Body Love: What Is Better: Feeling Good or Looking Good?

I used to think that if I was physically perfect then I would be happy, confident, and my lifelong internal struggle for self-worth would magically vanish.

After doing a fitness competition and getting my body fat down to 9%, yet still feeling more paranoid and insecure about my body than ever before, I quickly realized how wrong I was to place such importance on my physical attributes alone.

The true deception was thinking I was healthy because I was super fit. In reality, I had never been more ill. I struggled with energy, digestive stress, food sensitivities, hormonal disruptions, and adrenal issues. I may have looked good, but I certainly didn’t feel good.

It’s natural that, as humans, we are attracted to people who are healthy because they naturally exude an aura of confidence and physical capability. They typically have better posture, glowing skin, strong nails and teeth, beautiful hair, and radiant energy. Oh, and they reside at their ideal weight—all of these attributes our society finds desirable.

Do you only feel good if you look good? Or is it because you feel good that you look good?

For more than a decade, I have seriously worked on my health. It took some time to switch my mindset from a sole emphasis on my physical size, weight, and body fat, but I found it got easier the more I chose to simply love and accept myself right where I am.

That’s not to say that I don’t have goals for improvement—on the contrary, I am constantly a work in progress. However, the major focus of my work has shifted away from an emphasis on physical aesthetics to the importance of physical, mental, and emotional health.

It all began with genuinely feeling good about who I am and how I am showing up in the world.

As I worked on defining my core values, and then living by them I found I could easily re-focus my goals around developing Love, Respect, Curiosity, Compassion, and Gratitude toward myself and others.

As I behaved more consistently in this new healthy way, I noticed an interesting shift occur. I became the healthy, vibrant person I had always longed to be, minus the internal struggle with body image and self-worth.

People started commenting on my glow, my aura, my energy, and my state of genuine happiness. They would say, “Wow! You look so good!

The best part was that I felt good, too! I had stopped struggling with my weight, with food, with exercise, with myself! I had become more peaceful, joyful, whole, and healthy.

So, to answer the question: Is it better to feel good or look good? I have to vote for feeling good. When you feel good your whole energy shifts, your body heals, and your heart and mind are restored so you end up looking good too—it radiates from you like the inviting warmth of the sun. It’s a true win-win.

Focus on your internal health first, and all your fitness goals will fall into place—oh, and be ready for them to change. When you transform on the inside, you no longer need to be ”perfect” on the outside.

One of the reasons I created the Transformation Challenge Series is to help men and women with whom my story resonates. Those who desperately want to break free from the white-knuckle grip of fear and shame that wanting to look a certain way has brought them.

If you’re interested in transforming your life and your body from the inside out — for good — then I encourage you to join the team. You will never be the same.

Editor’s note: You can get on Missi’s priority wait list for the next upcoming challenge. 

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Further Reading:

My Value is Immeasurable

Missi Holt

Missi Holt is the fitness and nutrition editor for Early to Rise. She is a master nutrition therapist, certified yoga trainer, Certified Turbulence Trainer and an NSCA certified personal trainer (CPT). She also provides fitness and nutrition therapy through her own organization, Whole Life Health.