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Melanie Morris: Yes, I edit a women's mag, but let's not ob sess about looking good

Working, as I do, in an industry that puts a lot of focus on a woman's appearance, I think it's so easy for all of us to lose the run of ourselves in terms of what's important in life.

Sure, it's great to look hot and a good outer appearance gives an excellent first impression.

But once you scratch the surface, we all want to know there's something equally

exciting lurking beneath.

And while it's great to be healthy, there are too many women who are just too obsessed about being a size they'll never be, or reclaiming years that aren't there for the taking ... and none of that is actually attractive. Neither is the prospect of endless hours of cardio on a treadmill at dawn, just so you can eat a KitKat. I know I'm inclined to do it myself, and my fiance will tell anyone that I'm no craic when I'm on a diet.

Instead, if we put as much time and determination into other aspects of our lives, we might find the same life suddenly becomes infinitely more interesting.

Take Cheryl Cole, for example. She's spent the last three years working hard to claim pole position on the X Factor judges' bench. She's spent possibly millions at this stage on her appearance, her clothes and her entourage. She undoubtedly lives in the hairdressers (because she's worth it) and I'd say her nails are constantly glossed to perfection. And yet, in all that time, as she ate dust and squeezed into ever-diminishing sizes of clothes, determined to crack America, she never bothered to get the necessary speech therapy.

Was our modern day Eliza Doolittle so obsessed about her appearance that she didn't consider the consequences of having a thick Geordie accent? Oops.

Perhaps if she'd stepped away from the mirror and looked at things from a broader perspective, her American odyssey would've been different.

And I'm sure every woman will agree that there's something incredibly empowering about Michelle Obama. Yes, she's tall, but her presence comes from something else too. She has an easy confidence about her, a glowing complexion, shining hair, an open smile. Put simply, she's happy in her skin and that makes her hugely attractive.

To me, she looks like someone who knows she's not perfect but has learned not only to live with it, but to make the most of the best bits -- both physically, and intellectually. She's fulfilled as a mother, a wife, and a career woman. She's got the X Factor.

Seeing Michelle photographed beside Kate Middleton in Buckingham Palace, I know which woman I'd rather be.

Mrs Obama outshone the new young bride, and her confident self-assuredness was far more attractive than Princess Catherine's obsessively slender figure, lollipop head and sinewy neck. One looked younger than her years, the other, much older.

It's time we all took a lesson -- good and bad -- from these ladies' experiences.

Being your own woman is infinitely more appealing than skipping pudding sometimes.

Rather than holding some hostage of the future when you will look amazing, when you will be a size (or two) smaller, when you will have a wider smile or higher boobs is a sad way to sidestep all the imperfect fun that's on offer right now.

I was thrilled to meet Elle MacPherson's trainer last week and to find he puts such a lot of emphasis on mindset.

James Duigan has trained with Elle for 10 years, as well as Victoria's Secret model Rosie Huntington Whiteley. Both obviously have killer bodies, but James is emphatic when he says -- without sounding like a corny hippie -- that you have to feel good before you can look good.

Apparently, even with gruelling fitness regimes and meticulous healthy eating, the body will respond better if it's working from a positive perspective.

Which means we all have a chance of being the next supermodel, and if not, we'll be happy enough not to care.

Melanie Morris is editor of Image magazine