The doctor has opened up about his insecurities after signing up to be part of Loose Women’s second Body Stories campaign, which this time features famous men.
The female stars of the ITV daytime show won widespread praise when they stripped down for a candid photoshoot earlier this year to inspire others to feel more confident about their bodies.
Now they have enlisted Dr Ranj, along with former footballers Robbie Savage and David Ginola, ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ judge Bruno Tonioli, Judge Rinder’s Robert Rinder, ‘Coronation Street’ actor Shayne Ward and boxing icon Frank Bruno to do the same for other men out there.
After a ‘Loose Women’ survery revealed 73% of men said they don’t talk to anyone about how they feel about their body, Dr Ranj told HuffPost UK how insecurities like his are only too common among other men.
“There is no doubt we are the privileged gender, and because of that I think people assume we don’t have issues,” he explained. “But the truth is, quite rightly, that we have just the same issues as everyone else, but nobody talks about it.”
Opening up about his own issues, Ranj continued: “I’m not the most body confident person and I’m the last person who’s going to take their top off on holiday. I hate going swimming because it means I have to take my top off.
“People assume that doctors are all fine. If you’re a doctor on telly, you must be amazing. You must be so cool with every aspect of your life and the truth is so far from that. I have really down days where I really doubt myself.
“I have days where I scroll through my social media, seeing all these images of the perfect body and being on the verge of tears because I don’t, I’m never going to look like that and I feel bad.
“I want desperately to look like that and hopefully to feel great because of it, but I know I’m never going to get there. And it breaks my heart and I can only image that if that’s me, as a 38-year-old man sitting here doing that, how must it feel for a 13-year-old boy?”
Ranj admitted he had even considered undergoing liposuction in a bid to make himself feel better about his body.
“That’s weird as a doctor, I know,” he said. “I actually have considered it. Just as a quick fix because the normal way, the natural way, to get a better body, or whatever you want to do is to watch what you eat and to exercise. And you will naturally tone up, but that takes time and effort and it’s really hard.
“I’ve thought to myself, I wonder how much liposuction would be because it would be a quick kickstart maybe but then the rational part of me thinks hang on, hang on a minute, hang on. That’s not the healthy way to do actually, you’d be better off changing the way you live your life and your lifestyle and making longer term changes rather than those quick fixes.
“I’ve been on the verge of booking it but I’ve stopped myself and thought hang on there’s a better way to do this.”
I considered lipo. That’s weird as a doctor I know. I actually have considered it. Dr Ranj Singh
Ranj also explained how believes a lot of his hang-ups started as a child, remembering how he hated having to wear shorts.
“I still remember a picture of me, a forced picture of me in shorts at the beach and I look miserable because I didn’t want to be there,” he said. “I felt so uncomfortable. And that carried on.
“As I grew up my body changed and I was happy when it changed but the hang ups didn’t change. I carried them through with me.
“It’s more than modesty. It’s verging on embarrassment sometimes. I wish it wasn’t like that. I want to be that person that’s confident.”
Ranj, who is gay, also spoke of how body image issues are a huge problem among the community, claiming a lot of gay men can be very judgemental about other’s appearances.
“Imagine the pressures you feel and see in general society and magnify it by 10. That is the absolute horrible reality of it,” he said.
“It’s so sad that gay men ask for understanding and tolerance, but at the same time are so intolerant in so many ways - that stems to racism within the gay community, body fascism within the gay community and judgement and all that kind of stuff.
“What we need to be doing is celebrating individuality. That’s what we need to be doing. It’s all about diversity and let’s celebrate that. Nobody wants to be the same.”
Loose Women’s Body Stories returns today from 12.30pm on ITV.