Why the Link Between Your Body and Self-Image Is So Important

We live in a society where we tend to mainly focus on, and be concerned about our physical health; our appearance – how we look, or maybe more importantly how others look at us. We tend to measure and base our health, and sometimes-even worth, on numbers. Numbers coming from a scale, measuring tape, a calculator or likes on our last IG picture. We want to fit in so bad, whether it be in a certain BMI box or amongst the bikini pictures we see on social media, that these numbers, and how others see us become what’s important. And we forgot to focus on how we feel about ourselves, and how we make others feel. 

But what about what’s hidden underneath those numbers? I believe that is important too. I believe that health is not just determined by what we see on the outside; my weight or my body fat percentage. It’s also how I feel about my self and my body. What is a ”perfect” body worth if you’re not happy? 
I think the mental aspect is equally as important – that we’re happy with ourselves and how we look. 
This is not saying it’s ‘not okay’ to want to work on your body, become stronger, faster or lose weight – but do it for you. Because YOU want to, and not because others make you feel like you should to “good enough” or to “fit in”. 
Magazines and social media constantly influence us when we create body images or body ideals. But some of what we see and strive for is unreal – and yet we still judge others and ourselves by them. Leaving some people thinking “if I don’t look like that – I’m not good enough”. Some people dedicate their lives to work and on their bodies. To improve strength and minimize fat, and as a result they are amazingly fit. I think it’s impressive, and if that’s what makes them happy that’s great, but it doesn’t mean that’s the right way to live or that’s the way you have to look to be ‘good enough’. 
Healthy and being healthy is not as black and white is we want it to be. Like everything else in life we all have different preferences, and the same goes for what works for us to stay, or become healthy. Of course our bodies have some physiological needs in order to function properly for as long as possible, and that’s why we have some guidelines for nutrition as well as physical activity. But based off of these we still have freedom to choose what kind of physical activity we want to do, and what we prefer to eat. Some people choose to minimize certain food groups, other leave them entirely out, and others eat a whole variety of food groups  – we all prefer different things, and doing one thing is not necessarily better than the other. The same goes for physical activity. 
I think what’s important is that the choices we make regarding physical activities and what we eat, are based off of what gives us joy, rather than what we read, or was told was right for us. My personal experience is that joy builds and strengthens motivation. And I believe that motivation is the engine behind most things we do, and helps us to achieve goals and feel successful. I bet, if you base your health related choices off of what YOU want, and what makes YOU happy, they’ll last longer, and you’ll find more joy in doing so. 
I think being healthy is about balance. Balance between doing what physiological serves your body and what gives you joy, and strengthens your mental health and wellbeing. And I think as part of finding that balance, happiness is an as important part of being healthy as the physical side is. And I know happiness and wellbeing are not constants; we all have ups and downs – it’s part of life, and expressing those feelings are important too. But I strongly believe, we have the power to influence our own happiness – and others’. 
Liking your body, enjoying what you eat and the physical activities you do is not the key to happiness and wellbeing. But I believe it’s a good place to start. So let’s quit the unreal ideas of a perfect body and the mentality that we all have to look the same. And instead of judging and defining ourselves and others based on numbers and physical appearance, let’s start supporting each other in habits that not only increase our physical health but our happiness as well.

Eva is a student-athlete for the Red Deer College Queens women’s basketball team. Despite her first language being Danish, Eva is a terrific writer in English as well. She has a passion for intellect and depth, and the support for The Five You Need runs both ways- as Eva continues to demonstrate her obvious talent for creative writing. 

#mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Address *
First Name
Last Name

Without These Keys, Growth Stays Locked (Guest Post by Paul Bagnall)

“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to be better” -Pat Riley 
Who doesn’t want to be excellent in their lives? In basketball there is a phrase “Bring something more to the floor than scoring”.  As a basketball player, you need to be able to aide your team by doing things other than putting points on the scoreboard. Playing hard-nosed defense, diving for a loose ball, and being a leader are just examples of actions that allow you to influence the game beyond scoring and become excellent. Basketball revolves around players learning how to score points, but how many players are truly willing to play hard-nosed defense, dive for a loose ball or be a leader? These skills will allow you to stand out as an island amongst the ocean of “scorers”.
Life is like that as well. We need to bring more to the floor of others lives than just being present.  Life does not allow us to just exist, but rather we must strive to better the world. Sometimes that means lending an ear to a friend in need. Other times it’s a friendly “hello” to a stranger on the street. Or pushing a stranger’s vehicle out of a snow bank even if it means you’re going to be late to work. Society has created a vacuum of individuals who just want to exist, without bringing something more to other people’s lives. On a personal note, I am trying to implement some “Evolutions” to my own life in order to create something better the lives of others. 

“Selfish Listening” evolves to “Selfless Listening”
Having recently been dismissed from a relationship, I have had a lot of time for some introspection. One of the numerous “we need to talk” talks my ex-girlfriend and I had revolved around how I listen. I didn’t realize I was doing it but when I was responding to her, I would use “I” a lot which caused the focus of our conversations onto myself. I now understand that I need to become a selfless listener. One who doesn’t respond immediately with “I know what you’re saying…” or “I had something like that happen to me…”. Selfless listening involves listening to the other person and asking questions to move the conversation forward instead of turning it towards yourself. I now see that I can evolve just being ridding myself of the “I”s in my life. (Yes, I purposely used “I” a lot in this section…)
    “Making excuses” evolves to “Owning what happens”
I think we all have had bad things happen to us at some point in our lives. Whether it be a speeding ticket, a broken relationship, or a failed exam. When bad things happen, it’s really easy to look externally to create causes for our disappointments. We blame speeding tickets on the police trying to make quotas, we blame a broken relationship on the other person, we blame a failed exam on the teacher. When we blame others for our hardships, we give them power over our lives. This evolution in my life is to take back the power that I would normally give others and give it to myself instead. Giving myself power has to include both the positive and negative parts of my life. If I take all the credit for getting a good grade on a test, I have to be prepared to take the blame for a bad grade. I think the reason people have a hard time owning what happens is that you become vulnerable to yourself and others. Yes, you are opening yourself up for blame, but you are also opening yourself up for growth. Vulnerability is not as negative as society sometimes makes it out to be. Being vulnerable to another person (or yourself!) allows for trust to grow. With that trust, the relationships (even with yourself) strengthen.

“Waiting for experiences” evolves to “Creating experiences”
I love Jim Carrey. I became a fan when he was Ace Ventura and have followed his career ever since. I feel one of his most underrated movies is “Yes Man”. The story revolves around a man who starts to say yes to everything that is asked of him, no matter what. Go to a concert? Yes! Give a homeless man some change? Absolutely! Take Korean lessons? Sure! While the story is fictional, the premise behind the story holds merit. By saying yes to what is asked of us, we create experiences in our lives that we can grow from. Each experience creates a situation we can reflect on, whether the outcome is good or bad. But instead of waiting for experiences to find me, I have started to try and create my own. My neighbors recently invited me to their house-warming party. I said I would try to stop by but later that night I wasn’t feeling very social. Instead of waiting for the experience to come to me, I summoned up all my socializing might and sauntered my way next door. It wasn’t a life-changing experience by any means, but it could have been (I could have easily met my future wife). And that’s the point! Do not wait! Create your own experiences because it might just change your life.

Even through muddy waters, a river always flows. Even at the worst of times, we must always be moving forward in our lives, striving to be better. Be a better friend, better husband/wife, better athlete, better employee. Implementing an “Evolution” strategy into our lives will push us to become better people. Striving to be better will allow us to bring more to the lives of others by being the best possible person that we can be. It’s really easy to be a scorer as a human, but it’s what we bring to the life beyond our scoring that makes us a person.  

