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Body image - Who wants to look like Elle McPherson anyway?

At Empower we love the thought of positive role-models. There is nothing more motivating than constantly referring back to a photo of someone you would like to look like, and measuring your progress as you move towards your goal.

However, we are also mindful that the goals you set need to be realistic. There is nothing more disheartening than seeing someone striving to reach an unrealistic goal.


We all recognise that trying to be 6 foot tall when you stopped growing at 5 foot 5" is impossible. Our genetic make up determined that we would be around 5 foot 5" before we were even born. Many people however, overlook the fact that their skeletal frame also helps to dictate the size and shape of their body.

If you are genetically pre-disposed to having a large frame size, no matter what you do you will not safely drop your weight below a certain point.

Remember, the aim for all of us is not to look like a movie star - it is to reach a weight that makes you look and feel good about yourself, and will promote good health for the rest of your life.

Exercise requirements

If you want to look like a movie star or an elite athlete be prepared to work out like they do!

We are not all built the same, nor do we have lifestyles that allow us to spend hours each day working on those problem areas. There is nothing wrong with aiming to achieve that elusive "perfect body" - just be realistic about what it is that you are trying to achieve. It is possible to look like a movie star or athlete, but you will need to put in at least the same amount of work as they do! To give you an idea of what that entails, here are a few well known examples:

Julia Roberts (of "Pretty Woman" fame) has a body that many would envy. To keep in shape she follows a strict exercise regime. When at home in New York she attends a step aerobics class at least a couple of times per week. She also does weight training with professional instructors at a local gym. To burn those excess calories, she regularly goes for a run around Manhattan. When on location, Julia has a pre-planned exercise regime and will often jump on the exercise bike in her trailer when waiting between scenesÉ

For many tennis fans worldwide, Anna Kournikova has a look worth striving for. In fact her look, personality and intelligence has made her far more money to date than her tennis victories have - not a mean feat considering she is currently ranked around 10 in the world. To keep in shape Anna trains six days a week, for six hours a day. Whether it is her morning run, her weights training sessions, or her abdominal work-outs, she puts in 110% to what she is doing.. Her motivation is to be the best tennis player she can be.

Whilst we would love everyone to have the motivation and time to exercise like the above public figures we realise that it is not always possible. However, do not use this as an excuse for not doing any exercise.

Everyone can make the time to exercise for a minimum of half an hour at least 3 times a week. How many half hour television shows have you watched in the past week? How many of these shows had the ability to improve your energy levels and concentration, decrease your risk of major illness in later life, or enhance your outlook on lifeÉ?

"Remember - being thin means nothing if you're not healthy and happy with who you are."