• Vic’s Log, October 13: Ego or Esteem

    Vic’s Log, October 13: Ego or Esteem

    Why would you care about how you look?

    It’s 3pm and you get ready for your 4th meeting of the day, making sure that your hair looks as good as your smile. Of course since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, your meetings are on Zoom and you stay home all day even when working. You check your background on your camera and tidy up the shirt you’re wearing. You’ve been wearing your pajama pants all day but no one can see it. You feel like a Centaur, half-human, half-horse, except that in your case, it’s more like half-executive half-bum.

    The world is full of contradictions, and people are no different. On one hand, magazines and TV shows abundantly display images of what we should all look like, perfect bodies, perfect hair, fitted clothes and bright smiles. “Fifty is the new forty”. “Slow down the aging process with this pill, this treatment, this revolutionary fitness method that only requires 5 minutes of hard work a week”.

    On the other hand, we get messages everywhere that worrying about your look is vain. “You are perfect as you are”. Don’t fall into the advertising trap or succumb to the fashion tyranny. “No need to be skinny to be an attractive person”. “Are all those muscles just a way to hide that you are insecure?”

    Finding the answer to the old-age question “Should you care about your look?” requires a rephrase of the question into “Why should you care about your look”. As Nietzsche said “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how”. In other words, if you are only preoccupied with how you look because of an external motivation, your drive to improve might not last very long. Your motivation must also be intrinsic.

    What does it mean to pay attention to the way we look? Simply put, it means:

    • Fitness, strength, endurance, mobility
    • Personal hygiene and grooming
    • Diet, sleep and hydration
    • Clothing and style

    All in all nothing groundbreaking, or difficult to do, if we take care of each them on a daily basis.

    Here are 4 bad reasons to care about your look:

    1. Because I can brag about my look on Facebook and Instagram. My life is all about social media and all my virtual friends. Friends that I’ve never met in person, who can see how great I am and how cool my life is, even if it’s not true. But it’s all fair, because those losers are doing the same thing anyway.
    2. Because all my friends look younger than me. I’m pretty sure most of them extensively use Botox, plastic surgery, anabolic steroids and other medications only legal in Russia.
    3. Because my partner/spouse told me I look like an old street dog. I don’t think that’s true but I’ll prove him/her that I can look better, at least for a few weeks. After that, screw it. It’s too much discipline and effort.
    4. Because I want to make everyone jealous at my high school reunion. I used to be the center of the universe in high school, and I still want to feel like that when I’ll see everyone in a few months. I’m pretty sure they all look old and fat. Not me!

    And now, 4 good reasons:

    1. If I’m in shape, my health will improve. Excess weight and lack of exercise have been clearly linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and auto-immune diseases.
    2. If I pay attention to my look, people will treat me differently. Studies have shown that human beings are hardwired to judge a book by its cover. With the same level of qualification, experience and competence, people who pay attention to their physical appearance have more chance to be hired or to be paid more than someone who wears the same Mountain Dew T-shirt for a month.
    3. If I exercise regularly, I will be more able to deal with my daily life and ANY physical activity I want to do. There are so many things we do every day that require a bit of strength and fitness: carrying a bag or a heavy object, climbing stairs when the elevator is out of order, playing with kids or grand-kids, etc. And of course any sport or recreational activity requires more than its fair amount of physical fitness!
    4. If I’m in shape and care about how I look, I will feel and look younger. This is one of the most IMPORTANT reasons because feeling younger, active, and capable are probably the number one predictor of someone’s mood and behavior. Many of us are feeling stressed and depressed by what’s happening in our world, and understanding the impact of physical activity on our mental state and taking action is key to our mental and physical wellness.

    Things to do this week that will make you feel and therefore, look better:

    • Empty your closet and take a close look at all your clothes, shoes and accessories. Try them on if you haven’t used them in a long time and see if they still fit. Give away anything that doesn’t fit, hasn’t been used in years, or makes you look like a Bollywood actor from the 80s (unless that is your look).
    • GO OUT… Go to a restaurant or walk in public places. Go to the hairdresser. Get out of your comfy T-shirt and baggy pajama trousers, and put some nice clothes on. We can practice social distancing while having a social life. Meet some friends in person, or make new friends. Smile, even behind a mask.
    • Come to in-person classes at the studio. We do everything to keep you safe and healthy. There is no substitute to training in a class setting and be motivated, guided and corrected by the instructor. And don’t come wearing an old t-shirt from a charity race from 10 years ago. Get a new one that makes you feel like a million bucks!
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