Watch Mandy’s Powerful TedX Talk


Body Image Part 2


A group of women share their experience and wisdom with body image and disordered eating.



Mandy DiMarzo  0:00  

Okay, welcome everybody. We are just going to get started. I'm excited about today's episode as I'm gonna wait for everybody to come on in. We are talking body image. This is a part two, to a fantastic talk we had about a month ago. And it's really exactly why this locker room space is so important is to have the conversations that we need to be having. And sharing and connecting on and creating a sense of safety and, and community and all things. So say the kickoff today, I'm going to pull some people in. As you guys come on in. Yeah, Kate, awesome. Danielle. Amazing. How you guys happy to have you guys here today. All things body image. I'm waiting for Mia to come on in. Yeah, we're gonna dive into a few certain topics. I've gotta to just get my coffee. It's part of the thing. I need my coffee right now. So get comfortable. And yeah, hope your day is going well. I was just thinking I've been going non stop. Since what time? Since 6am. So, this coffee is beyond important. I'm gonna give me a one more second. And then I'm just gonna kick this on off. But I had... here we go. There she is. 

Kate  1:52  

Mandy, can you can you do just Hi, just like a high level, just like a CliffsNotes because I unfortunately didn't catch all of the part one. So maybe just a quick here's up to speed on what you missed.

Mandy DiMarzo  2:05  

Oh, God love that Kate, and great, great point. So the first one we had about six athletes, either college athletes or professional athletes come on in and just speak about their journey with body image. Which was fascinating because they came from all different sports, water polo, crew dancing. And really many of these sports are very body focused and their bodies were on the platform and on the stage, but it's also their their tool to do what they wanted to do and what they loved. And it was an incredibly high level conversation about when they really realized you know, what they couldn't get away with eating whatever they wanted to eat and not gain weight. When metabolisms when you had to be healthy when you're at college, and you know, your fitness journey is entirely up to you. When you started to look at your body and see it differently than you did were all of a sudden you're noticing curves are your notice that you're putting yourself down. And that those conversations that happens different at different moments. What my takeaway I had a lot of takeaways. One was Hannah was Hannah was one of the professional rowers that were on the call. And what Hannah shared, which was really fascinating, was she was over six feet tall, and she owned her body from the day one her her upbringing, knowing that this body was a weapon was something that she embraced from a very early part of her life. And I envied that and we shared in that and I was hoping that a lot of people that listened could really change the narrative that they have about their body and see it not for all the flaws, but in fact for all the great things your body can do. So you know, there was also parts of just the regular the regular the way we crush ourselves really, really hard on ourselves and and critical and that inner voice and and how we have to tame it and really turn into a positive but that's in a nutshell. Hey, Mia, you in here and I'm pulling Blair in this awesome group. Jules, Danielle.

Mia  4:46  

I am here. How are you? How are you?

Mandy DiMarzo  4:49  

Good. We just did a little nutshell of the part one of body image and just shared a little bit of where our different points of view are coming in on and where we land. And as we're going to kick off part two,

Mia  5:03  

Yeah, I'm excited. Episode one or part one of this was so powerful. And I think it was like our most popular episode on calling. So there's definitely a need for this type of conversation. And there are a lot of heartfelt stories. So if you're interested, like definitely go listen to part one. Today, I think we're continuing the conversation with particular emphasis not on the past experiences, because in episode one, we were talking about, like all of our stories, like you had explained. But I think today, maybe we should talk about like how we can foster better body image in the present and in our day to day lives. I remember last time, Avery mentioned how she exercises with the primary goal of feeling better mentally, primarily, mentally and physically, but without regard for what she looks like physically. And I think that's harder said than done for a lot of people. So Maddie, maybe maybe this question can go to you first. But what would you say to someone that's struggling with body image or even disordered eating? And maybe like, what are? What are some actionable boundaries we can set in place? Because I know we had a whole episode on like fitness trackers, and how they can be really beneficial for some people, but for other people that maybe have struggled, definitely not so. So yeah, what do you think?

Mandy DiMarzo  6:36  

Yeah, talking on mute was awesome, Mandy, God! Look, this is exciting, because there's actually a lot of people on this call, that have a lot of experience, too. So what I would say I'll just kick it off, and then I may just pull you guys in, and you showed up for a reason to have this conversation. So I'm excited, thank you for your time. Um, what I would really say, is the, you know, I have struggled with an eating disorder, I've struggled with a lot of different body issues. And when I looked at all that my body did for me, and I looked at my body as the only body that I got in this one lifetime, and all the damage that I did do, and saying, you know, instead of being against myself, be championing and be on the same side and be really just my own cheering section, my own little piece that's building myself up, really...  I get a little emotional, that's what I'm, I get emotional, because there are over so many years that I was so hard on myself. And I just would not allow myself to shine and thrive and everything that I needed, I held back. And I didn't give to myself. And, you know, it says, you know, to love somebody else, you have to love yourself first. And it took me a very long time to realize that there's all kinds of ways to give love to yourself. And it starts with nourishment. And it starts with giving your body what it needs. 

