In this episode of This Day Girl Life podcast, I am joined by my husband, John Plezia, and he discusses his own issues with body image. Going through the process of creating this podcast, I have learned that body image issues and the sort are not singular to women…men deal with them as well.

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Transcript

Hi my name is Kimberlee and I am the host of this fat girl life. We had some technical difficulties there, I’m so sorry about that. So, tonight we are going to be discussing body image and men struggling with that. Because it’s not an issue that only women have issues, you know, have problems with. This is something that transcends male female that everybody struggles with body image. So tonight, my guest is somebody very near and dear to me, my husband John.

Hi

Thank you so much for being on here with me and being willing to open up about this. Before we get started why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself.

Well as she said my name is John, I work at a local country club, part time dishwasher, part time pantry cook, and let’s see, Kim is actually my second wife, I do have one child from my first marriage, daughter, she is what 20 years old almost 21.

Yeah

And um kind of drawing a blank here, but I am here to you know obviously support my wife in what she’s doing and to hopefully help some other people with these ongoing concerns and issues that everybody deals with in one form or another.

Sorry I forgot to turn off my ring tone, I’m just I’m struggling all over the place tonight.

Guess I should turn mine down too

So, body image is not something that is very easy to discuss or even openly discussed that much. I mean even in our marriage it’s not something that we openly discuss a whole lot. I think the first time really that it even became something that we discussed as far as you having issues. We were actually on a trip out to the Eastern plains of Colorado and the hotel we were staying at had a hot tub and

Hot tub and swimming pool

Yeah, hot tub and swimming pool, but it I’ve always been the person. I mean especially probably the past eight years I would buy a swimsuit but I wouldn’t actually wear it. And so, I decided I really wanted to be in that hot tub so I bought a swimsuit and put it on and jumped in. John however, put on swim trunks and got in with a t-shirt.

No, I took it off before we got in but I almost got in there with the t-shirt on. I’ve always, it’s been an ongoing issue of um being self-conscious of how I look without a t-shirt on. It’s always been there. I don’t even know where it kind of started I mean when I was little, we actually, my family, actually my dad was in the air force and we were stationed down in Florida Keys I mean come on paradise right there. And going down to the beach was nothing for us but somewhere from that point to where I’m at now, it developed, I don’t know why. Where it came from, but I mean, when I was running around you know, 5,6,7, years old on the beach it was swim trunks and that was it you know, you’d go and jump in the water and have a good time, get sunburnt if you know, there was multiple times that that happened. But you know, like I said, I don’t know technically where that actually started to develop, I mean its sometime after we moved here to Colorado.

So, I know this is asking you to think back but what was the defining moment that you know at that time um at that hot tub that made you decide to go ahead and just you know take off the t-shirt and jump in?

Probably the other dad that was actually in there that was well he was taller than I am but he was also bigger but he had tattoos and I’ve kind of saw the tattoos and I’m like I’ve got tattoos let show them off and then I took my shirt off and not a single person even took a second glance at me except probably the look of my back piece but you know that’s. It’s a pretty sizable piece but it just but there was still a bit of uneasiness and I guess you could kind of say hiding in the water, was kind of the second part of that. It’s so yeah, I mean it’s you know I’m not uh I guess you could say I’m the one that has the dad bod. You know um but yeah like I said you know the other guy that was there you know he was having a grand old time with his kids throwing them in the water playing ball with him in the pool and he just had his swim trunks on and like I said he had the tattoos and it was just kind of like oh okay and off came the shirt.

Okay so, I know you kind of said you know as a small child that you just you know ran around in the swim trunks you know whatever on the beach and then somewhere later on, do you think there was a defining moment that started triggering those issues because I know you played sports in high school

Yeah

I’ve seen pictures of you in high school, um you know, and to look at you I wouldn’t see that there were any body images that you had in high school but is it something that you think was going on in high school even?

I would say probably and this is an ad because I was pretty heavy into reading comic books younger on um or graphic novels as a lot of people call them now a days but one of the ads that they had in there, and this ad has been around since probably I’m almost guessing since about the 50’s, and it’s one of those where you know you had the skinny runt looking guy you know he’s trying to hit on the good looking gal and then the big muscular guy comes over and you know he’s kicking sand in his face and you know telling him that you know he’s a wimp doesn’t have the body that you know basically emphasizing the whole basis of the commercial is to improve how you look in order to get the girl.

