does healthy equal confident?

Posted: October 14, 2010 at 7:00 pm

After this morning’s post where I “exposed” myself, full on with a pregnancy bikini shot, I got to thinking about confidence. The other day, while waiting in line for the restroom at the gym, I overheard a conversation between two women. It appears they were speaking of a friend’s recent weight loss and having a bit of a disagreement. Basically one complained about her friend thinking life was all of a sudden so much better and acting happier just because she lost weight. The other kind of nodded along, but then said something along the lines of “she does look good though, so she should feel good too”.

I couldn’t get that conversation out of my head. Or the fact that after group fitness classes end at our gym the lines to pee are WAY too long, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyways...I feel these women’s viewpoints boiled down into the following:

  • Healthier will NOT suddenly make you happier with less problems.
  • Healthier can make someone more confident and, therefore, happier.


In essence, I agree with both women. Taking better care of our health will not solve everything. Life still abounds with disappointments and struggles. Being happy with your body does not make you immune to them. In some cases, it can even produce more discontentment when someone believes that solving a weight issue or achieving a dream body will make him/her happy…and it doesn’t. But, but…I wear a size 2 now so I should feel fabulous and be so happy with my life! What’s wrong with me???

On the reverse side of that statement, confidence sharpens an individual. It fosters belief in one’s self and that can lead to good things. I do believe that when people care for themselves by feeding their bodies well and finding activities they enjoy, it can help them feel stronger and more capable in general. I think the qualities involved in taking care of one’s health (determined, diligent, mindful, etc) are qualities that can positively influence a life in ways outside of physical health.

For me personally, I know I do feel more confident and overall happier when I put effort into healthy living. I feel strong when I achieve fitness goals. I enjoy putting energy into activities I love. I I have more energy to experience life by eating nutritiously. So, in my mind, more confidence does come with reaching a “fitter” self but only because of what it brings to the person as a whole. It’s not the outward appearance. It’s the love for self and the desire to treat a body well. I think it shows naiveté to believe improved health will make you feel better about everything in life, but I also believe its ignorant to deny that achieving a healthy body can improve life too.


  • What do you think? Do you think improved confidence naturally comes with improved health? Do you think its dangerous to associate being “fitter” with more confidence?
  • Does your healthy lifestyle play a role in your confidence? How?
  • Something to do? Ask me anything by CLICKING HERE. I hope to do a Q&A series in November. I have a few interesting ones already and would love to hear what else you have to ask. 🙂


47 Comments to “does healthy equal confident?”
  1. I agree that I feel great when I take care of myself – eating healthy makes me FEEL good, and working out makes me FABULOUSLY energetic and HAPPY. (endorphins are No Joke, y’all!)

    Confidence comes from somewhere else, and by gosh, I WISH I knew where!! I have always been (overly??) confident, and for the most part, that has helped me get where I want to be.

    Just like money, “being thin” does not bring happiness… you need to create that yourself, regardless of size!

  2. I will definitely agree that when I take better care of myself (get in regular exercise, eat well) I do feel more confident. But I’m also not going to lie and say that it is not related to looking better because of it. It is partially related to looking better, I’m sure, however I know it is definitely not all of it. Just because you look good on the outside, doesn’t mean you are confident. Looking good is most definitely not a requirement of confidence.

    I definitely agree with Kristina above in the fact that nothing material is going to bring you true happiness, whether it be money, how “fit” you are, etc. It comes from yourself, you create your happiness.

    • Tina says:

      I agree that looking better makes a difference too. I won’t deny that. It’s important that its not the focus though and, like you said, comes from who you are. 🙂

  3. Lee says:

    I think that being healthy can make you happier because you actually feel better but just being thinner in itself cannot. I lost like 35 lbs several years ago and I was not any happier when I was at my thinnest. I thought that because I could buy a smaller size, my life would be great, but in reality, my life was the exact same and I just wore a smaller size. (Plus, I stressed out way too much about staying at that smaller size.)

    • Tina says:

      That’s a GREAT point! That’s why I hoped to emphasize healthy instead of skinny. I know after the baby I have a “happy place” I want to get back to. It’s smaller than when I conceived (since I had to gain for that), but about 10 lbs heavier than my skinniest with competition. I would NOT be happy trying to get back in that shape. And it wouldn’t be healthy anyways.