So I guess I'll start there. And just to your point, because it's going to be layers, and there's gonna be lots of conversation about this. And I'm going to get emotional. And I'm going to get joyful, and I'm going to get a little shaky. But there are things that I've learned along the way. And I've learned that trackers and tools are not conducive to my journey, and not helpful for my headspace. And so that was something that really sent me down a slippery slope being numbers driven, see, calorie driven, or calorie restrictive, I should say. And so there are some boundaries I have imposed on myself, because I know my needs. And part of a superpower that we have inside of us is knowing our needs. It's also knowing what will send us down a spiral that we don't want to go down. And it is up to us to put those in place. And it has become a lot easier as I've gotten into a very healthy place. But it is something that is part of my rituals. And one of them is not trackers in any way. Wow, this is a great group. I want to just invite right away because I know she's got something to say about this. Blair it's great to have you on this call. And I know that you share in this.

Blair  9:43  

Hey, thank you so much for having me. And first of all, I'm just so excited that we're talking about this, I think, you know, in explaining my journey, a lot of it was experienced alone and feeling ashamed and like something was wrong with me. So when Mandy, you sort of put it out there that you had struggled in the past, and you know, I had met you in a very good place in your life and the fact that you sort of tapped into that and said, You know, I'm here because I struggled and I went through something allowed me to share for the first time, what I went through, and it was something that I hadn't felt comfortable sharing with my family or my friends. And it sort of all started. Not to go too much into the past, but I think it is a part of the journey. So it's an important story to tell. But, you know, I had a tennis racquet in my hand, from the time I was four years old, I never thought about food and how it related to body image. I never understood why people went to gyms, you know, I played tennis. I became part of a pretty intense training academy, and we had conditioning as a part of it. And I was like, this is just annoying, like, I have to do suicides, I don't want to run. But I had no idea how that translated to what my body looked and felt like, you know, I was five, six, very slender 115. You know, all through middle and high school, like I never thought about food. I was, you know, at the point where we were seniors, we had the opportunity to go off campus at the private school that I went to for lunch, and I would go to sort of this open air mall area, and I would get a Chipotle burrito, and a banana cream cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. And that was like totally normal for me. And I would then go play tennis after school and I would get a McDonald's supersize, you know, chicken nuggets and fries and supersize sprite and never thought twice about it. That all changed when I went to college. So I was playing Division One lacrosse and working out from, you know, my perspective, more than I ever had in my life. We were lifting we were doing run tests, we were playing lacrosse, we'd captain's practices, you know, it was six, seven hours a day, some days. And so, you know, I'm also for the first time in a cafeteria environment where I'm like, great, I can get cheese fries and pizza and like sausage, with Oreos and caramel, like give it to like I had no, like concept of how food impacted my body. And I did not eat a vegetable until I was 18 years old. Like so. Freshman year of college, you know, we're lifting--our bodies are changing, like such different ways. We're lifting like really heavy weights and have traps for the first time and I'm trying to wear a tank top. And it's not a cute look. It's just, you know, what is happening to my body. And I wasn't playing as much as I thought I would. And like I said, I never thought that tennis was a workout. I was just playing a sport. So I packed on about 40 pounds my freshman year. So the freshman 15 was the freshmen 40. And my mom came to visit, I think it was over fall break. And she was like, we need to go shopping, like you need new clothes. And I was devastated. You kind of see it happening, like your clothes get a little tighter. But you know, I'm like, Oh, I'm working out, I'm drinking beer for the first time. And you know, all of that is impacting the way that my body is changing. But I'm also you know, performing at the super high division one level and you know, this is how it's supposed to be. Fast forward to sophomore year. I remember the exact moment I tried it for the first time, I became incredibly bulimic. And I couldn't stop myself from eating the foods that I was eating and other people were eating the same things, but they were also playing a lot more and you know, their bodies were not changing the same way that mine was and I was like, this is just like an eraser, it erases the mistake and it's gone. And that lasted for 10 years. And, you know, the damage that I've done to my body, you know, combined with being extremely anorexic, I got down to, after I graduated from college, 105 pounds. And it was my junior year, you know, I still wasn't playing, I was running 14--it became an exercise obsession too. So it was eating foods, purging, not eating in a healthy way over exercising and, you know, I got to the point where I had a stress fracture in my hip, which is pretty indicative of an eating disorder in an athlete and I missed my entire junior season. And then at think I was either 29 or 30 I needed surgery. You know I was flying internationally for a very successful career, and I couldn't sit on a plane anymore. So I had a torn labrum. You know, it had just continued since that first moment in college. So, you know, it's, it's definitely a struggle, I think now I'm a very different person and see food in a very different way. If anyone follows me on Instagram, I cook all the time I am big on what goes into my food and nourishing my body. And I see working out now as something that's an escape for a few minutes a day. It makes me feel stronger and empowers me. I have not stepped on a scale in over 10 years. I go to a doctor's office and I say, I've struggled, which is hard to say, it's embarrassing. You know, you say I've struggled, I was dedicated to this number, I was adamant that I be 105 pounds, and I would do whatever it took to get there. Like, please don't tell me the number because I go by how my clothes fit. And I know if I'm slacking off. Mandy, we've talked about this, like, there, you know, weeks that I'm going through something and I don't work out, and I don't feel great about it, but it's gonna be okay, you get to the other side, and you get back on your routine.

