Would You Trade a Year of Your Life to Be Thin?

According to a new study, many women say "yes"

Jenna Bergen

Would you go six feet under a year earlier than the Big Guy Upstairs intended if, in the snap of two fingers, you were suddenly thinner? No dieting. No sweating. Just—poof! A few pounds lighter. According to a new study by British researchers, nearly one third of young women would do just that. They would give up 365 days for a smaller jeans size. One percent—*cough* the crazy ones *cough*—said they would give up 21 years of their life for the perfect body. Twenty-one years.

I have to admit that if the weight-loss genie was hovering in front of me promising that the year he was about to cross off would be my 99th and I would be so old and so wrinkled and so beyond exhausted from living out my 98 years in my perfectly fit, svelte body that I would be too out of it to even notice … well … shoot. I might take him up on it. And I’m hoping that the 16 percent of women who decided to pony up that precious year for a perfect body were thinking the same thing, and that they didn’t okay their early demise after giving the option any serious thought.

Because if I start to think about the fact that none of us know how many days we’ll be on the planet and how much time we actually will get to enjoy all of the amazing experiences we often take for granted—friends, family, snuggling under the covers with the person you love, the smell of coffee on lazy Saturday mornings, good food, all of it—there’s no way I’d gamble away 365 days for a few pounds. And I hope any reasonable woman would feel the same.

Of course, the option isn’t on the table (the weight-loss genie doesn’t really exist; You can stop hunting for lamps on Ebay), and, even if it was, more than 80 percent of women weren’t willing to bite the dust early for a thinner reflection. However, I think that many women—myself included, at times—waste days, months, even years, focused on appearance.

Perhaps the question the researchers should have asked is this: Would you focus on your imperfections if you knew you only had one year left to live? I think we all know the answer to that one.