Bad to want to look better physically?
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Bad to want to look better physically?

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Old 03-08-13, 01:59 PM   #1
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Default Bad to want to look better physically?

Hey guys..

I've been fighting with myself lately on something. I'm wanting to lose weight. I'm a big food person, always have been, and while I'm trying to get better in that area I thought it would really benefit me to exercise to try and lose weight. I know I have to get better with what I eat but I also know that will take some time, and I really want to start losing weight now because I'm sick of this body I'm in.

Something about me being sick of this body is giving me an issue. For some reason, I can't get myself to do the exercise and I can't figure out why. Is it because it's bad to want to lose weight for looks? Like.. I want to look better, fit into awesome clothes, and what I'd really like is a self-esteem boost. But I feel like that's not healthy. I feel like it's not healthy to use my looks as a way to gain self-esteem. I know exercise has a ton of other benefits, which I really want (health, improved energy, etc). But I can't get over the fact that the real reason I want to do it isn't a good one.

Sometimes I think I'm making excuses for myself because I don't want to do the work, or because I am embarrassed to ride my bike around town or go to a gym because people will look at how ugly I am currently.

I just don't know what to think. I feel like you guys, no offense, are going to give me some typical response like "ITS OKAY TO WANT TO LOOK BETTER" but why is it ok? Shouldn't I be happy with myself and not care about what others think? I just can't come to peace with this and I'd really appreciate your guys' deep thoughts on this.
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Old 03-08-13, 02:19 PM   #2
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To me there are two reasons to lose weight health and self esteem. They are both awesome reasons to do it, if you said you were losing weight for someone else my answer would be different.
The big mistake most people make is set their targets too high or or jump straight in at the deep end and scare themselves off. Do not diet either that does not work in the long run, healthy eating and gentle exercise is enough. A half hour brisk walk is a good start and just build on it when you are ready.
Set yourself small targets within a manageable time frame anything over and above your target is a bonus.
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Old 03-08-13, 02:25 PM   #3
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If it makes you feel better, it's not a bad thing. Especially with health benefits and self-esteem that come along with it. This time last year I was 60lbs overweight. I'm currently smack-bang in the middle of the "healthy" category, and I can tell you it feels great.

As far as depression goes, it's taken a lot off my shoulders. My appearance has always been important to me, being thinner has been a life-time want for me, and now I'm thin and I'm healthy. It will really help with your self-esteem. I don't know if you're overweight, you haven't given us any clue to how much you weigh, and some people think that they're overweight when they're not. But if you are overweight and you find it difficult to do things, when you can start running and jumping and contorting your body into yoga-like positions just for fun, it really is motivation.

There's nothing wrong with taking pride in your appearance.
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Old 03-08-13, 02:38 PM   #4
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If it makes you feel better, it's not a bad thing. Especially with health benefits and self-esteem that come along with it. This time last year I was 60lbs overweight. I'm currently smack-bang in the middle of the "healthy" category, and I can tell you it feels great.

As far as depression goes, it's taken a lot off my shoulders. My appearance has always been important to me, being thinner has been a life-time want for me, and now I'm thin and I'm healthy. It will really help with your self-esteem. I don't know if you're overweight, you haven't given us any clue to how much you weigh, and some people think that they're overweight when they're not. But if you are overweight and you find it difficult to do things, when you can start running and jumping and contorting your body into yoga-like positions just for fun, it really is motivation.

There's nothing wrong with taking pride in your appearance.
Good appearance has also always been a life-time want for myself. I am overweight, by quite a bit, I'm around 250 lb and 5' 11" male. I do find it difficult to do somethings but I wouldn't say that's the main reason I want to lose weight - and I guess that's my real question.

I don't mean any offense by this, but you say that it really did help with your self-esteem. That's awesome and I hope it will for me too - but at the same time I feel like it's wrong that it should help with my self-esteem. I feel like I shouldn't care so much about my appearance. You say there's nothing wrong with taking pride in your appearance but for some reason I feel like there is something wrong with it. Perhaps I'm wanting to get too philosophical or something but I just can't seem to get that thought out of my brain.

Last edited by MarredHope; 03-08-13 at 02:39 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 03-08-13, 08:13 PM   #5
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To clarify, my issue is I can't get those thoughts out of my head - I still know it's good and healthy to lose weight an exercise, but I feel like MY only reasoning is for looks, even though I also realize the other benefits it could have. Sorry if I'm not making any sense. I wonder too if I'm having this nervous reaction just because I don't want to do the work or I'm afraid of what people will say and think when they see me exercise, etc.