  4. Kim says:

    I remember a few years ago reading an article about how some women who lost weight fell out with some friends because they became more confident and independant and their friends couldn’t deal with it. That was the gist of it anyways.

    I know that for myself, just the act of working out makes me stand a little starighter and I act more confidently. Obviously everything in my life isn’t perfect but that aspect of my life in just hunky dory.

  5. Sarah says:

    I think that becoming healthier can make you more confident because when you become healthier-it’s a mental, spiritual, and physical state. Fitter doesn’t necessarily mean more confidence because it’s just a physical state. Currently, I’m fitter than I’ve ever been before but I’m not more confident because I’m not healthier. I’ve got the physical now I just need the matching healthy attitude which I’m working on one day at a time!

    PS Love your bikini post earlier. I think you look amazing!! You are the poster child of self confidence to pose in a bikini. You’re my hero 🙂

    • Tina says:

      Ooohhh. Love this. How healthy relates to all aspects of our being. I should have thought of that. It is after all what this blog is about. LOL 😉

  6. There are many times I work with clients on this very subject. They are SO unhappy, and think when they reach that “magic number” it will be all better…but the pattern has repeated itself over and over. Losing weight, not being happy, gaining weight, and so on. I feel getting healthier should be a mind and body experience. Losing weight, working out and eating healthier SHOULD make you happier to an extent….unless there are underlying issues. Sometimes people have to work on themselves before they are even ready to undergo a transformation, in order to maintain it once they get there!

    Ummmmm….and your bikini post—you are a HOTT mamma….So beautiful!

  7. Shannon says:

    I kind of wonder if confidence comes before health. I’m a recovering binge eater and I think a part of my recovery is that I know I deserve to treat myself with respect by eating properly and moving more often. And when I have a day where I make the right decisions and resist the urge to binge, I feel more confident. So it’s cyclical, but for me the confidence definitely came first.

    • Tina says:

      Ditto to this. Looking back, the first steps I took to REALLY overcome my binge eating was when I finally believed I deserved to overcome it and that I could find the strength to do so. Thanks for sharing this viewpoint. 🙂

  8. Astrid says:

    Since I started doing yoga more often I have felt healthier and therefore a lot more confident with my body. When my workouts are more rigorously, like running and intense weight circuits, I feel a little worn out and therefore unsure about my body. I love how flexible and strong my body is and that makes me feel good health wise and mentally, too!

  9. Kerry says:

    Very interesting topic… I think when I am taking good care of myself, I feel ‘accomplished’ and this helps to build my confidence. I agree that it’s not about the external appearance; for me, it’s about feeling successful when I eat well and exercise.

  10. NOPE. Healthy does not equal confident.

    It doesn’t mean that it can’t….but it’s a process. Especially for people like me who have spent most of life as an overweight person, it’s hard to all of a sudden “snap out” of that mentality.

    I also have struggled with the attention I get because I am healthier now. But I’ve actually gotten a lot better with that part of it.

    Takes a lot of work though- and 99% of it is NOT in the GYM.

  11. Natalie says:

    I think that “thinner” won’t automatically make someone happier (especially if paired with extreme dieting measures), but I feel like healthier usually does. I just think there are some physiological effects from becoming healthier (i.e. exercise releases endorphins, eating more fruits and vegetables leads to more energy) that causes people to feel happier from the start.

    The picture of you is adorable! Your are such a role model for promoting healthy body image especially for your daughter. Keep it up, it’s awesome 🙂

  12. Abby says:

    Thanks for your note, Tina! I totally agree with you about the stress release. I go nuts if I can’t do something active.

  13. Dawn says:

    In my (albeit short) experience – I’ve noticed that having something more important to focus on in my life now (exercise, healthy living, meal planning, etc) gives me a lot less time and mental energy to spend dwelling on how I look or what I lack. I don’t know if it’s a matter of more confidence, but it’s definitely been a reshuffling of priorities that have sent body image issues back in line and drawn other things forward. The issues are still there, but I care about them a whole lot less.

  14. lindsay says:

    I was so blessed to read your blog. I think it’s fabulous you are talking about fitness and faith..b/cI feel as Christians we don’t put enough emphasis on the mind,soul, and body connection. We are spirits with bodies as Cs lewis said, but I think having a healthy body gives your soul the foundation it needs to flourish. Let’s be honest whenever we eat a pound of chocolate we aren’t feeling too hot…and not feeling so good can get at our thought life!
    Well, I’m officially taking up too much space in this little box with all my crazy thoughts! Anyhow, love the blog!

