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Go Tertia!! Pass the wine (except skip me -- I just gave it up). Three days without wine, the rest of the year to go (made a deal with my husband).

I agree, I once had a calisthenics teacher who was incredibly anal about what she ate. Her body looked gorgeous, but people often mistook her for a patient in the hospital where she worked. Not so bad perhaps, but she worked in palliative care for people dying of AIDS. Her face was really gaunt and her wrinkles were magnified 10x over. She really looked 5-10 years older than what she was even though she took such good care of her body.

Anyway, being fat this isn't somehthing I think I'm ever going to be concerned about.

Oh Tertia! This is so interesting to me. I was a commenter that said the other day that I the first time I looked at your picture, I thought you looked a bit like me. Our faces are shaped the same (although you have huge, lovely eyes, which I don't, for which I am terribly envious!).

My face is the same - no matter how chub I get, my face does not get chubby. It stays thin. When I was pregnant with DS, I lost a ton of weight (pregnancy just did that to me). I have a picture of myself about 2 weeks before I gave birth, and I call it my "heroin junkie pregnant chick" picture. I am all big and pregnant and have this "drawn" face, cheeks sunken in. It looks horrible, my face looks so thin. My eyes even look a bit sunken. And it's just because less fat on my body makes my face do that!

I am so happy you have just given me permission to keep a tad of fat on my body to keep my face looking young.

I've lost quite a bit of weight in the last year (on purpose and happy w/results) and someone stopped me and told me I looked like Alanis Morrisette. Have you ever been told that? Do you know who she is?

I remember Meryl Streep saying something similar. She's definitely not thin, and her face looks great.

Ha! In celebrity news it's called picking your face or your ass. Most celebs seem to pick their ass.

I'm one of the folks who's sensitive about being skinny (I commented as much on the red flags post) but I wasn't offended by this post. I look at pictures of myself when I was 25 (I'm 32 now) and I definitely think that one of the reasons I looked better then (other than wrinkles, etc.) is that my face was fuller and more rounded, even though I weighed the same. I have always been fond of my facial bone structure (am rather proud of my cheekbones) but would prefer not to see quite so much of it, you know what I mean?

the down side of face over figure is the series of comments/"compliments" you might receive to the tune of "she has such a pretty face!"

...and that groaning sound you just heard is the chorus of plump/chubby/fat girls who know exactly what i'm talking about.

trust me, it's not a compliment, unless you count backhanded compliments as compliments.

I completely agree with you. I have an old boss who's a gym rat and her face tends toward the haggard. Meanwhile I'm trying to lose a lot of weight, but I'm also realistic enough to know that I'm never going to be a size 4 (or 6 or 8 or maybe even 10), but I figure I'll find a happier medium for me, my face, and my ass. As always Tertia, you're gorgeous & divine!

My face is shaped like yours as well; I got very thin after a stressful period of life, and the teachers at my child's school finally asked a friend if I had cancer! Nice! It's kind of funny; I grew up slightly chunky, but my son's autism took care of that problem. Lucky me.

Eight years later and on the other side of forty it's no better. The skin on my chin is all wrinkly because there's nothing between the bone and the skin anymore.

But I refuse to choose. I'll keep on with the occasional gym run, trade in fatty food for spicy (the one diet I can follow), and plan to try thermage in the next few years to restore the lost collagen on my poor haggard face.

I have a thinnish face for my size, too, and when I'm at my "thin" weight, my face looks a bit gaunt as well. I agree, I've always heard "ten pounds for the face" after age forty. I figure that I have finally done one thing in my life way ahead of time (I'm 34. Or maybe the weight from my boobs and butt is dragging the fat away from my face. Whatever.

Tertia, you are G&D. You do have great big lovely eyes! (see above comment). I'd definitely leave the "extra" pounds alone, you are quite thin! Plus you're gong to need the extra reserves for chasing after twin toddlers!

My SIL, who's spent her adult life in looks-obsessed southern California, where she practiced a near-anorectic diet regime and sunned herself every chance she got, now has a badly sun-damaged, withered, shriveled face. She looks like the crypt keeper. Seriously, every time I see her, it's a shock: she looks like a death's head. (She used to be the hot young thang in the bikini.)

Meanwhile, I, bookish, chubby, and sun-avoidant my whole life, STILL regularly get carded. That's right, they ask me for my i.d. before they'll sell me booze. And I'm forty!

But even though my skin is smooth, white, & plump, I noticed some loss of volume in the area just underneath my eyes. This slight change can cause one to look a little tired. (Obviously it's not very noticeable to others, or I wouldn't still get carded, but I can see it.)

So I went to a plastic surgeon and have an appointment Friday to get some restylane injected under my eyes. I'll let you know how it goes.

Hey, now I have an excuse. Face over figure here too.

I have never heard that but you are right. My thinner over 40 friends do look older in the face then the plumper one's. When my chubby cheeks drop I am going to have one heck of a set of jowels. I can hear my husband making turkey noises already.

I definitely notice as I get closer to 40 (next May!) that my face and my boobs lose weight first, and that they look like bloody hell when I let go of the extra ten winter pounds. I like the idea of keeping my face looking smooth and happy. Haggard is not a look I want to advertise. Which is why I answered "chocolate & candy" on your latest poll.

I gotta go with body, because exercise is the only thing that boosts my mood (not that I'm addicted - it's hard to get myself to exercise 4 times a week). I'll be healthy, happy and haggard-looking!

Old isn't bad. You can get one of those 'serious author' photos for your book jacket.
And aren't fat people happier?
I can say these things because I am a mere callow youth. Better respect my elders, though, ne, tannie?

"My fat is slipping..."

