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Not having children does not make you automatically fit

By Nina Steele 

Nina Steele in the countrysidePictures of Jennifer Aniston sunbathing in Italy recently, attracted thousands of comments, mostly about her body. One recurring comment was that she is still in great shape at 49 because she has no children. I have heard this argument many times, and of course it does not stand up to scrutiny. Being in good shape is often a mixture of genes and lifestyle choices. In the same way that not all mothers struggle with their weight, not all women without children are fit.

Talking of mothers who have remained fit, I don’t have to look too far to find a few examples. I will start with my own mother, who, after 7 children, has remained the same extra small size. On the other hand, I know of women without children who have struggled with weight related issues their whole lives.

Personally, even though I have always been slim, I noticed my weight creeping up at some stage. Giving up alcohol and reducing my food portions, 7 years ago, has meant that my weight has dropped considerably. I went from weighing 65 kg in 2011, to my current 52 kg. Incidentally, my mother does not drink either, and never has, which may explain why she has remained the same size her whole life. I know now as a matter of fact that exercise alone, is not enough. To keep the weight off permanently, often requires some additional lifestyle changes.

Going back to the article on Jennifer Aniston, one comment summed up this mistaken belief about women without children quite well. The comment read: “Hasn’t had any children that’s how”, to which another person replied: “It is so sad when people use having children as an excuse for not being in shape”.

Everyone has to work at being fit, regardless of whether they happen to be non-parents or parents. Yes it is true that there are some people who regardless of their lifestyle choices, never seem to put on weight. But I think we can all agree that these people are in the minority. It’s not by chance that the diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry.

The last thing we want, is for women without children to be held to a different standard. Imagine someone telling you that you have no excuse for being the size you are, because you have no children. As if being stigmatised for not having children was not enough.

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