Will YOU inherit your mother's body
From saggy tummies to stretch marks, three brave mothers and daughters bare all – and reveal their hopes and fears about ageing
09:42 GMT, 19 April 2012
Ageing is a part of life, but to what extent is the way you age determined by your genes
After a survey revealed that 73 per cent of women work out to avoid inheriting their mother’s figures, three women and their mums took the brave step of getting naked together and sharing their deepest feelings about their bodies.
DAUGHTER LYNDSEY, 36, AND MUM SANDRA, 55
Sandra Hunt, 55, is a shop manager from Nottingham. She has divorced three times and has three grown-up children. She is 5ft 6in, size 10/12, and weighs 9st. She says:
Seeing my daughter Lyndsey’s beautiful body reminds me of myself at her age. I’d love to turn back the clock — the passing years can be cruel. The size of my bust fluctuated with pregnancy and childbirth, from 34A to 36C. My breasts were flat after I had my family and I became self-conscious about them.
Confidence boost: Lyndsey, 36, left, and her mum Sandra, 55, have both had breast implants
In November 2001, 12 years after I had my last child, I had F-cup breast implants. I decided to have the surgery to salvage my self-esteem, but my then husband didn’t want me to have it done. He was worried that other men would leer at me, but it was nothing to do with wanting to be attractive to other men.
After I had my last child, the gym was like a drug to me. I’d go four times a week when the children were at nursery, and went down to 8st from 9st.
It was an addiction born out of insecurity: I was worried about my first husband going off with another woman. It was only after we divorced in 1993 that I relaxed my fitness regime.
My least favourite part of my body is my stomach. I have loose skin there and, since I had the children, no amount of exercise stops it looking bloated.
After I’d had my last baby, the midwife said my stomach muscles were beyond repair — much as I hate to admit it, she was right.
I’ve put on a little weight recently and the other day I struggled to fit into my size ten trousers. I’ve been going through the menopause for ten years. My hair has become thinner and my skin drier, and I find it more difficult to lose weight.
'When Lyndsey came to my house in a tight black minidress I felt wistful for my lost youth. I’d love to turn the clock back'
I realised how much my body had changed one morning when I put on a sundress and saw the light catch my body in an unflattering way. All I could see were bingo wings and ripples of loose skin on my arms and legs, which shocked me.
Lyndsey has never needed to do much exercise and doesn’t have to try to keep slim. I love her athletic bottom — it almost looks as if she’s had buttock implants. I wish I was as muscular as her.
Lyndsey might think she’s pear-shaped, but I think she’s more in proportion than me. She’s got broader shoulders and is a bigger build. If she loses weight it goes from her top half and she looks too big round the hips, while when I lose weight it often goes from my face and I look gaunt.
I was pleased when Lyndsey told me she was having breast implants, because I knew they’d do for her self-confidence what they’d done for mine.
I felt slightly uncomfortable looking at Lyndsey naked, but it was also a strangely bonding experience. It brought back memories of my own youth, and the pert bust and bottom I used to have.
She came over to my house recently wearing a tight-fitting, black mini-dress. Proud as I was of how beautiful she looked, I did feel a little wistful for my own youthful beauty. I don’t think I’d have any more cosmetic surgery, though. I want to look good, but I want to enjoy life, too.
Sandra’s daughter Lyndsey Bowler, 36, lives in Nottingham. She’s engaged to Glyn Phipps, 33, an engineer, and they have a 12-year-old son, Kyle. She is 5ft 6in, a size 12/14, and weighs 10st 4lb. She says:
Mum inspired me to have breast implants. After I had Kyle, I went from a C cup to an AA, and my confidence suffered. I had surgery when I was 28 and was thrilled with the results.
I’ve seen pictures of Mum at my age and we look remarkably similar. She is slimmer than me, though, and has better, more toned legs.
I’m heavier than I’ve ever been. I gave up smoking four years ago and swapped cigarettes for chocolate, so I put on 2st.