Last edited by MarredHope; 03-08-13 at 08:14 PM. Reason: yay typos
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Old 03-09-13, 06:01 PM   #6
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Accepting ourselves for who we are, and not caring what other people think is definitely something to strive for, but that's not the full story. Self-acceptance is important, but so is self-improvement. We should accept who we are, but we should also strive to be the best version of ourselves (by our own standards) that we can be. I think it's ideal to love ourselves as we are, while at the same time wanting to improve things about ourselves that we can change. Improving our appearance makes us feel good, and it should - we ARE our bodies. It's only natural to feel a sense of pride when we've worked hard to accomplish something, and feel a self-esteem boost from knowing that we can meet our goals.
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Old 03-15-13, 08:22 AM   #7
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Hi MarredHope! I just joined the forum today, and I think I understand where you are coming from. I also always ask myself that question: Where is my training motivation coming from and is it a healthy one, a really healthy one? I have always loved exercise, and I have always had a desire to be fit. More strong, than skinny. I see it as a way of being independent. Now, I am in my best shape I have ever been, but because of other circumstances I can’t honestly say that I am not depressed from time to time.

I think starting exercise is anyway a good starting point. Maybe in the beginning, do not question your motivation for why you want to get fit. Being active releases happy hormones like endorphins, and I have never heard about anyone leaving the gym feeling worse than they came ☺ But you do make a reflected point in asking for what/whom are you doing it for? For me, I got a better sense of self. I felt a little bit prettier, smiled a little bit more, and that good feeling transferred into other arenas in my life. Not dramatically, but little by little. As I managed to lift more in the gym, I felt more able to manage other difficult and challenging ”lifts”/decisions in my life.

So my tip to you, you might have the same questions around motivation even when getting more fit, I know I do! and I ask myself that question almost everyday! And if I am feeling guilt of what might happen if I stop exercising, too many days on a row, I take a break, because I think that thought is a bad sign. It is important to enjoy the days without exercise too. And I have read enough fitness blogs to know that strong and beautiful people also have personal neurotic issues, just like everyone else.

However, train anyway. By physical active and experience how you will feel. Write a mood-blog. You might be surprised! I think as long as you are asking those questions you do, you have a reflected mind and are already more positioned to handle whatever feelings that might come when you have reached your physical goal. Awareness is very powerful in itself. Also, imagine your self being there you want to be physically. What would you do differently that you feel you ”can’t do today”? That can also help you prepare yourself, so you don’t feel like: Ok, world, I have done it now. Where is my price? And there is no response. That is why I also ask myself the question of where my motivation lies. I think there is nothing wrong in wanting people to like you for your appearance, as long it is not the only reason. I am trying to give myself my own prices, and I am trying to practice happy thoughts each day. Cause in the end, being fit will not solve the whole problem, but it can be a very physical evidence that you can do more than you think. You can become more than you think you can today. And you know it is true, because you can feel it in your whole body.

I hope I made any sense.

Regards,
SarahBlue

Last edited by SarahBlue; 03-15-13 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 03-16-13, 12:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncomfortably Numb View Post
Accepting ourselves for who we are, and not caring what other people think is definitely something to strive for, but that's not the full story. Self-acceptance is important, but so is self-improvement. We should accept who we are, but we should also strive to be the best version of ourselves (by our own standards) that we can be. I think it's ideal to love ourselves as we are, while at the same time wanting to improve things about ourselves that we can change. Improving our appearance makes us feel good, and it should - we ARE our bodies. It's only natural to feel a sense of pride when we've worked hard to accomplish something, and feel a self-esteem boost from knowing that we can meet our goals.
I agree with you about self improvement. I'm starting to think a sense of accomplishment of getting to a goal weight or goal of being healthy will be the biggest prize for me. As for the motivations, you say improving appearance makes us feel good and, while I agree, I think that in-and-of itself is an issue. The only reason we even care about appearance in the first place is because of others - even if you say you're doing it for yourself you still have to be doing it because society has norms and appearance only exists because of that. I know I'm taking this to the extreme but it's just a discussion I'd like to have if someone wants. I really appreciate your reply and it does help me out a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahBlue View Post
Hi MarredHope! I just joined the forum today, and I think I understand where you are coming from. I also always ask myself that question: Where is my training motivation coming from and is it a healthy one, a really healthy one? I have always loved exercise, and I have always had a desire to be fit. More strong, than skinny. I see it as a way of being independent. Now, I am in my best shape I have ever been, but because of other circumstances I can’t honestly say that I am not depressed from time to time.

