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In this blog, I’d like to broach the subject of body dysmorphia. I am definitely no expert, though I am of the opinion that nearly everyone suffers from this on some degree. I experience it personally and I see people battle with it constantly. It affects us all daily and directs a lot of our decision-making, many times in a negative way.
I used to be a skinny guy. We’re talking used-to-get-made-fun-of, awkwardly skinny in middle school and high school. I hated it, and I so badly wanted to be bigger and strong. I always used to ask bigger, stronger people how to get bigger, and I got all kinds of advice, but it typically revolved around the idea of ‘you gotta eat more!’ I forced myself to eat more and workout, and over the course of YEARS of hard work and eating more, I am now considered by most people to be a relatively bigger, strong guy. But I STILL have that inner skinny kid that sits on my shoulders that tells me ‘dude, you gotta eat all of that, and then you gotta get more! Everyone thinks you’re skinny, so EAT!’ The rational part of me knows I’m not a little guy anymore, but I will always view myself as not being a big guy. It’s my own weird, inaccurate perception of myself.
This works the other way around as well. Consider a person who has lost a lot of body fat: someone used to be overweight, and now they have a healthy body composition. It’s common for that person’s ‘inner fat kid’ to sit on their shoulder and whisper into their ear ‘put the fork down! You don’t want to be FAT again, do you???’ and regularly cause that person to UNDEReat! It happens all the time.
Don’t trust your inner fat kid, or your inner skinny kid. Trust things that are quantifiable and measurable. Use the data that we can see, and trust in the numbers you collect as means to drive your behavior. Your emotions tied with food paired with our own unique body dysmorphia can skew our perception of who we are, what we’re doing, and where we need to be and anchor us into a prison in our own minds if we allow it to.
Clearly, appropriate nutrition plays a huge part in our progress, no matter what our goals! Body composition and performance are all driven directly by how we fuel. Inappropriate fueling can make the work we do in the gym fruitless. Inappropriate fueling can make exercise actually cause more harm than good. Are you using quantifiable data to dial in your food profile, or are you letting your emotions and your own unique body dysmorphia to drive your behavior? If you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out! it doesn’t have to start with anything drastic; you don’t turn a ship around on a dime. A lot of small steps can make up a long journey, and each small step is progress. Don’t let fear drive you, and don’t delay in taking the first step.
PS…if you’re looking for a quality supplementation line to help you dial in your nutrition, check out the Dietetic Advantage products made right here in Dubuque! We carry it at CFD and it can be ordered online via the link above.