I’m not fat, but I feel massive compared with how I used to look. I’ve lost 7lb by cutting out chocolate, but I’d like to lose another half a stone.
'I think Mum is beautiful and in any case a bit of loose skin is a small price to pay for becoming a mother'
My favourite part of my body is my bust. My bottom’s too big, and I don’t like my thighs. I’m a typical pear shape. I worry about wrinkles — I’m getting crow’s feet and hate the thought of looking older.
I found it embarrassing seeing Mum without clothes on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her completely naked before. But I was surprised by how good she looked. Her legs looked slimmer and her bra-less breasts better than I expected.
Mum’s always whining about her wrinkles and showing me the loose skin on her stomach. The skin on my stomach is a lot firmer, but Mum has told me that if I have any more children it will change irreparably. That doesn’t bother me.
I think Mum is beautiful and in any case a bit of loose skin is a small price to pay for becoming a mother. We both use lots of creams to avoid cellulite and luckily neither of us have it so far.
Mum’s F-cup implants look very obvious, and sometimes I don’t think her clothes hang well on them. I chose a D-cup because I wanted a subtler effect.
That said, Mum’s always taken pride in her looks and I’d love to look like her when I’m her age.
DAUGHTER BRINA, 31, AND MUM ANGE, 50
Ange Turner, 50, is unemployed and is from Bromley, Kent. She is divorced and has three grown-up children. Ange is 4ft 11in, size 14 and weighs 9st. She says:
I don’t think Brina and I look like each other, though people tell us we have the same smiles. We are both an apple shape — we tend to put on weight on our middle. We have chunky arms that don’t respond to exercise and almost identical slender legs.
Luckily, cellulite doesn’t run in our family — I have a few dimples at the tops of my thighs, but Brina doesn’t have any and if she keeps her weight down I think it will stay that way.
Apple shapes: Ange, 50, says daughter Brina, 31, left, looks just like she did at her age
I’m not completely comfortable with the way I look. I’ve put on 2st in the last two years, and gone from size eight to a 12/14. My bottom has got saggy with age, and I generally feel sluggish and short of confidence. I live in leggings, big tops and control pants.
When I look at Brina’s slim physique, I feel full of regret that I let my diet and exercise routine slide, and I urge her not to do the same. Looking at Brina naked is like looking at a younger version of myself. When Brina put on weight a couple of years ago she looked dumpy and plump. She didn’t take kindly to me telling her so, but she knew it was true. I’m so glad she’s slimmed down.
I’m not sure how much I can do to halt the ageing process or whether there’s any point in even trying.
The one part of my body that hasn’t let me down is my breasts, which are 34A and still pert. If I could afford implants I might consider it, but then the rest of me would look as if it needed work, too.
Brina says I look good for my age, which gives me confidence. I couldn’t get away with the short skirts she wears, even without the extra weight I’m carrying. I’m not lamb, I’m mutton, and I need to accept that.
Ange’s daughter Brina Sandiford, 31, has a 13-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son. She lives in Bromley, Kent, is 5ft 3in, size 10 and weighs 9st. She says:
I’m generally happy with my body, and I have my mum to thank for that. She taught me to eat healthily and to be proud of what I look like.
I had my daughter when I was 18 and my son when I was 21. I put on only a stone in each pregnancy and snapped back into shape afterwards, partly due to my age and because I inherited mum’s fast metabolism.
Looking at pictures of Mum, she was even smaller when she was pregnant with me — she was still in size ten dresses at full-term.
'When I look at Brina's slim physique, I
feel full of regret that I let my diet and exercise routine slide, and I
urge her not to do the same'
The only thing I don’t like about my body is my stomach — I have stretchmarks, crinkly skin and a three-inch scar. I was depressed after my grandmother’s death from lung cancer in 2010 and started comfort eating.
My weight went up to 12st and I was a size 14. I realised I had to change my eating habits and lost the weight in three months by running three times a week and cutting out junk food.
