Seeing a picture of a slim, toned and figure-honed celebrity frolicking in the sea on holiday in her bikini is doing more harm than good to our figures.

According to new research, most women are put off dieting by seeing celebrities flaunting their perfect bikini bodies.

Far from being inspired to get a flat tummy by beach pictures of their favourite celebrities, the images have the opposite effect - with 62% of women saying they are less inclined to diet after seeing celebrity holiday snaps.

Just over half say they are more likely to 'give up' on their diet rather than lose weight because they realise they will never be able to get the body they really desire.

And a further 57% moaned that even when they do lose weight, they are disappointed with their pictures taken on holiday because they appear fatter than they had hoped.

 

According to the survey for Forza Supplements, the celebrity who does most to stop women dieting is ex-Coronation Street favourite Michelle Keegan, whose character Tina McIntyre was recently killed off in the soap.

The second biggest diet killer is Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden followed by 50-year-old supermodel Elle Macpherson. Miranda Kerr and Gwyneth Paltrow complete the top five.

The survey polled 1,000 women to gauge the effect of celebrity stories on real women's diet plans.

Respondents’ confidence certainly took a hit, with 72% admitted to consciously comparing the celebrities' bodies with their own, while 64% of women said they ended up feeling 'deflated' when they compared their own bodies with those of the stars.

This feeling of deflation rose to 84% when the star was the same age or older than the person viewing the image.

The vast majority of women (71%) reckoned airbrushed pictures of celebrities looking perfect on the beach give real women unrealistic role models to aspire to. Most women (82%) would prefer the celebrities' beach pictures to be seen unaltered - just like real women's holiday snaps.

Gisele and Miranda Kerr

Forza Supplements managing director Lee Smith said that real women were in an unenviable position.

"It's a good job that Tina's dead in Corrie because now real women might be able to lose a bit of weight!” he said.

"It's no surprise that women find the 'perfect' pictures of Michelle Keegan and other celebrities such as Elle Macpherson and Gwyneth Patrow a bit depressing. How can real women, without personal trainers and microbiotic diets, hope to compete?

"The truth is they can't and they shouldn't. They have far more important things to do like getting on with their careers and running their families. They need to diet entirely on their own terms and not chase unrealistic ideals.”

Photo credit: Instagram / Michelle Keegan, Instagram / Miranda Kerr, Instagram / Gisele