Paul Bagnall (Right) is a teacher and coach for multiple sports teams- most notably assisting for men’s basketball at St. Mary’s University as well as head coach at the highschool level. Paul has a fire for life, which includes his passion for mentorship. This mentoring is how Paul’s path crossed The Five You Need, as his guidance and support for Jordan in all dimensions is already unquantifiable in such a short window of time. 

#mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Address *
First Name
Last Name

Jumping Off A Bridge: Anxiety or Excitement

Winter is here! After a few weeks of flirting between hot and cold temperatures, a white blanket finally covers the Albertan earth and it looks like it here to stay. But let’s flashback a couple months ago- I’m in a mountainous paradise known as British Columbia.

Not only that, but I’m sat on the left side of a two person tube that’s gently floating down a beautiful teal river, surrounded by pine trees that not only fill up the scenery, but give life to the immense peaks that rest behind them.

Needless to say, it’s pretty relaxing.

Up ahead there’s a bridge, one where our local tour guide and good friend says is a fantastic place to jump off. After gliding to shore, we mosey up towards the bridge and make our way to the middle. And instantly, the calm relaxation is replaced by intrepid anticipation and adrenaline. I try to decipher whether I’m anxious or excited but the pure exhilaration from the impending jump makes it impossible to tell, so I embrace it before tossing any thought aside and plunge down deep into the river below.

Like anyone jumping into water anywhere, as soon as splash I swim upwards as fast as I can to escape the water burying me.

As soon as my head breaks the top, I exhale quickly in order refill my lungs with air. And just like that, the post-glow of anything exhilarating sets in and the only thing found on my face is a smile.

I replay the scene in my head, and all the thoughts that came with it. I’m struck by the feelings I had, and how the nervous excitement was overwhelming.

Nervous excitement.

What an intriguing, and entirely true sentiment that I’ve come to embrace with open arms. One of many caveats in life is that each and every one of us will have moments where we are nervous. On the same token, we will inevitably be placed in situations that also make us excited. The point is- it’s utterly astounding how closely related these two traits are.

Think of a time where you were boiling with excitement. This could be from anything from an upcoming vacation to a roller coaster ride- being excited is fun, at least for me. During this time you probably had butterflies in your stomach, your heart started beating faster, and you might’ve felt more alert and energized. All one-hundred-percent normal things to feel when you’re stoked about something upcoming.

Now think of a time when you were anxious or nervous about something. Whether from a presentation, performance, or a looming deadline, everyone has felt those ‘uncomfortable’ feelings of anxiety. They’re a part of life, and for thousands of years were the very mechanism that enabled us to survive in a primitive world where virtually anything had the potential to kill us. The fortunate reality is that these instincts are no longer necessary (unless sabre-tooth tigers make a wild comeback, which I don’t see happening), yet we still possess them and many other things passed on from generation to generation. When you’re nervous, you probably have butterflies in our stomach. There’s a good chance your heart rate increased. And your alertness probably made it feel harder to sit still or appear calm.

Sound a little familiar? The crazy thing is that these two emotions are so close in identity they are becoming linked in helping people overcome the harder one by utilizing the fun one. Excitement can be your friend, and training your mind to wrap your anxieties in a bow of exhilaration is very real, very accessible possibility.

Simple affirmations corroborate with almost everything else I’ve written, this topic is no different. Giving positive self-talk to guide yourself through these emotions might seem silly, but ‘speaking’ things into existence is a very real concept in the mind. Self-affirmations can be as simple as repeating “I’m excited” over and over again, as well as a baby step to allowing your mind to see it in an alternative way. Eventually, feeding yourself heaps of positivity can become effortless as it becomes second nature by way of habit.

This is only a small piece to a beautiful mosaic that is the puzzle of the human mind, specifically anxieties.

I don’t know about you, but an opportunity to change that sounds pretty exciting to me.


Leave me a comment below on your thoughts, I’d love to hear them.