I want to be a healthy mum and as good an influence on my children as my mother was on me. Mum’s put on a couple of stone recently and I think she looks good curvier, but the extra weight wouldn’t suit me.
I’m taller and bigger busted than she is, but I’ve inherited her toned, sexy legs.
I think we probably do have the same body type, but I’m a lot more careful about what I eat. It’s not that I don’t want to look like mum, but I will do my best to make sure I keep my weight down as I get older.
I admire Mum’s determination to grow old gracefully. Now my daughter’s a teenager, I’m conscious of helping her to keep her self-esteem high. I tell her she’ll look like me when she’s older, then like her granny, which is a good thing.
DAUGHTER SAMANTHA, 25, AND MUM GINA, 47
Gina Morrish, 47, is an actress from Fleet, Hampshire, and has a grown-up son. She is 5ft 3in, size 8/10 and weighs 8st 12lb. She says:
I’ve always told my daughter Samantha she’s beautiful: I see it as my duty as a mother to make her feel secure. But to be honest, I don’t like much about my body. I think some people are just born with higher self-esteem than others.
I worry that my legs are too short and fat. I’d love them to be more toned, but I don’t do enough exercise. I’m impressed by the amount of time Samantha spends keeping fit, but I think it’s easier for her in her 20s — she has more natural energy.
Role model: Samantha, 25, left, admires the figure of her mother Gina, 47, and hopes to age like she has
My bottom, like my legs, has lost tone over the past decade or two. I wish it were firmer. On the positive side, I’m happy with my 34E bust.
I know I’m lucky and unusual in that my breasts increased in size after Samantha was born, even though I breastfed for a year. I also have a reasonably flat stomach.
Samantha and I have hourglass figures. Men have told me I’m beautiful, and friends tell me I should have more confidence.
As a teenager, Samantha watched me looking unhappily in the mirror and listened to me moan about my legs. With hindsight I wish that hadn’t happened — I worry it’s led to her occasional lack of self-esteem.
Your genes may determine up to 80 per cent of your weight and body shape
I hadn’t seen Samantha naked since I bathed her as a seven-year-old, so it was strange to see the child I’d brought up as a beautiful woman.
I think she’s absolutely gorgeous and I wish she’d believe it. I don’t feel envious of her good looks, but she looks similar to me when I was her age.
Of course, it would be nice to be that young again, and I’m going to try to keep slim as I grow older. I still don’t feel middle-aged. I look in the mirror and see I’m growing older, but in my head I’m still young. I haven’t had cosmetic surgery, but I wouldn’t mind a facelift in a decade or so. More than anything, I’d like to believe in myself more.
Gina’s daughter Samantha Morrish, 25, is a drama teacher from London. She is 5ft 6in, a size 8/10 and weighs 9st. She says:
Mum has always told me I’m beautiful, which has given me a healthy sense of self-confidence. I’m not as insecure as she thinks. She has insecurities, but I think she’s confident about her body.
Mum instilled in me a love of exercise. I do yoga twice a week and aerobics three times a week.
Exercise makes me happy. I like my 32F breasts, the tops of my arms and stomach. I’m not keen on my legs — like Mum, my upper thighs are where I put on weight most easily. Mum and I are a similar shape.
The thought of my body changing after childbirth doesn’t bother me: the opportunity to have a family is far more important. Anyway, Mum’s body didn’t change too much in pregnancy, so hopefully I’ll be lucky. too. She exercised and ate healthily, so my plan is to do the same.
If I have a role model, it’s my mother. She has a fantastic hourglass figure, and I don’t think it’s changed over two decades. I can’t think of a single thing I’d criticise about her body. If anything she has higher cheekbones and better bone structure than me — I envy her face.
I recently found a couple of lines on my forehead, and two years ago I discovered a couple of grey hairs. Mum started dyeing her hair in her 30s, so I’m prepared to do the same.
I’m not too worried about ageing. Beauty comes from within — and Mum has it in abundance.
Sandra and Lyndsey both had their implants done by the Transform Cosmetic Surgery Group.