Mandy DiMarzo  16:21  

Exactly. You know Blair, first of all, like, it takes so much bravery and courage to share this, and what you share. Like, I bet you, throughout your journey, people on this call and who will listen will say, You know what, I did that too, or I felt that too, and my God, I felt alone and at what you just said about being in a doctor's office. I also do and that is the boundary that we're talking about that is something where we're like, you know what, I know that's not gonna help me to see that number. I know, it's gonna just take me to that negative space, and I've worked so hard to not go to that space. So, you know, all of that, putting that in a nutshell is really hard to do. But what I want also to encourage is being in a doctor's office, hey I've gotten this far, I don't need to hear the number, and owning it, as opposed to feeling ashamed. I'm with you. I have felt a lot of shame. With, you know, I still stutter. I had an eating disorder, you know, but there's something about saying it out loud and saying, this is where I struggle. And then oh, yeah, and this is how much I've overcome. So thank you, right off the bat, thank you for the share. And just, that's what this is all about you guys. And we'd love for you guys to chime in if there's anybody that either can connect with something that Blair said or talk about a boundary that has helped them right now in their journey or supported where they want to be with their body. Love to hear anybody that has a thought on that.

Julie  18:05  

Can I speak real quick?

Mandy DiMarzo  18:06  

Hell yeah, Jules, you can speak!

Julie  18:07  

Okay. All right. So I'm on the reverse. I wasn't an athlete growing up, ever. And I think that, I started in gym very early, and I was a fat kid and always felt that and was at weightwatchers when I was young, very young, I took a grapefruit for lunch, like one of those journal articles when your six and your teacher writes the words and the color the pictures kind of thing. So, you know, everyone else around me was doing sports, but I wasn't and I connected at the gym, and I didn't you know, really know how to work out and I didn't really know, what it was for, except I thought I'd be thin. So the whole thing about going to the gym was about being thin, and I did it and I had a dedicated "cardio, cardio, cardio." I don't know if it ever really worked, necessarily. But you know, nobody had to tell me to go, I went. And I was eating what I thought, you know, eating disorder, eating, blah, blah, blah, cut to, because life happens, and babies and your body changes and chasing the dream. And what I found in working out was that I found eventually through work and in my own journey of self discovery. And I think this is really the point of what I would say, is that there's always a smaller number. There's always a smaller size. And so it's about, I think, doing the real work, which is "what are you trying to hide or run away from?" And the minute I got really clear about myself and who I wanted to be and my "bigger than just a size" and a body. All of a sudden I felt powerful and then I saw things changing and I wanted to better myself. And bettering myself it was taking the next challenge. And I never--I think Mandy calls in BURN, if you anybody here that doesn't do BURN you should--but she says we're athletes, and I was like, she's not talking to me, right? Because I'm not an athlete. I'm just like, a mom or whatever. I don't know. And she would scream at us. No, no, you're an athlete. And this woman that I found on the TV. And I was like, wait a minute, maybe I fuckin am an athlete. And that was the moment that I was like, wait a minute, I am doing this. And I think that it's all in a mind shift. And so I wanted to eat well, because I wanted to feel good the next day when I'm doing burpees, and mountain climbers, or whatever I'm doing. So one begets the next and that takes time. And that takes having a safe space to feel good about yourself. But, I think mostly what I thought about today, I also want to take away the mirror. So you're talking about fitness trackers back to the beginning of this question. I think mirrors really mess with people. And for people that are really struggling with body image, taking the mirror away and moving to feel good and moving to feel powerful, and connecting to that. And then bring the mirror back in if you want at some point, but really connecting to your strength without staring at yourself in the mirror and criticizing what you look like. Does that make sense?

Mandy DiMarzo  21:29  

That's so good, Jules. Yeah, it makes total, it's I mean, the hearts are going up like crazy. Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. And mirrors can absolutely play around, I don't have any mirrors around, you know, it's hard not to look at the screen when I'm sweating and all that in between the workouts. But when you get away from what it looks like, and you go by the 'feels', and you turn inward and you do the inward work, the outward does not matter. And that's what you're saying. And I absolutely connect with that 1,000%. And yeah, anybody that moves with intention is an athlete. And when you show up for yourself and you're pushing through, you're an athlete, and there is not a certain definition, there's not a certain expiration date, there is not a time when all of a sudden we have to start identifying as a middle aged woman or a this or a that or a mom. Like, down to the core you are an athlete. You know, so all of that makes sense. Is there anybody else that wants to take the brave step because right now I feel like surrounded by freakin warriors. I'm going to get goosebumps this entire conversation, for sure. Oh, my God.

Danielle  22:49  

So I'll say So Julie, I'm a lot like you. I'm not an athlete. I never have been. 

Mandy DiMarzo  22:55  

You are, Danielle, you are!