    • Tina says:

      Not taking up too much space. I love hearing the thoughts of others. Especially when sharing such great reflections. I agree that in order to be everything God hopes for us, we have to care for ourselves in every way – spiritually, emotionally, mentally, AND physically.

  15. Katrina says:

    After I lost 62 lbs, I waited for the “darkness” to disappear and the happy fun times to abound. Little did I know that I was in the early stages of depression, mostly due to unresolved childhood issues that I thought I had conquered long ago. I thought I could (should?) pray my way out of it, but I finally went to counseling and things are much brighter now. I’m also about 27 lbs heavier. I’m trying to get those lbs back off, but this time, I won’t be under the illusion that my life will be perfect. My life is much better now and this time around, I’m looking forward to APPRECIATING better health, especially in relation to my sugar levels. I’m looking forward to wearing those smaller sizes and knowing I did it the right way physically AND mentally. 🙂

  16. I find that I am much more confident when I am eating healthy and working out. I know that I am doing what is best for my body, and it makes me feel good all around.

  17. Such an interesting topic. I think it’s more about the changes you make in your life to become healthy than it is about actually being thinner and more fit. When you believe in yourself and you make positive changes in your lifestyle that improve your health and well being, it would be crazy if that didn’t boost your confidence as well. I don’t think it’s all about the outward physical appearance.

    This is something I contemplate a lot actually because I’ve been trying to lose about 15 excess pounds for a long time now. Part of my motivation, aside from wanting to fit into my jeans, stems from just wanting to show myself that I can do it – that I can take control and make it happen. But I often wonder what I would feel like if I actually did it. Would it make me feel as good as I think it would? Or would I just start focusing on something else?

    Ohhh, I could discuss this topic for hours…

  18. This is a really good topic. I feel like when I started eating healthier my confidence level went through the roof. Of course, part of that is because I lost weight, but I don’t think I can say that’s the reason for my confidence. I mean, I’ve been thinner than I am now, but I was miserable and unhealthy then.

    Yes, I’ve lost weight, and yes, I think I look good, but for me it stems from being proud of myself. I’m proud of what my body can do. I’m proud of my muscles, I’m proud of what I’ve done for myself. For me, that’s what makes me feel good. The weight is just a bonus.

  19. Do you think improved confidence naturally comes with improved health? Do you think its dangerous to associate being “fitter” with more confidence?

    Yes and yes.

    Formspring. Omg’re brave. I get so much hate mail…I dont need a formspring. I could only IMAGINE what I would get told, asked, and ruded out about if ppl felt truly anon. It’s amazing what I get now. Truly it would knock your socks off…daily. You are BRAVE 🙂

  20. For me, I believe my lifestyle gives me more confidence about myself. I am much more content with my strength, abilities, and even the way my body looks (yeah- I’ll admit that’s a very real benefit that I enjoy).

    However, I don’t think being healthy neccessarily means you’ll always be more confident or have higher levels of self esteem. I think it’s possible that it could have the opposite for some people. When your body changes due to working out, etc, I can imagine how it would make you very aware and self conscious about what’s going on…

  21. charlotte says:

    Very interesting post! I think it all comes down to people’s motivations for losing weight. If it is simply to fit into a size 0 (or whatever) then you will probably discover that skinny isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. however, if your goal is better health then you will likely reap all kinds of health and psychological benefits!

  22. I feel like being healthy makes me feel better but does not solve problems. If you think it solves problems than you aren’t doing it for the right reasons! I feel stronger and stand taller, but I don’t know that I have more confidence. I do think it makes me feel more like me though (if that makes sense).

    • Tina says:

      Makes perfect sense. After all, I think that is the biggest thing about pregnancy that affects me. I don’t feel completely ME because I can’t put the same effort into fitness related stuff and don’t have my normal eating preferences. Having a defined sense of self and feeling that certainly impacts strength and confidence.

  23. I thought you looked truly beautiful in those “exposed” photos! And glowing with happiness and contentment.

    Thank you for stopping by my lil ol’ blog yesterday 🙂

  24. runblondie26 says:

    I do believe happiness and confidence come with being healthier. Many people take healthy to mean skinny, which is the problem. They aren’t necessarily synonomous..

  25. Jess says:

    AMEN sista! I agree with everything you said here – yes, taking care of yourself – mind body and spirit – does lead to a happier state of mind but it is NOT the be all end all either. You have to believe in yourself for who you are, no matter what shape or size you take.