I think starting exercise is anyway a good starting point. Maybe in the beginning, do not question your motivation for why you want to get fit. Being active releases happy hormones like endorphins, and I have never heard about anyone leaving the gym feeling worse than they came ☺ But you do make a reflected point in asking for what/whom are you doing it for? For me, I got a better sense of self. I felt a little bit prettier, smiled a little bit more, and that good feeling transferred into other arenas in my life. Not dramatically, but little by little. As I managed to lift more in the gym, I felt more able to manage other difficult and challenging ”lifts”/decisions in my life.

So my tip to you, you might have the same questions around motivation even when getting more fit, I know I do! and I ask myself that question almost everyday! And if I am feeling guilt of what might happen if I stop exercising, too many days on a row, I take a break, because I think that thought is a bad sign. It is important to enjoy the days without exercise too. And I have read enough fitness blogs to know that strong and beautiful people also have personal neurotic issues, just like everyone else.

However, train anyway. By physical active and experience how you will feel. Write a mood-blog. You might be surprised! I think as long as you are asking those questions you do, you have a reflected mind and are already more positioned to handle whatever feelings that might come when you have reached your physical goal. Awareness is very powerful in itself. Also, imagine your self being there you want to be physically. What would you do differently that you feel you ”can’t do today”? That can also help you prepare yourself, so you don’t feel like: Ok, world, I have done it now. Where is my price? And there is no response. That is why I also ask myself the question of where my motivation lies. I think there is nothing wrong in wanting people to like you for your appearance, as long it is not the only reason. I am trying to give myself my own prices, and I am trying to practice happy thoughts each day. Cause in the end, being fit will not solve the whole problem, but it can be a very physical evidence that you can do more than you think. You can become more than you think you can today. And you know it is true, because you can feel it in your whole body.

I hope I made any sense.

Regards,
SarahBlue
Thank you so much for the long and thoughtful reply. You make a lot of sense and I feel a lot better about my motivations now. I still wonder why the appearance plays a factor here, like I said before, if that makes you feel better its because you are changed by societies standards. Maybe I'm going to far with this but it just doesn't make sense to me how it can be any other way.

Regardless, I really appreciate the help and it really did give me some peace of mind. Whatever my motivations being healthy and feeling good are worth it enough to exercise. Thank you.
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Old 03-18-13, 08:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by MarredHope View Post
Thank you so much for the long and thoughtful reply. You make a lot of sense and I feel a lot better about my motivations now. I still wonder why the appearance plays a factor here, like I said before, if that makes you feel better its because you are changed by societies standards. Maybe I'm going to far with this but it just doesn't make sense to me how it can be any other way.

Regardless, I really appreciate the help and it really did give me some peace of mind. Whatever my motivations being healthy and feeling good are worth it enough to exercise. Thank you.
Hi MarredHope. Thank you for your reply as well :)

I understand that you question the value of appearance in our society. And yes, I have to be honest and admit that I do feel good when people compliment my looks. But as I see it, it is just one part of the things I get from exercise, and that I also get other things that are independent of the way the society values appearance.
- Like being strong enough to handle my own bags when traveling. Like having better concentration when I study because I have gone for a run and can therefore manage to sit still in front of the computer for several hours, and without having back pains. Like joining my friends for a hike without being afraid that I can't keep up/finish and instead enjoy the hike. Eating healthy also gives me more energy throughout the day.

But why do we appreciate appearance?
I do not know much about psychology or evolution, but I think, for females when we look at men, we subconsciously appreciate a strong body because we then can be more sure of getting a healthy survival proficient offspring.
Also, I think that having a fit appearance often shows that you, mostly, take care about your health, and thus that you are also able to take care of other's health. Again, for reproductive reasons ;)

Another point of view. I study product design, and in the end of all of our projects there are presentations where we present our work to our peers and teachers. Sometimes, it frustrates me that even though if someone presents a very good concept/idea, and then some else presents another concept with an amazing presentation with glossy pictures and fancy music in the background, then everyone only sees the "appearance" of that presentation and value that concept more than the first one, even though the second concept was not necessarily better. Like they are "blinded" by the presentation it self, and not the content. I think that also happens to people.