Danielle  22:57  

I am now since I started BURN, I am now an athlete. I am a BURN athlete. A division one BURN athlete. And I was an overweight kid. And you know, starting around 9, 10, I was pretty heavy and I went on a diet and my parents made me go to the gym and I was never good in gym class because I was the overweight kid. I was the last one picked for a team so I never--and I, still to this day, identify with being that overweight kid who is not athletic. And then it was senior year of college I started to lose a lot of weight. I had gone away actually, abroad and I came back even heavier. And my boyfriend's father comment is like wow, you must have like the food where you were. And I kind of just, all of a sudden, I don't know why that just triggered something so I started to lose weight. And I noticed that the more weight I lost, the more sort of positive attention I was getting and then it just sort of spiraled from there. I honestly have not been able to come up with the boundary and I really do need one because I was really bad at one point, I overcame that. Past few years, I sort of have fallen back into that same mind frame. BURN has helped tremendously because just like you, Julie, days that I don't eat the day before, there's no way I'm getting through a BURN workout. And so that has sort of become my motivation to like, I have to fuel myself that day before in order to get through this workout. Because with BURN for the first time I, and seriously, I do feel like an athlete, I do feel like I'm able to to crush this incredibly hard workout that no one back in my fourth grade gym class would have believed I could actually do. So this is good for me because I'm liking listening about these different boundaries that everyone's doing on here because I do need to come up with something.

Mandy DiMarzo  23:09  

And specifically, Danielle, in terms of boundaries, is it more about owning your space and owning your healthy habits? And where you're at and what feels good to you? Or is it about boundaries to continue to stay on the right path?

Danielle  25:24  

I think it's a combination. I mean, I like not getting on the scale, I've sort of cut back on that, the trackers and all of that. But also, now that I am like, I feel like okay, now I am working out and I am eating healthy. I still get pushback from that from people like, Oh, of course, you're not going to eat the dessert? Or is this an okay place to go? Are you going to eat there? And I'm thinking to myself, I do eat. I am eating. Just because I'm saying, I have a dairy allergy or, like, everything now gets sort of, and I need to turn to those people and say, you know, stop. I feel good doing that. I'm not doing it because I'm obsessed with being thin anymore. I'm doing it because I want to feel healthy. But I also think that once you tell someone you have an eating disorder, who doesn't have an experience with an eating disorder, they just don't know how to respond to you. And what they say sometimes can be very inappropriate. You know, Mandy, we've talked about this before, you would never say certain things to someone and people feel they're allowed to say that to you. But one of the most comfortable time I've ever had is, without you, we had met on a Sunday for coffee. And you had gotten--we got coffee, and you've got a cookie. And you said "Do you want some of the cookie?" And I said no. And I was waiting for you to start to give me--because I'm so used to someone saying, "oh look, you're not gonna, just have a little bit of the cookie." And you didn't. And it felt so good. Like it was, it was so stupid. It sounds so stupid. But it was just so, I don't know.

Mandy DiMarzo  27:04  

First of all, first of all, it's not stupid, because I want to share my cookies. No, I'm kidding. But you know what, you know what I've been around enough people to shame and make me feel bad about what I'm eating and what I'm not eating. And so I relate 1,000%. And I know other people do, too. I'm going to just say, when you do put it out in the atmosphere, "I struggle with eating," it is as if you are up to be judged, to be ridiculed, to be criticized, to be critiqued and all the in between, and that we need to change. And I think there's a lot of things that we need to say, and not even worry about what other people think. But we just need to get rooted in ourself. And what feels right in ourselves. So that that doesn't shake us. Because it seems like it's almost like it's part of the kickback, having the courage to put it out there. It doesn't mean that you're up to be critiqued every time you sit down for a meal. Is anybody else have anything to say on that?

Kate  28:10  

Mandy? I am, I am very thankful after listening to your stories--this is Kate--that, that I haven't suffered any sort of eating disorder. But you and I DM'd about this a little bit. The past couple years, I have very consciously strayed away from people in my life that didn't support my health goals. So Danielle, those people you were talking about that may shame when you're trying to stay on your healthy path. You know, I lived in my corporate work level for years. And then once I left that, you know, I felt like I was leaving the community that I knew, but a lot of those people, they didn't have the same health goals that I had. So when I had the option to kind of lean into a new community, which was--you know, the timing for the BURN community couldn't have been better--you know, I saw all these people that had similar health goals and similar ideas and thoughts on food. And so I leaned into this group so hard and have found, just so many people that I'm connecting with, even though a lot of us have never even met in person, but I'm kind of shedding a lot of those relationships that I had for years, and I'm trading them in for ones that are just more beneficial to me now. Like, I wonder if you have that opportunity. You know?

Mandy DiMarzo  29:28  

That's so good, Kate, that is really so onpoint about getting in that, whatever, boat that you're in and making sure people are paddling with you, and that paddling gets through, and not bringing the water into the boat, but just supporting that path. Because it's going to change, and we're going to change, and part of, you know, people in my life. I think COVID taught me--and that's another conversation--but you know life is too short that you surround yourself with people that absolutely are your tribe and that love you and love you hard. So good. So good. Anybody else have anything to say about either owning their space? Or what monitors that keep them on tracks? When when it's a slippery slope?

