The path to external, bodily fulfilment apparently never did run smooth - and it doesn’t look like anything has changed. The number of cosmetic procedures carried out in 2011 emphasises how outward appearance has little suffered, even during times of economic turmoil, and the desire for peace of mind, as well as being at peace with the body, is experiencing a high as the new year gets underway.
In some respects, this does not come as much of a surprise, considering the ideals of the society in which we live; yet, in such contemporary times, are we surprised by the rise in the number of men opting for cosmetic surgery in a largely female-dominated field of health?
According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), the biggest change in surgery figures were for male abdominoplasty, or tummy tucks, which saw an increase of 15 %, compared to a 7% increase in that for women.
Whereas it should not be out of the ordinary for men to want to lead healthy lifestyles and to keep the risk of obesity at bay, it is perhaps a little unexpected that the effects of significant weight loss - such as excess skin - should be such a pressing issue when the realization of a goal (to lose weight) has already been achieved.
Statistics show that losing the weight simply isn’t enough; that the desire to be entirely comfortable in one’s own skin is led by the desire to be aesthetically pleasing and emotionally at ease, in addition to being medically sound and fit.
The fact that 10% of cosmetic surgery is comprised of male procedures may be a higher figure than anticipated, shows the general compliance in believing that the cosmetic world affects only women and is a consequence of various, supposedly female, psychological issues.
Fazel Fatah, President of BAAPS, commented how “patients are looking to get the most ‘impact’ from their surgery to enhance their mental wellbeing and self-confidence.” Perhaps, as men feel the pressure to maintain their health, they also feel the mental strain which often accompanies the desire for perfection.
For some men, it is easy to keep fit; for others, it can be an uphill battle, and lack of motivation and willpower further inhibits following a healthy diet and regularly exercising. Perhaps it is this which is the trigger for the surge in male cosmetic procedures – 21st century men embracing a new age where it is alright for them to take pride in and feel concern for their appearance.
But is surgery really the option? Regardless of gender, such drastic, often permanent, changes can make a big difference to the lives we are used to, and such invasive measures need to be considered seriously. Leading lifestyles detrimental to our health doesn’t give us the right to choose surgery as an easy way out to escape the determination and strength it requires to look after ourselves properly.
With health issues such as obesity, the need to examine the way we live is imperative in deciding whether or not weight loss surgery is the way forward. The physical and psychological implications must be prepared for, which can only be done by the absolute need to lose weight. Really, it should be done for medical benefit, which in many cases will alleviate other various pressures felt by suffering patients.
There are, of course, more common means of controlling body image, either by learning to love what we’ve been blessed with or by working that little bit harder to obtain inner and outer peace. But sometimes, it’s not always that easy and we could use that extra boost to help us reach our goals.
How many of those men opting for a tummy tuck last year considered alternative options in their quest to trim down? Could surgery have been avoided in any of those cases?
It goes without saying that a good diet and suitable amount of exercise helps to keep us fit, the benefits of which should never be underestimated. But for those who feel the pressures of busy jobs and busy lifestyles, there are aids such as prescription weight loss treatments which could increase the effectiveness of tackling obesity.
Whatever methods of weight loss we choose to explore, we should take care to cater to our individual needs, and be sensible in our choices.