“Your face or your figure”?


TV chef Nigella Lawson caused a media stir recently with her appearance on Bondi Beach in a “burkini” and she’s made headlines again by declaring that she has no desire to lose her excess weight as, “if I lost 40lb, I would age ten years straight away.

Now, there is some truth to this. If you’re (a) more than a couple of stone overweight and (b) over 30, then losing the excess weight is likely to result in some loose skin which will naturally be most noticeable on the face.

Also, one of the ways in which the face ages is that it loses volume, which is why being underweight can be “aging”.

Being a healthy weight never is, but Lawson’s comments have fed into the mainstream media myth that “the best weapon in the war against aging is a curvy figure”; that once you get beyond a certain age you have to “choose between your face and your body”; that past 40 you can have a youthful visage or a pert behind, but not both.

It’s madness, of course.

But first, let me say… Ms Lawson is gorgeous and could pass for a lot younger than her 51 years.

Watching her cookery show it would be easy to believe that cakes, biscuits and other combos of white flour, white sugar and various cooked fats are the path to youthful beauty.

And no doubt, thanks to the media coverage of her recent comments, many women are now convinced of just that.

*Reality check*

The lovely Ms Lawson doesn’t look years younger than her age because of her diet but in spite of it.

Some people are just that genetically blessed.

But let’s be clear: they are in a minority.

Isn’t it ironic that those newspapers and magazines suggesting otherwise are the very same ones that send out the message, in so many subtle or not-so-subtle ways, that being either overweight or over 40 is not attractive. (Unless you’re a man, of course.)

Given the documented health risks of overeating, of being overweight, and of the kinds of foods people generally consume to get there, embonpoint is just not a savvy “anti-aging strategy” – not if you value your health.


  • I’ve been looking into this topic in my own life so was so pleased to find this article from you, and get your take on it.

    And thanks for ending this with the most important point of all – a reminder that health comes before appearance.

    With soft lighting, heavy make up and flattering camera angles your real appearance can effectively be altered.

    The lovely Nigella knows it and that’s why she was wearing the burkini — and even with all that covering, outside the studio it was clear to see what effect all of those rich desserts are having on her figure.

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