Blair  30:13  

Yeah, I can chime in Mandy, I think a lot of it has to do with a little bit of a herd mentality. So do you see everybody else ordering dessert? And are they judging you for being the one that says, "No, I'm okay." You know, me, personally, I like a liquid dessert, I love my wine. So, you know, I'm going to go that route. And that's how, you know, I choose to spend my calories. And you know what I want to do. The feeling of regret, and the sense of "I have to burn this off" is not worth it. For me, when it comes to overeating, I'm good with a certain amount of food, I don't need to clean my plate. If I'm full, I'm full. If not, I'll continue to eat more. And I think a big thing for me has just been letting go of other people's perceptions. Like people who know me, my family, my friends, get it and no one's going to pressure me to do something that makes me uncomfortable when it comes to food or eating. And, you know, if I choose to dress my own salad, instead of having somebody add a ton of olive oil, and all this stuff that makes me feel bad about myself. But again, it does go back to having a past where there's been an eating disorder and issues with food. And that will always exist in some respect in my life. But I acknowledge it. And I think if you surround yourself with people who don't bat an eyelash, that, you know, hey, I'm good, I'm gonna have another glass of wine, I don't want dessert. It's not something that I need in my life. And you have that support system, you get rid of the people who are judging you. And it's for way more than just food. You know, I need to work out. I have friends that don't work out, and they understand that that's a big part of my life. And that fuels me in a way that doesn't fuel them. So, I think Danielle, to your point, it's really just finding those people that support you and shedding the excess weight of people who are just there to judge you. And finding people that you're comfortable, or sort of being yourself around, and being open and honest about everything.

Mandy DiMarzo  32:47  

Mia, are you talking?

Mia  32:48  

Yeah. I, uh, I, sorry, I'm laughing. I, yeah, I kind of have like a little--I don't know if I would call it an official mantra--but something that keeps me on track. For those of you that weren't part of the first episode, or part one of this, I was in outpatient treatment for an eating disorder, like three years ago, when I was 23. And something that I drilled into my mind at that time in my life, was how I want to look back on my life when I'm super old. And, you know, dying, I guess--kind of morbid, but--I just, I had, you know, an eating disorder takes over your entire life, it's really hard to live, I would say impossible to live a full life when you have an eating disorder. Even if you just struggle with the issue and don't have a full disorder, but I just wanted to look back on my life and know that I made the most of every moment. And I knew at that point in my life that this disorder was taking over my entire life and if I continue down that path, it wouldn't, I wouldn't really be living, like I would just be feeding into this disorder. Like, I would just be the disorder, that would be me. So that's something that continually keeps me on track. Like, I feel like I have now that I really consider myself 100% recovered. I feel like I can live my life fully and I don't I don't think about food, really ever, unless I'm hungry. And that for me was a huge deal. I just have so much more mental capacity to put energy into things that I want to do with my life, like creativity and work and relationships and things like that. So that's that's what keeps me on track. Not necessarily a mantra but like, for a thought.

Mandy DiMarzo  34:56  

That's huge, Mia, I mean, just to be able to say that takes so much work, it doesn't happen overnight. It doesn't happen because you wish it away. I mean, it happens, because you put in the work, and you put it into practice, and you figure out rituals to get you there. So to be able to say that and have a full circle is something that I admire, and I applaud, and I champion. And I think that we have to have little tools and tricks and hacks. And that's not a weakness, I believe that's a strength. And I believe that sharing, I'm learning as even we're talking and, you know, whatever conversations that I've had with any of you on this side, or at coffee, or wherever, it's made me better and help bring into focus, where I had my weaknesses and how I can change that. And that's part of what this is all about is if it's a mantra, if it's getting away from numbers, if it's tuning in to food being fuel and not the enemy. And, you know, I just think it takes a lot of bravery to share this. And what's also awesome and amazing and crazy, is that it's everybody has been truly different paths on how do they get to where they are, we can connect, I'm struggling with body image. But one of us was aware of when we were six years old, another of us wasn't aware till we were 20 years old, and you know, it changes the dynamic. And those goalposts change, and that is a constant change. But what that common thread is, you know, is that internal peace as well. Or there's one comment somebody said to you, that can send you down a downward spiral. And I had that a lot of that in my life early on. And something that really empowered me was taking that power back reclaiming that power, and saying to myself, why would you ever even give a shit about what so and so thinks or says, you know, that's on them, that is an insecurity or that is something going on in their world, like that is part of their context that is no place in your world. And a lot of times, what a shame it is that we're giving any sort of soundness, any sort of thought to somebody who really has no place in that.

Blair  37:36  

Mandy, I wanted to jump in, I think on the flip side of that is the positive reinforcement that you get, when you're going through an eating disorder that fuels you in a very different way. So it's not negative comments that are making you want to be thinner, or feel shamed or judged. It's people saying, You look incredible, you look amazing, you're looking the best you've ever looked where, you know, on the inside, you're thinking, I'm killing myself doing this, like, I'm not eating, I'm not happy, my day revolves around how many calories are in something or me trying to figure out how am I going to get away from going out to dinner with someone because I don't want to consume those calories. You know, people are saying that I look great. And I need to maintain that figure. And, you know, I think positive reinforcement when you're going through something like that is also really difficult because they have no idea what extremes you're going to, to look like that. And my mom took a picture of me right when I moved to New York City, right after college, had a great job with ABC News, dream job, and my mom took a picture of me walking down to the subway and never said anything about it and never had a conversation about it. But she, you know, 15 years later finally said like, I took that because you were wasting away and like your bones are popping out of your body. But that exact same day on the subway, a random man came up to me and just said I want to tell you how beautiful your daughter is. So it's so tricky. And it's such a mindfuck.

Danielle  39:16  

Yeah. Yeah, I kind of agree 100%. Like, I get the same thing.