Okay

And even that as you know when I was a kid obviously there’s no social media but you do have the commercials you have the movies you know, with the good-looking guy, the hero of the movie, that gets the guy you know gets the girl, gets the guy that’s nowadays not back then. Anyway, um you know gets the girl, has the hot you know the bad nice cars, you know that kind of stuff. And those images you know they kind of just come and go and they kind of you know, they pop in and you start kind of considering you know I um as far as my social life back then it was not very um active I guess is a good word for it and so you know it kind of that also kind of sets in of you know you’ve tried to ask a couple of girls out and it doesn’t happen uh you don’t have a car um and there was no really direct uh comments of you know you don’t look the part so to speak but again like I said that ad you see that ad and you kind of so that hence the reason one of the reasons why I joined football to you know look a little better but it just never really I guess again like I said I don’t know 100 % where it started coming from but it was there. Um and it just started to develop over time and became a concern of you know how I look um do I look good enough or you know that kind of thing

So, do you think it’s something that as you’ve grown into you know and adult you know a husband a grandfather all that do you think it’s something that’s progressively gotten worse over time or is it something that got worse and then got better? How do you feel it’s progressed?

I don’t really feel it’s gotten worse but it never really went away um I have after, especially after meeting you, you know I have kind of worked on feeling better about myself as far as how I look presenting myself I mean I there was a time when  if I was off work because I mean the work place that I was in for 15 plus years you had to have a certain look had to have a uniform you had to you know present yourself in a presentable manner but outside of work forget it I was you know grunge city you know I didn’t care how I looked how I went to the store it was and my late ex really kind of didn’t help with that either you know she never when we’d go out it was like hens teeth in order to get her to dress up and actually be presentable and not necessarily and I’m not trying to say that in a way of being presentable of how everybody else thinks she should look but I wanted her to you know look good I guess to make myself look good as well you know. For us to look like a really good-looking couple

Look good feel good

Right look good feel good. And that got down to the point where I mean she was really dressing worse than I was um you know I and I’ve had a couple girlfriends over the years that have cheated on me with no real explanation as to why with the exception of one of them I know she you know it was a point where we were apart and she said she felt lonely and you know but that was really and that kind of that also gets you kind of wondering of you know what did I do wrong or am I don’t I do I not look good enough do I not um and I saw a couple of the guys that these girls cheated on me with you know one guys was kind of the bad guy looking guy with the you know the leather jacket the tattoos and then the other guy that I saw was kind of the blonde waving hair blue eyed looking guy that you know prince charming I have an image in my head from Shrek the movie Shrek but um. You know those things do have a big influence on how you present yourself how you feel about yourself especially when you can’t get an answer from somebody as to why they did what they did they just did it and they didn’t care is and that’s how you kind of but you know so it’s you know after a certain point in time of those you know not being able to talk to somebody about that you just kind of basically bundle it all inside and

Come up with answers yourself

Come up with your own answers and most of the time they’re the negative answers and you know it does it has a long-term effect on you.

Okay we are going to take a really quick 30 second break. Top off your water join us back here and we are going to kind of go into more of a social media aspect with body image, we’ll be right back.

Okay guys I’m back told you it was a super-fast break. Um so we are discussing men and body image issues. We have my husband John here with us who is really kind of opening up in a pretty impressive way about some issues that he struggled with body image and now we’re kind of going to go to a more of a social media aspect um with body image and what it presents both in a positive you know a positive way and in a negative way. So that being said. I know you because we’re married, I know things I know you’re on Facebook I know you’re on Instagram I know you’re on tiktok you know few things like that. Do you see a lot of on your social media feeds that affect you one way or another, as far as body image?

Oh, that’s a tough one um sorry I went I wasn’t trying to go blank there but I guess I kind of go with things that I like to follow um I know one of your biggest uh dislikes are my naked cat’s um but

Creeps me out. Creeps me out

But a lot of those are more on my Instagram feed but I do have some other stuff but I in a way I guess there are I mean I still have images that come across um you know of the uh that’s a good word, you know, I guess appearances of way certain people should look but I know I mean nowadays a lot of time, I guess. Kind of where I go is there are a lot of people that tend to want to look how they feel they should look not how everybody else feels they should look. So, I tend to go in that direction I mean I still have kind of an image of how I try to present myself out in public but again it’s not what everybody else thinks I should look like. It’s how I feel I should look like um. I’m not sure I’m fully.

So, would that be more you think of a self-acceptance stream?

