“I eat cupcakes and I don’t work out! But if you ask me in 10 years, I’m going to regret answering that way now. I don’t even drink water, I’m terrible! I’m 24 now, so I guess I’ve been very, very lucky that it doesn’t show that I like to eat. I should probably start working out I guess…”
It all started with this quote from Gossip Girl actress Blake Lively. After I stifled my feelings of insane jealousy – yes, Ms. Lively you are blessed indeed! – I had to give her props for at least realizing that she might possibly someday regret the way she treats her body now. Because for all of us this side of 20 (or 30 or 40), there is at least one thing that we look back on and regret doing in regards to our health. For myself, it mainly centers around not wearing sunscreen until I was in my early 20′s and both my parents got skin cancer.
So, for a recent assignment for Shape.com I got to collect health regrets from various celebs, bloggers and people who are neither celebrities nor bloggers but who are still all of the awesome.
Some surprised me: Tori Spelling regrets her boob job — not because they look horrible on her teeny tiny frame but because the implants got in the way of breastfeeding. (Can I just say that I really disliked Tori during her whole 90210 years but now that she’s a mom I kinda adore her?) Brooke Shields was overweight as a kid (really?!) AND my Facebook (and blog) friend Colleen posed with an iguana on her bare back without screaming, fainting or trying to whack it with a chair by awkwardly swinging it over her head and possibly concussing herself. You know, like I would have done. (Even more surprising, her health regret had nothing to do with contracting salmonella from reptiles…)
Others made me sad: Singer Cheryl Cole said of herself after a night of binge drinking, “I walked past the mirror and caught a glimpse of someone. I had no idea who she is.” And my blog friend Leah of Adjusted Reality confessed ”I thought I was too ‘old’ in my 20′s to be active, that it would be too ‘hard’ to be healthy, and that I was meant to be fat and sedentary.” (Although Leah turned that one around to the tune of 100+ pounds gone!)
And still others made me giggle: Kymberly of Fun and Fit only has fashion regrets, “I wore those double leg warmers and bandanas with pride and color coordination, don’t you know! But did I get pics? And do I have record of my full-body leotards and long tights with feet in them? I think not.” And Gym Buddy Megan’s mom even contributed, saying, “[I didn't] take care of my beautiful skin when I was younger. I took it for granted, soaked up more sun than I should have. I hope my daughter, Megan, reads this and remembers to cleanse and moisturize!” (She did and does, Mama Gym Buddy!)
But while the slideshow covered the biggies, I didn’t get to put on some of my personal – read: quirky – health regrets. Here are my top 5:
1. Q-Tips in ears. Eargasm! Heaven help I can’t stop myself. Even though I once had to get embedded wax suctioned off my eardrum with a very loud thingy at the doctor’s office and it hurt way more than you’d think. Ear drums DO have nerve endings!
2. Using my fingers and toilet paper to remove makeup. (When I bothered to remove it at all.) All that old advice about being gentle removing your makeup? Hogwash, I thought in high school. I have great skin and no wrinkles because
I’m amazing and I’m going to not-age just like Jane Seymour I’m 15.
3. Not realizing that putting my bike shorts on top of my leo in gymnastics didn’t hide the cameltoe any better. Also not realizing that putting my bike shorts under babydoll dresses a la Claire Danes in My So-Called Life didn’t make the dresses any more flattering. (Ah sack dresses. So comfy yet so bloaty.) Ok, how about just all bike shorts while not actually on a bike?
4. All those years eating fake health food. Yes I was the Snackwell’s queen but I’m also including the vegetarian staple seitan and all the lemon wedges I gnawed on (healthy, yes, but soooo bad for my enamel).
5. All that time lost on cardio equipment. Treadmills, stair climbers, bikes, moving sidewalks at the airport – so many ways to go… nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, I still use them sometimes (when I have no other options) but it still bums me out to run all those miles and then end up exactly where I started. At the very least I should have been a bike messenger. (Nevermind, scratch that last one – moving sidewalks are just crazy fun.)
Do you have something you wish you could go back and tell your younger self not to do? Do you regret your q-tip love or treadmill time?