Olivia  39:21  

You know, just the the idea of the positive reinforcement being, that can be just as toxic, like, it's sometimes to it, it brings back old insecurities and old habits to the forefront. Like if a friend or family member will be like, wow, like you look really good right now. Like, you're looking great. You know, at first glance, it's like Oh, thank you that feels really nice. But then at least for me, it can lead to a spiral of, well did I not look good before like let me think what have I done differently now. Okay, like now they've noticed that, this is what I look when I look great. So I have to maintain this or do it like you know, it can. It's so hard to just stay sort of steadfast and independent and not let those external comments, even if they're well intentioned, shape what you think and what you feel.

Mandy DiMarzo  40:14  

How do you do it then? Olivia? It's so true. How do you do it? Like, what bolsters you down?

Olivia  40:20  

You know, to be completely honest, I have not figured it out yet. Like, for me, it's like right now the fact that I'm aware of the fact that it sends me into sort of a spiral, like, I take that as sort of a win, and I'm just trying to, I'm really in all aspects of my life, honestly, I'm trying to focus a lot more on mindfulness and being in the present and being super in touch with how I feel, both emotionally and physically. And so sort of what I've been trying now is very much like turning internally rather than, and just checking in with myself and being aware and like, it sounds kind of silly, but just like taking a second of being like, okay, in this moment, how do I feel? How do I feel right now, emotionally, physically, and just sort of forcing myself to take the time and start to recognize different cues in my body? That's--and in my brain too, you know--that's my latest effort. That's sort of what I think. I don't know. That's what, it's what I'm trying now. So this is why I also love tuning into these conversations, because I love just hearing all the advice and experiences that everyone else had. So thank you so much for sharing.

Mandy DiMarzo  41:43  

I love that and I want others to chime in. All I'm gonna say Olivia to that, is that it isn't silly to say those things. It's a touchstone. It's what gives you a grounded feeling. And, you know, really good point Blair. There's no comment that would be safe with me. So it's either oh, wow, man, you look really great during the the worst of my years, or I was hitting my marathon times and winning marathons. So that was encouraging, even though I was absolutely ruining the inside of my body. Or, you know, somebody saying, hey, Mandy, on the flip side, you look really healthy. And so for the years that I finally got strong, and really started to fuel, and then somebody telling me, I look healthy, it had the opposite effect, like, oh my God, that sent me back. And that was really difficult. And so Olivia, those mindful mantras are actually what has helped me climb out of the darkest depths. And that is, hey Mandy, you know what, let go of all the great stuff, let go of all the shit stuff, stay your pace, stay your path. And that feels really great. Thank you for that compliment. And it goes. Like, it goes water off my back as much as a negative one does. And that's only because I really learned to turn up that inward voice of myself, and that's the most important voice. And so, yeah, does it take away some of the great compliments? Sure, but those are outliers, just like the others are for me, so I have to stay on my path.

Blair  43:26  

100% Mandy, and I think, you know, for me, I'm my own harshest critic, and my biggest champion. I think, you know, at the end of the day is I have done what I set out to do for the day, you know, whether it's working out going for a walk, doing BURN, which makes me happy. You know, it's getting rid of sort of all of the outside opinions. At the end of the day, I live with me, I know me better than anybody else will ever know me, I know what's going through my head, on a second by second basis, and where my mind's at, what external things, you know, whether it's work or relationships are affecting me in a way that nobody else does. So, if I'm able to choose how I'm spending my day and who I'm spending my day with, that's what's most important to me. And I know what I'm slacking off. Like, I've I DM'd you, I text you and say, Hey, I haven't done BURN for a week. I've been having a time. I know that I'm in it. I'm very self aware of that. And I'll pull myself out of it. And not sort of letting all of those other voices chime in, I think, has been something that I've learned way too late in life, but I'm very grateful that I have.

Mandy DiMarzo  44:42  

Not too late at all. Kate, do you remember what you said to me in the live yesterday about instead of counting calories what to count? 

Kate  44:51  

Yeah, that one resonated with me a lot when I read it that morning.

Mandy DiMarzo  44:56  

Can you share that? I love that.

Kate  44:58  

Yeah, so this was a nutritionist that I've never worked with, but I've been listening to her podcast. She's just really, really smart. She is the founder of Food Trainers. Her name's Lauren Slayton. And I don't have it up, but it was something to the effect of, someone once asked me how many calories they should have in a day, and I quoted them as saying, I count my hours of sleep, I count the amount of sugar that I put in my body, I count the amount of steps that I take, but I don't count calories. And I just, I appreciated it. It resonated with me. Because I mean, who has that kind of time anyway. I don't think it's effective. But even if it was effective, I don't think anyone has that kind of time anyway.

Mandy DiMarzo  45:42  

I just love that. And I think it piggy backs and echoes what Blair's saying about like, hey, you know what matters? You know, I set out what I wanted to do, I set goals, I count the smiles that I shared, the hugs that I had, the laughs that I had, you know, at the end of the day, what you look at. Nobody cares what you weigh. Nobody cares the calories. And when you let go of that, and you look, how did I spend my day, my week, my month, my year, my life? You know, it's built on, those are the things you need to count on. Right. And that's, you know, again, there are some of the--I will come up with some of the cheesiest shit you're going to hear. But that cheesy shit, that cliche shit, it actually does have a powerful way of, you know, really helping your perspective.