What a great (creative, evocative) quote! Can't wait to use it. My fat is slipping, too!

I also think it depends on how well you've looked after yourself - healthwise. If you've kept out of the sun, exercised well and eaten healthy foods then maybe you won't look too haggard even if thinnish. Also, if you've always been thin you'll probably look less haggard cos I don't think the skin shrinks as well when you lose weight when you're older - as a friend of mine said - you don't want to look like someone stuck a vacuum cleaner up your ass and turned it on.

It's a shame that you have to be concerned with so many others feelings. People used to have sense of humors. Anyways, I want that choice! I am scarily approaching 40 with fat (yet lovely, of course!) face and body. I want the body. At least once in my life, I want the body. Body. Body. Body!

Me again, I'm getting old, I forget. I forgot to say that you are being too hard on yourself. You look lovely, and actually I had been thinking (jealously) a little thin, too, lately. But not in a bad way, at all. Really. And I'm not a nice person. You can ask anyone.

I've got another 18 years before I hit 40, and it's pretty clear that face is going to win out, there's no chance I'll get skinny anytime before my 70th birthday the rate I'm going!

catherine deneuve said 'ass or face' - she has gone for face too. well i'm quite a bit bigger after baby and find people think i'm much younger (10 yrs = 3 sizess, is there a formula for cheese n wine \ youth here?). expect to end up old and fat. and happy;

One name that makes your case: Maria Schriver. She looks like death on a stick.

Damn! My face must be hot!

I remember when I was a little girl, I read an article about Beverly Sills, the singer who was the general manager of the New York City Opera for many years -- I thought she was beautiful, and she was NOT thin! She made a similar "face or figure" comment and said, "I chose my face," so I resolved to choose my face, too.

Now that I`m over 40, I am even more resolved.

But you know what? Even a gaunt, wrinkly face lights up and looks beautiful when it`s got a happy smile on it.

Ha! You're so right about having to make a choice. I've decided on the face too.

I've heard about that - and totally agree. I think a few extra pounds above being "skinny" can reduce your age by 5-10 years. I loved being ultra thin and fit, but wow I looked so haggard and old. So I opted for a few extra pounds.

I'm sorry you have to put disclaimers on all your posts - you're right though, we are a sensitive bunch ;)

I cringe at the thought of what my face is going to look like when I lose the pounds that I 'need' to lose. Oy. I hope genetics don't have anything to do with it and my years of avoiding the sun have paid off. My mother and her sister look like the California Raisins!

Re the poll: I'm voting out of the box... coffee, dammit, COFFEE!!! Can't give it up. You'd have to pry it from my cold, dead hands.

My mom, at 62, just dropped about 40 pounds and now weighs close to 105. To me, this is TOO THIN. She's 5'5" and looks emaciated. My dad is the same, too. It is the age/weight thing, for sure. Their faces say it all!

Ooooh! I love that Restylane under the eyes suggestion... need to check that out!

Tertia, you never cease to amaze when it comes to perfectly logical excuses... er... explanations for things! Brilliant reasoning for eating and drinking after 40.
Simply brilliant!

Agree 100%- after a certain age, you are better off gaining a bit of weight and filling in the wrinkles. I think most people will remember you as young looking if your face is good, but if you are wrinkled with a skinny ass, they will go home commenting on how old you have gotten. Have been having this conversation with mom for the last few years, every time she moans about how hard it is for her to maintain her weight now that she is over 50- will forward the link to her so she can see how many people agree with me on the face vs body debate!

Sunscreen + chocolate = fountain of youth. Hooray!

I'm already (at 33) jealous of my plumper friends, who all have gorgeous, unlined, fresh skin, whereas I started getting crow's feet about 10 years ago. But at the same time I wonder if Kim is right and it has more to do with what you've weighed throughout your life. My mom is 64, has always been thin, and has great skin for her age. My crow's feet are more due to haphazard sunscreening and constantly misplacing my sunglasses.

Patricia Wexler (celebrity dermatologist) was on Oprah a while back and said that everyone is either a "sinker" or a "sagger." Thin people are "sinkers" because the skin, with little fat beneath, sinks back against the skull. Heavier people are "saggers" because gravity pulls the fat downward over time. Maybe we should just all agree to concentrate on our asses instead?

Orange--I like your idea! :-D

Excessive dieting is always bad, not only for our skin but also for our health. We can eat those veggies and lean meat and get succumb to arthritis, Alzheimer's or cancer already in our 50s, but we can choose to eat plenty of good traditional foods, like bacon and organic cream, and feel fabulous well into our old age. Yes, maybe we won't have bodies of anorexic models, but we will preserve our health, intellect, and good skin.

reaching for by spring next year and do not look like the spring chicken i once was. surrounded by pics of myself saying i was pretty once. didn't expect to get this heavy before 50. very depressing. i like myself inside and hate myself outside. i am hideious.losing hiar...gettinghair where i don't want any...textures changing. extra skin, extra ass--where is it all going to go from here? i will start swimming for now, though my fine, thin hair can't afford it. i guess i will have to work on my face first. funny i found this column by typing in choosing ass or face! i needed to talk about this after i found good looking pics of myself ten years ago and bitched about my appearance then. i would love to look like that again. i don't recognize the person in the mirror and people don't recognize me either. its been so long they don't remember me thinner, younger, my kids certainly don't believe me. so i took the picture out to prove it to them and to give me some incentive on fixing what i can.

now here is the topic that i have been looking.
its really a choice... face or figure.
i give figure a chance first and maintain that figure and later focus on the face by drinking lots of water and healthy diet. hopes this works. i have been loosing a lot of weight and with it i got negative feedback that i look old. i havent reach my ideal weight yet.

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