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When body image issues are hitting you hard

Casey responds to a user on the forum who wants to look and feel a certain way, but can’t seem to get there. Listen in:

First Look:

  1. Our culture is set up to reward certain appearances, and discourage others. Jot down what a “good” appearance might look like, and what a “bad” appearance might look like. Be funny with it - these definitions are absurd anyway!
  2. Take the time and discover if you’re basing your worth on how society defines “fitness”. If you don’t have a flat stomach, and you’re discouraged by that, ask yourself why? Is it because the people around you say that fit, healthy, or attractive people should have a flat stomach?

In the video, Casey talks about how the user is probably looking at other people and how they look, and then looking at themselves and feeling like they’re not enough. If their worth is based on looking a certain way, but they don’t look like that, they’re not headed to a good place emotionally.

We know we’re in a place we shouldn’t be if we’re feeding unhealthy habits to fulfill and unrealistic purpose for ourselves. For example, the user has resorted to only eating once a day to try and be smaller - we on the outside can say that this is something that is not adding or serving as beneficial in their life. Casey also talks about how, each day when you wake up, you are a certain size. And if what you’re battling is a constant desire to be something else, you’ll never win, because you’re treating “symptoms” instead of the root disease. In this case, the root disease is a feeling of unworthiness.

Deeper questions:

  1. What’s something about your appearance that you don’t like? What do you see that irks you?
  2. If you had a magic wand, and could change that thing about you in an instant, how would your emotional state change? Would you be instantly happy and go on with life?
  3. Focus in on that feeling (If I just had _____ I would be _____). For example for me personally, I’d say, “If I could lose just 10 more pounds, I would finally be satisfied with how I look”
  4. Now, focus in on the second _____. What if you could gain that feeling without the first half of your sentence? What if you could feel happiness, worth, value, or satisfaction, without having to conform to someone else’s concept of what these ^ mean?
  5. Think deeply here: what’s your goal? To do a certain thing, or to feel a certain way? If it’s to feel a certain way, ask yourself - does doing this thing get me to feeling this way?

Be honest with yourself, and write your answers down. We think you’ll find that you can find happiness, joy, and satisfaction first, and from that base you can begin to build real things. What’s better - to fit into the physical mold society created for you, or to be completely free of that mold, and blaze your own path?

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My run-through of the exercise:

First Look

  1. This guy: . Just kidding. More like this guy:
  2. I definitely base my appearance off of society’s version of fitness most times - that feeling of “man if I could just lose those last 10 pounds I’d be golden” is ever-present

Deeper Questions:

  1. I’m 33, and for me, it’s those little back saddles that, about where your kidneys are that when you get them, just never seem to go away!
  2. No, I don’t think I would. It’d be nice to not feel that, but it really wouldn’t matter so much
  3. My sentence (obviously) would be “If I just lost 10 more pounds, I would be satisfied with how I look”
  4. I want my body to work, for it to be efficient, and to live longer. Is it nice to look a certain way? Sure, and it’s good for the marriage. But that’s just not the goal. That’s the result of hard work, and if I’m working hard enough, I don’t have time to look.
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First Look:

  1. The way I see it, women beauty standards these days are full of contradictions. So, something between:


And:


Both of them, but not 100% either. Easy, right?

Wait. What?

  1. I’m definitely basing part of who I am on how society defines “fitness” but also “beauty” by extension. It’s been a deep struggle - and a frustration - for too many years now.

Deeper questions:

  1. There’s too many things. But I want to be honest about it, so:
  • My nose + chin - too long.
  • My ears - I don’t even know why, but I’ve been complexed by it since I was a kid. So I never attach my hair if I go outside. :woman_facepalming:
  • My hair - too thin, fragile, dull.
  • My shoulders/arms/size/legs - too large/not fit enough.
  1. Unfortunately, my mind is divided on this matter. I know it wouldn’t change anything. Because of eating disorders, my body changed drastically through the years, and I know I wasn’t satisfied nor truly happy because of my weight or appearance. No matter my size or the number on the scale. It never changed anything. I could feel worse, temporary satisfied, but not better in the long run and certainly not happy at all. There was still the same pain, shame related with how I perceived myself.
    But at the same time, this thought “a better body = a better life” has been stuck in my mind for so long that a part of myself keep believing that reaching unrealistic goals would change drastically how I feel. Which is, again, not true.

  2. It’s basically the same idea: “If I could lose just X more pounds, I would be confident”. “If I could lose just X more pounds, I would be worthy”. I’ve been having this thought, every single day for now… 12 years. Which is exhausting. It’s less intense now, as I gained on knowledge about eating disorders and how I deal with it. But it keeps make me feel vulnerable and uncomfortable about my own appearance.

  3. I’m trying to learn and accept that my worth is not related with what I do/accomplish/say, but with who I am. Confidence is, for me, definitely related to how I handle anxiety on a daily basis. It tends to be crippling and prevents me to do what I want to do or enjoy what I like. It drains so much energy. So redirecting this need on controlling my appearance is not healthy.

  4. To feel less limited because of my mental health (depression-anxiety). Of course, exercising helps. It’s needed to stay healthy - which I want to be the primary purpose when I do it. But working on my mental health should be a holistic approach. Diet and exercising can be triggering to me and become an unhealthy way to cope. By extension, controlling my appearance excessively. So it’s okay to feel how I feel, but I have to be careful when my mind only focus on my physical appearance as a way to heal my heart. It’s not the right response.