Danielle  46:32  

Yeah, and I remember when I was at, I was probably my worst. I mean, so I was like a child, like, wait. And I was with my entire I was had that same thing, an outpatient therapy, and I was telling her how because I had been brought myself during it. But I was also pretty happy with my weight. And she, she looked at me like I was crazy. And she said, what number will you be happy? Because Are you happy now. And if I'm sitting on my apartment for crying, because I can't eat a can of chicken broth, is that happy, so I can get to that, that you know, even smaller weight. And the less I lost, the more I lost, the less I weighed, the more unhappy I became. And so that was, you know, 25 years ago. And now we're, you know, 25 years later, where I'm still not as bad as I was not nearly as bad as I was back then. But that's sort of been a reminder to me, like when I'm, like you said Blair, when people are saying, Oh, you look so great. And you're thinking okay, but do know what I've been doing to get to this point? You're not happy? And so I have to say to myself at times is this really? Why are you doing this? Are you doing it because it's making you happy? Because you don't really seem so happy right now. And so that is the one thing that I will sometimes remind myself, I have to remind myself, are you happy right now or you're not?  When I'm doing BURN want to eat, how I be not able to work out because I'm just going to eat soup the day before. You know, it makes me reevaluate. And especially now I have a 16 year old daughter who is an athlete, and she's a hockey player. She's built like a hockey player. And she's always been very confident in her body. And I can see now her starting to say things like, well, I can't fit into your jeans, I tried on a pair of jeans, I can't fit into them. Or you know, her friend, her roommates very tall and skinny and she's a dancer, she's like, well, I don't have dancer legs. And so it's starting to make me a little, you know, so I have to get on a diet because you know, spring break is coming up. So for athletes on here, how do you handle that? What would be a suggestion because I don't want her to have to struggle with this. I love that she's been so confident up to this point of what she wears and how she carries herself. And I don't want that to shift and I've been trying really hard myself not to talk about weight.

Blair  49:16  

I think what's really hard, I mean from my background, is if you are an athlete, and you're part of a training program, you know, it's kind of not up to you what your body is going to look like. Especially you know, having played Division One lacrosse, like I never would have signed up for lifting the amount of weight that I was lifting and you know, the muscles that I was gaining, that just wasn't a part of my program. And I think you know now I'm, oh God, it's been 20 years since I went to college, 16 since I graduated, which makes me sound really old, but you know, I think now coaches are starting to think you know, alright, let's incorporate more sort of cross training into this, it doesn't need to be strictly the heavy running and lifting. We don't need to bulk these girls up. Like that was, that was the mindset, at least for me personally. And I think something that I didn't know, and something that I've shared with Mandy is that you can change your body, you can pack on weight as needed, if a coach feels that that's appropriate, which, like I said, I don't think lacrosse coaches necessarily think that girls doing hand cleans and squats and, you know, lifting all this heavy weight is the right thing to do anymore, you know, with their strength and training coaches, but you know, I have been amazed at how my body has transformed since doing BURN, and had no idea that I would never ever have the type of legs that I have now. And I'm like, super proud of them. They're very strong, but not like sort of the same bulky thing that I was dealing with. So I think a lot of it is just addressing, like, the need for the moment, if that makes sense. Like, if I had a daughter, I would just say, like, you're training and like you, this is fueling your workout and your exercise. And this is how your body looks to perform in the way that you need to be performing in the sport that you're excelling at. And it's making you better. And I think if you take a hard look at that, and you say I'm doing all of this, and I'm not performing better, and I'm not happy about it, and then you make a change. But it's tough when you're in a program where everyone is required to do the same training, you know, strength training, running, conditioning, to step out of that and say this isn't working for me. So I think that's sort of where the nuance is with all of that.

Danielle  51:52  

Thanks so much for that was awesome. Thanks.

Mandy DiMarzo  51:55  

You know, Avery, I don't want to put you on the spot at all. And if you're busy, don't even worry about it. But I felt like you were part of the first conversation and just like, you know, I think it was either Hannah or Anya, that was just saying they saw their body as a tool. And as you know, they were able to detach because of the sports that they played and what they required their body to do. I had made a comment about, you saw your body like a weapon. And Danielle to your question, or that's why if I had a daughter at 16, and saw her going down that slippery slope, that's probably the word I'd want to use to her, like, you are a badass ice hockey player, your body is a weapon, and, you know, but I'm Avery if you're able to speak like, to that to that point at all, if not no pressure whatsoever.

Avery  52:46  

Yeah, um, what Mandy's referencing just for context for everyone else is, I have a couple friends who are either professional athletes right now in Europe, or one of them is, uh, playing water polo, professionally. And the other is rowing for Oxford. And it was interesting, we had a very interesting conversation with them about how they feel about their bodies, because they had a very different perspective than I did. I've struggled with body image and weight and all of those things. And for them, they're both, you know, 5'9" and above and extremely strong. And, you know, not maybe your typical standard of beauty according to magazines or models or things like that, obviously, beautiful women but athletic. And they were saying that they have never, maybe not have never, but they tend to feel that their body is a tool and that when they're performing really well at their sport, they feel better about their body and when they have larger muscles and you know, bigger size for the rower or broad shoulders that makes them better at their sport. And for them that feels like a very good thing, which I thought was incredibly healthy and speaks a lot to how they were raised. But it was really interesting, because that's not often how I feel.