It should be said that when I talk about appearance, I do not only mean the physical body. Appearance is also the way you move your hands when talking, your facial expressions, the words you choose to say, the tone in your voice, your posture, aka. body language. All of these things is not directly related to exercise, but they still play a role in human attraction, at least for me :)

Maybe we can say that appearance is like a tool to get people more curious, to make them stop and want to see what is also inside of us? Like the glossy presentation: Oh, that is cool! But how does it really work? -"Let me tell you". Now, you have caught someones attention, but the reason for people liking the concept is that it actually [I]is[I] a good idea! Or for humans, the reason for people "sticking around" will be of inner qualities; like sharing the same interests, your values, how you treat others, etc. If it is just the appearance, I believe it will not last. The concept will be a failure. And the handsome hunk at the gym will not stimulate your other needs, like having someone who enjoys the same things in life, who challenges you in a good way, who likes your humor, etc.

Heh, maybe being too "pretty" is not good either. Because then you will never know if they like you for who you are or if it is just your looks. I guess, with everything, there has to be a balance.

Regards,
SarahBlue
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Old 03-23-13, 11:38 AM   #10
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Hi MarredHope. Thank you for your reply as well :)

I understand that you question the value of appearance in our society. And yes, I have to be honest and admit that I do feel good when people compliment my looks. But as I see it, it is just one part of the things I get from exercise, and that I also get other things that are independent of the way the society values appearance.
- Like being strong enough to handle my own bags when traveling. Like having better concentration when I study because I have gone for a run and can therefore manage to sit still in front of the computer for several hours, and without having back pains. Like joining my friends for a hike without being afraid that I can't keep up/finish and instead enjoy the hike. Eating healthy also gives me more energy throughout the day.

But why do we appreciate appearance?
I do not know much about psychology or evolution, but I think, for females when we look at men, we subconsciously appreciate a strong body because we then can be more sure of getting a healthy survival proficient offspring.
Also, I think that having a fit appearance often shows that you, mostly, take care about your health, and thus that you are also able to take care of other's health. Again, for reproductive reasons ;)
I completely agree with all of this. I need to realize and remember all of the importance to being healthy besides appearance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahBlue View Post
Another point of view. I study product design, and in the end of all of our projects there are presentations where we present our work to our peers and teachers. Sometimes, it frustrates me that even though if someone presents a very good concept/idea, and then some else presents another concept with an amazing presentation with glossy pictures and fancy music in the background, then everyone only sees the "appearance" of that presentation and value that concept more than the first one, even though the second concept was not necessarily better. Like they are "blinded" by the presentation it self, and not the content. I think that also happens to people.

It should be said that when I talk about appearance, I do not only mean the physical body. Appearance is also the way you move your hands when talking, your facial expressions, the words you choose to say, the tone in your voice, your posture, aka. body language. All of these things is not directly related to exercise, but they still play a role in human attraction, at least for me :)

Maybe we can say that appearance is like a tool to get people more curious, to make them stop and want to see what is also inside of us? Like the glossy presentation: Oh, that is cool! But how does it really work? -"Let me tell you". Now, you have caught someones attention, but the reason for people liking the concept is that it actually [I]is[I] a good idea! Or for humans, the reason for people "sticking around" will be of inner qualities; like sharing the same interests, your values, how you treat others, etc. If it is just the appearance, I believe it will not last. The concept will be a failure. And the handsome hunk at the gym will not stimulate your other needs, like having someone who enjoys the same things in life, who challenges you in a good way, who likes your humor, etc.

Heh, maybe being too "pretty" is not good either. Because then you will never know if they like you for who you are or if it is just your looks. I guess, with everything, there has to be a balance.

Regards,
SarahBlue
I'm not sure how to think about using appearance as a way to draw people in. In your presentation example, you said you were frustrated because the ideas with better/prettier presentation would usually be given more attention. It seems like you're then saying that this is okay when it comes to humans, and that people should use looks to attract them first. I don't know if that's what you meant to say or not, but I do think that that does indeed happen - I don't think it's a good thing though. Not everyone has the ability to look like a model and some people just have "weird" faces by societies standards, etc.

I guess this ties into my original statement that I don't think looks should be taken at such a high priority. Being healthy and fit, yes, but not everyone is going to look "best" at their healthiest. Sorry if I'm being to aggressive here I'm just interested in discussing this.

Thanks for the advice with my original question. The topic here has kind of transformed into something else, but I really do feel better about how to deal with my motivations because of your posts. Thanks again. :--)

Last edited by MarredHope; 03-23-13 at 11:39 AM. Reason: typos!
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