributing to weight gain.

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