Mandy DiMarzo  54:08  

1,000% Avery, well done and well said and I also I admired their upbringing and, how they owned that space. And I wanted to really not, I wanted to just put that on a big old stage and a platform and a loudspeaker because that's a beautiful thing: to see all your body can do at such a prime age when it's developing and changing. So that's a continued thing we need to do to one another. Yes, Olivia.

Olivia  54:40  

I think something else because it's that I just want to mention to Danielle about your daughter like I and I know Avery can speak to this because Avery and I went to high school together. But I remember like senior year when it was like spring break and it was prom and it was graduation. And it was all these events that were happening and there was sort of this craze amongst our grade of, you know, I have to look good. I have to go on a diet and exercise all the time. And like, there was just a lot of that idea of these upcoming events and these  fun highlights in your high school life needing to be associated with looking a certain way. That was definitely a reality of what being a young woman was like at the time. And so I think, you know, looking back on it, and maybe this is something that would, I don't know, resonate with your daughter is, you're still like, you want it to be you experiencing those moments. And being in those moments, there's nothing that needs to change about yourself in order to really be present in that moment. And really have fun with your friends. Take the good pictures, have all the experiences, you don't need to change anything to be fully embracing that moment of being young like that. And I wish I realized that more and spent less time, stressing about if I'm going to look skinny in my prom pictures and more about just really being mindful and present in the moment of being with my friends. So I don't know, I think that that's something, sort of reflecting back on it. I just remember it being such a huge thing. And, I don't know, I wish I just was more focused on emotionally eing present in the moment and worrying about what my body looks like.

Danielle  56:31  

Yeah, that's, that actually almost made me cry. That's beautiful.

Mandy DiMarzo  56:34  

Thank you. 

Olivia  56:35  

Yeah, of course. 

Mandy DiMarzo  56:38  

Honestly, Olivia, that's a caption right there. I mean, you got us all a little like, a little teary eyed. But take the picture, take the awesome picture. Like, don't be, you know, don't be critical. Don't overanalyze, take it, capture memories and moments, and don't remove yourself from from all those experiences, because of a number or what it looks like, that's beautiful.

Kate  57:06  

The other thing I'd like to emphasize because Olivia and I went through this together, and especially where we grew up, there was a lot of pressure to look a very specific way. And it's hard to tell someone younger this because you feel like certain things are really important and other people don't understand. But if the people around you make you feel like who you are, and what you look like, isn't good enough, then they're not good enough to be around you. And I think it's really important to teach people how to treat you, and empower young women to feel confident enough to do that, right? If your friends make you feel bad about how you look in your dress, they're not your friends--

Olivia  57:48  

At all. Avery, I'm snapping you, I'm backing you up right now.

Kate  57:53  

But, you know, hindsight is 2020 on that one. And it's easier to look back and say that because, you know, being popular or being included is really important when you're young. And it feels really important. But I feel like if from a young age, you're taught that nobody should ever be able to make you feel that way about yourself. And if they do, that's a problem with them. I feel like that's really important.

Mandy DiMarzo  58:20  

Avery, what are you doing, you're making me cry right now. But I will say this, that I'm going to piggyback off of Brene Brown, which she talked to her daughters. And this is about friendships. And I want to apply this to this piece of body image for us, as women, you know, not as children, but you can impart to your children. And that is about, you have this flame, you are holding this candle and make sure you have the people in your world. And yes, this is totally a BURN analogy. And I'm not doing that on purpose. But make sure you have people in your world that protect that flame and that, you know, there's wind coming, they form a shield. And you are having people in your world that blow out your flame. And if there are people that are making you feel ashamed or crappy or weird about what you're ordering, at a restaurant like as an adult, we get to say you know what, you are not supporting my flame you're not supporting my world. And I need people that stoke my embers and stoke that flame and fan my flames and not blow it out. So, shit, I'm having a call-in moment here, but this is what this is all about. My God!

Mia  59:35  

Yeah, that I feel like this conversation was so powerful. There's so many good nuggets and just stories and wisdom. So I think we should just thank everyone. I wish we could do a little round of applause here. But I think it is time to close out the episode. Again, thank you to everyone for sharing. Next week, Mandy's going to be, you're going to be interviewing softball--Olympic softball player Cat Osterman, which I think will be another powerful, Super interesting episode. So, if anyone wants to tune in and you can ask questions too, if you want to tune in. Definitely do. It will be same time, same place. Yeah, 1:30pm next Thursday, I believe. So, we're super excited. But thank you everyone for sharing.

Mandy DiMarzo  1:00:17  

Thank you everybody for coming in. This was awesome. This is impactful. We're going to continue with the body image, it's going to be part of the locker room narrative. For sure. Cat is a badass Olympic athlete who just retired and she does BURN and she is just, oh my god, a presence and you know, a star. So definitely call in, have questions. And let's continue this conversation. The bravery and courage you guys showed today, I cannot tell you how much I admire you. I respect the hell out of you and I thank you for showing up. This has been an awesome one. Thank you guys so much.


Seeking motivation on your fitness journey?

Subscribe to Fit Notes for weekly emails packed with actionable tips and empowering advice to help you reach your goals!