Yeah, I mean i guess the way I direct my social media is I direct it more towards I guess more positive um stuff things that I have an interest, model trains, fast cars, like Lamborghini’s, Ferrari’s things like that. Things that are really nice to look at and you know wish you could kind of own but it’s you know I tend to steer my social media away from what everybody else thinks you are watching uh

Okay

So, I direct it to um more positive stuff like Steve Harvey, I follow him and a lot of videos that he posts are very positive of how you should feel about yourself or how you should get to a place that makes you feel better. Um it’s kind of like being a life coach. You know, you try to encourage somebody to have you know more positive outlook on different things. I try to stay away from you know social media of you know that’s demeaning towards anybody um it’s you don’t you know the more negativity you have in your life the more negative you’re going to be. So having more positive um images and or things that you follow you’re going to have that better positivity I mean one of the things I follow is the diy page and they have a lot of stuff on there of you know things that you can build on your own and then there are some things because of lack of tools obviously you can’t build but it’s still fun to watch, I get into that kind of stuff anyway so um. Like I guess long story short, I tend to direct my feeds to stuff that interest me in a more positive way than you know being more negative and or you know pointing a finger at you saying you need to look at like this you have to wear this watch or you have to wear this suit which I mean when tv first came out that was basically how the advertising was.

Yeah

You know so its I try to keep mine more positive.

Okay so I have another question, and maybe this should’ve been asked earlier but I just thought of it. Um not really, it’s pretty easy actually, okay sorry marriage joke. Um if you could talk to your younger earlier self, in the place where you’re at now, how would, what advice would you give them, or give your younger self as far as body image? See I’m putting you on the spot.

Well yeah, but I think honestly the best piece of advice on that is to you know, don’t worry about what other people think it’s not it’s how you feel about yourself. Don’t you know don’t worry about having the know the dad bod it’s you know I mean everybody’s built differently everybody had a physique that is different and I’ll be honest with you trying to maintain a muscular physique it’s not really something I want to do. Um going to the gym and working out you know 5-6 hours a day or two three four hours a day, however every day, that’s a lot of work and you know, like I said, it is to actually tell my younger self basically just don’t worry about it and there’s not that many people really that you’re around that are really going to care about it and if they do then you don’t need to be around them. Because they’re looking at you doesn’t mean they’re looking at you know.

Scrutinizing.

Scrutinizing you or uh so yeah, I think honestly you know if you feel the need to um make yourself look better whether it’s your how your body is looks I mean there are ways to do it without a lot of surgery or um overly exercising you know there’s a lot of people especially celebrities nowadays that have been in that heavy set position that are finding ways to be less heavy set but without having to do a lot of heavy workouts and some of them there are you know, some of them do get motivated that way that’s their thing I’m sorry I don’t get motivated that way but it is you know watching what you eat I mean what you know, cutting down from say two to three sodas a day to one soda a day or you know that kind of stuff so. Yeah, I guess basically long and long story short to you know um just say don’t worry about what everybody else thinks or just be who you are you know. Let it hang out so to speak.

So final question for you and I ask this of every guest.

Yes, you do

What is one thing you love about yourself?

Um, one thing that I, excuse me. One thing that I love about myself is that I have kind of taught myself not to uh be close minded to others out there. Don’t set yourself into because I was one of those that kind of had a specific person that I wanted to be with or you know, kind of a specific way that they looked and over the years I’ve taught myself based off of advice from other and whether they knew they were giving me advice or not I’ve taught myself to be appreciative of all people instead of saying ewe that persons weird so don’t hang around with them or that person, you know, that person is this way so you know you don’t want to be around that it’s not you know be I guess the best way to describe it is that I’ve just I’ve opened myself up to a lot broader aspect of um being appreciative of everybody because everybody has something to give. I don’t care who you are I mean there are some very negative people out there but you learn who those people are and a lot of times very quickly and how to you know I mean there are some people you do have to avoid but there are some people out there I mean Kim and I have some really great friends on Facebook um that we’ve had a pleasure of actually personally meeting which and there are some people out there that would not give them a second glance just because of the way they look and that’s that you’re missing out on some really fantastic people by doing that.

Very true

So

Well, thank you so much for coming on my show tonight

You’re very welcome

I hope that you know this definitely speaks to people, next week we are going to have Dr. Leanne my personal chiropractor joining us. We’re going to be discussing weight on you know the plus size of it, even on the more standard or normalized size of it and the importance of you know taking care of yourself whether it be through chiropractic or whatever, and I’m going to be discussing fat shaming uh which is something I personally have experienced with uh some doctors and that’s part of why Dr. Leanne ‘s coming on because it’s something that I’ve never experienced with her and that part of why I love her, so join me next week with Dr. Leanne DeLand I can’t wait to talk to you guys! Bye guys!

Bye!

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