What do you think of the ladies in the above picture? Do you like them? Do you admire their current bodies? Would you believe me if I told you that this is not the ideal female body shape? No offence to these models and all the skinny ladies in the world but the fact of the matter is being skinny is not having a perfect body. To me it looks like you are not being fed. Although beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, I wanted to venture into the past and the present to define the perfect female body. A body shape that both Jesus and President Obama, can give a thumbs-up on. The hourglass figure.
Although the current media worships the skinny look, don’t believe that to be perfect. Some women have such gorgeous curves and still consider themselves fat. I grew up in the era of the skinny model, and I have known many women who literally stress over their body size. Although I may have my own definition of an Ideal body, I do however find the notion of idolizing skinny women as sad. Another thing is, the same models that are glorified in the western media might not be glorified in other countries. The ideal female body shape varies in different cultures.
The world and history’s perspective of the hourglass figure.
A social experiment was conducted in 2012 to determine the ideal female body measurements. They questioned 40 females and 40 males (all Caucasian) regarding this topic and used BMI (Body Mass Index) to identify the median. By the way, BMI is body mass/body height. They discovered that both sexes identified female beauty as ladies with a below 19 BMI and a fairly curvaceous body. Basically tall and skinny with a little curves. A UK lingerie company took this research to the next level. They did the research in a larger scope with men and women of many different ages. They found that men’s taste is completely different from ladies taste. The images below show the difference.
When it comes to breasts and butt, there is also a determinant in most cultures. Scientifically speaking, big breasts and large hips determine fertility. Hips determine that a lady can easily conceive babies where as big breasts determine that she can store more milk for the baby. There has been multiple researches on the topic of breast and butt size. A research in Georgia Gwinett College determined that curvy female bodies reward man the same way as drugs. In another research done at the University of Nebraska, they found that the larger the female assets, the longer the male stares. A study in UC Santa Barbara suggests that women with thicker butts and thighs have a reproductive advantage. Extra fat in these areas contain omega-3 fatty acids to help moms and their baby’s brain during pregnancy. In terms of history, the media has always publicized different female body shapes in different eras. A quick summary of the eras can be seen in the image below:
The ancient Greek calculated perfection based on the Golden ratio (Phi). The Golden ratio is an irrational number used to determine aesthetic proportions. It can be seen all over nature and in architecture. Plastic surgeons use phi in reconstructive surgery. Leonardo Da Vinci also saw the perfect man to fit the golden ratio based on the Vestuvian man. A great article on how beauty can be determined by the golden ratio can be found here.
- Determinants of youth like large eyes and small noses.
- Determinants of sexual arousal and interest like redder lips, dilated pupils etc.
- Health determinants like good skin, fit body, long legs, etc.
- Determinants of fertility like breasts, hips, butt, etc.
A lady’s face is considered beautiful if it meets certain proportions and also show fertility, attraction and youth. In terms of women bodies, there is also a median for that. The known term for the ideal body shape is the hourglass shape. I talk a little about the hour glass shape on my article titled, “what is your body type.” The hourglass shape is generally identified when your shoulders are almost the same size as the hips. Adding a large bust and a nice butt is what can be considered ideal. Now different races and cultures either prefer an extreme of these qualities, or the lesser side of these qualities, but none the less as long as you have an hourglass shape, then you are considered attractive. Here are some examples of ladies with different types of the hourglass shape.
We can all agree that these three ladies have an hourglass shape. Now let’s go into detail of the measurements that determine an hourglass shape. I mentioned before that an hourglass figure is when the shoulders are relatively similar in size with the hips, but the waist is relatively smaller than both. Research and correlation with the Golden ration considers the perfect hourglass shape as:
- What the waist measurement is equal to the height x 0.375.
- When the bust measurement is equal to the waist x 1.5
- When the hip measurement is equal to the bust measurement.
Note that the measurements should be in inches. As you can see, these calculations also consider height as a major determine due to proportions. For a 5 foot 4 inches lady, her perfect hourglass measurements would sum up to 36-24-36, i.e. 36″ bust, 24″ waist and 36″ hips. Note that these measurements are not portrayed in most magazine covers, and those skinny models that you see everywhere. Some of you might have the perfect hourglass shape but still feel the need to lose weight due to societies’ depiction of perfection. So what does all this mumbo jumbo amount to? Well for starters, we can all agree on what is considered the perfect female body shape, and now we can discuss on how to attain that. First let’s get a couple of facts and fundamentals out of the way.
- In order for you to change your long term image, you need to change your life.
- You cannot be a prisoner to society’s depiction of perfection.
