It’s documented that a portion of the population suffers from low self-esteem and body image issues. Some of those individuals may be willing to make significant sacrifices to obtain the “ideal body,” suggests The Succeed Foundation Body Image Survey, which included 320 women from 20 British universities. The women ranged in age from 18 to 65, with an average age of 24.5 years. The data revealed that 30% of respondents would trade at least 1 year of life to achieve ideal body weight and shape. More than 10% of them would be willing to deduct nearly $8,300 from their annual salary. The dissatisfaction may not be a surprise, considering that nearly 50% of the respondents admitted to having been bullied or ridiculed about their appearance and 93% recalled having negative thoughts about their appearance during the week prior to the survey.

“As someone who works with hundreds of women in the realm of body change as well as behavioral and mindset aspects of the process, the findings do not surprise me at all,” says Jill Coleman, owner of JillFit Physiques in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “In my opinion this study is less about superficiality [wanting to be thin] and more about the achievement of happiness.”

Do you find yourself experiencing feelings of dissatisfaction when looking in the mirror? Coleman believes that a focus on the journey can help improve body image. Here are Coleman’s tips for focusing on progress, not perfection:

  • Focus on Inches and Circumference. Inches never lie, whereas a scale or bioelectrical impedance device can show great fluctuations in fat, muscle and water.
  • Use Nontraditional Measures. How is your program impacting sleep, cravings, hunger, stress management or interpersonal relationships? Monitoring these types of parameters can give you a clue as to how the program impacts physiology and psychology.
  • Live the Lifestyle. Self-acceptance is a process. With time and consistent practice, people can overcome physical, mental and emotional barriers.

The research information was adapted from a press release from Medical News Today.