- Good exercise and diet is unavoidable when it comes to wanting a better body.
- You have to have a long term goal and figure out how you will get there.
With that being said, a lot of ladies go about achieving ideal bodies the wrong way. They make a handful of naïve mistakes that they believe is working, but in reality it’s not. Let’s also not forget that most women are caught up between what they see in the billboards and magazines, what their husbands and boyfriends identify as ideal and what society and other people determine to be ideal. That’s a pretty crazy mix if you ask me. Society might generalize on a lot of so called, ‘Guaranteed ways to lose weight,’ and many women believe it. Some common mistakes women make are:
- Crash dieting (Drastically cutting the amount of calories consumption.)
- Too much cardio
- Not using weights
- Excessive, concentrated workouts
A lot of you may not know this, but dramatically cutting your calorie consumption is not a great long term idea. It may work great for the first couple of weeks but its very unsustainable. Meaning after a couple of months you will have to go back to normal eating habits. Unfortunately when you do that all the weight lost will be rapidly regained. When it comes to eating, you are not supposed to shock the body with a dramatic habit change. You need to start a well-structured diet that your body can be accustomed to. Juicing is one thing that I would recommend to everybody by the way. For more on good dieting, check out my article, “healthy eating.”
When it comes to cardio, it works super well for overweight individuals as it’s an exceptional way to burn calories. It may be a great way to lose weight but if you are not overweight, over doing cardio will lead the body to adapt to it, making you consume more energy and sugary foods. Ever wondered why sprinters are buff but cross country runners are skinny? Its because the body needs a lot more energy to sustain this habit. The body also begins to use oxygen and energy from the muscles to sustain this appetite. Another effect is the cortisol hormone that is produced. Cortisol uses up muscle tissue and slows down protein synthesis. Less muscle mass means a slower metabolism when the body is not active. Combine this with a lot of other effects makes it very easy to gain weight when the body is not active.
Muscle creation is also important. Not using weights at all is not a great idea. I mean you can have a great diet and a great cardio routine, but if you don’t create muscle, you will still have mostly blob underneath your skin. The only difference will be less blob. Excessive, repetitive, workouts is not a good idea neither. The body needs recovery time for the muscles to grow. You should evenly divide your workouts across a week, and make sure that in each workout, you are working hard enough. I have a short article on waist training exercises that suggests some great routines.
So what should be done to attain your ideal image?
Whatever you do, good dieting and exercise has to be a part of it. The new waist training trend is known to quickly get you the hourglass shape, but without dieting and exercise you will only have a demo version of the hourglass shape. Meaning it will only be temporary. However, the fact of the matter is, no workout or food out there can slim your waist the way a waist trainer does. Many celebrities swear that waist training is the key. I do agree that body shapers are a fundamental part of quickly attaining an hourglass shape. But the same celebrities should also stress the importance of exercising and dieting. I wrote an article on how celebrities lose weight post pregnancy with a technique that we call the waist vaporizer technique. I also have a waist training review that discusses how an amalgam of cardio, diet and waist training is the ideal way to gain the perfect hourglass shape.
Ending off, I would like to say forget society and its depiction of perfection. Killing yourself to be skinny is not the way to go. You have seen how most man prefer curvy compared to skinny. Even men’s magazine portray the ideal lady to be different as the one in women’s magazines. Don’t let the media fool you as the trend will eventually change. Your goals should not be influenced by others, they should only be your goals. Feel free to comment and share with me your thoughts.
And now your moment of zen:
- Crosley, Kara (2012). “What Is an Attractive Body? Using an Interactive 3D Program to Create the Ideal Body for You and Your Partner“. American Transcendental Quarterly.
- Gorostiaga, Esteban (1991). “Uniqueness of interval and continuous training at the same maintained exercise intensity“. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology.
- King, Jeffery (2001). “A Comparison of the Effects of Interval Training vs. Continuous Training on Weight Loss and Body Composition in Obese Pre-Menopausal Women“. East Tennessee State University.
- Talanian, Jason (2006). “Two weeks of high-intensity aerobic interval training increases the capacity for fat oxidation during exercise in women“. Journal of Applied Physiology.
- Calculator for Body fat norms in men and women. The American Council on Exercise
- Adam, S (2015). “Perfect Female Body Measurements – The Hourglass Shape.” Prime Health Solutions
- Jelardine, P (2014). “Scientific Reason why Curves are Attractive To Men.” Jelardine Phnea
- Maria, H (2015). “See how much the Perfect Female Body has changed over 100 years (it’s Crazy).” Greatist
- Gary, M (2013) “Facial Beauty and The New Golden Ratio.” Golden Number.
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