  26. I do find it a bit of a two-sided coin. Some of my LEAST happy and confident times were perhaps my most “healthy”. Those were probably more relegated to the compulsive, disordered exercise and eating times, though, as well. However, I can say when I RECENTLY had lost weight, and gotten myself to a healthy place BOTH mentally and physically, that certainly led to greater happiness.

  27. hmm very interesting!! I think for me, when i am healthy I DO feel better, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I am 100% confident. I think that staying healthy and eating well definately makes life easier for me because I get sick less oftena and i am able to workout how I do, This therefore gives me confidence! I DO think its possible for people to be confident and not be the ‘healthiest’ (whatever that means!)

  28. I think when you get healthier, you get more confident and maybe SEEM more happy — I know that is how it was for me.

    When I am healthier/look more fit I feel better and ACT “better” — for me it all feeds into itself.

    It really makes me sad to hear about women talking about another that way — the woman losing weight should be congratulated, not criticized for being happy for losing weight. I only say this because a family member does this to me and it hurts!

    • Tina says:

      I was biting. my. tongue! I couldn’t believe they were talking about that and it made me sad too. What business of it is theirs anyways?

  29. I like this post b/c it’s so true. Just being in shape doesn’t automatically mean you’re some happy go lucky gal. Though, I think it can make you feel better about yourself of course.

  30. Interesting! I think I agree with you – that in essence both women were right. No, being healthy is not a magic pill for happiness. But at the same time, it’s hard to live life to the fullest if you’re treating yourself (body AND spirit) badly.

  31. I love that last quote by Elbert Hubbard!

  32. “It’s not the outward appearance. It’s the love for self and the desire to treat a body well.” You’ve summed it up perfectly, Tina! Society is so caught up in appearance that the actual HEALTH benefits are lost in the desire to be “desirable.” Thanks for bringing this topic up! Have a great Friday 🙂

  33. I think a lot of it has to do with how you define healthy. Being physically fit can be a component of being healthy and thus add to the overall picture, however it’s not the only part of being healthy and that’s why you can be fit and unhappy or unfit and happy. There’s so much mental game to being healthy – how you treat yourself, how you think about yourself, and how you care for yourself (which I consider to be slightly different from how you treat yourself). By exercising you are providing yourself with a nice good base of health – a stronger body, better equipped to deal with emotional challenges AND physical ailments. If that can be combined with a strong mental outset – you’re going to get a happy person. So – the short of it – I agree with a lot of it. If you’re unhappy for a whole myriad of reasons, one fix isn’t going to change everything. However if in general you’re a content person, a level of fitness can add a great deal to your overall level of happiness.
    Good topic 🙂

  34. Dorry says:

    When I’m taking care of my body by eating well and being physically active, I feel healthy and that brings about a confidence for me. As women, I think we fluctuate from day-to-day. I used to get down about water weight or being bloated, etc but I don’t let those days get to me like I used to because I know I’m doing good things everyday to promote personal healthy and wellness.

  35. Sara says:

    OK I love the exposed photo. You look happy and healthy! Plus I think moms-to-be are adorable. They’re very special ladies! (OK but I have never been pregnant so I guess I can’t really talk.)
    I know since I’ve been exercising more regularly than I ever have in my entire life for a few months, I already feel better about myself. The number on the scale isn’t going down very quickly but I feel happier in photos and when I look in the mirror because I know I’m working toward being a healthier, happier me. I’m not so concerned with pants size as I am in feeling better about myself. My thighs are firmer and don’t rub together when I walk, my buttocks isn’t flabby! I was never that big-looking, but I know I felt that I was bloated and I could see it in my face, plus I wasn’t firm. Now I am firming up and happy!

  36. Working out makes me feel good. But honestly, I look in the mirror and see that I’m ten pounds heavier than I should be, and sometimes that bad feeling, being upset, overtakes the good feeling of working out every day.

    It shouldn’t, but I’m working on that.

    Life doesn’t begin 5/10/15 pounds from now. It’s happening now and sometimes we can miss it. I think that working out and losing weight can undoubtedly have positive effects but I think we all know enough beautiful and fit and amazing women who are incredibly displeased with themselves to know that confidence is made up of other things, too.

  37. Samantha says:

    We chose the “he who has health has hope, he who has hope has everything” quote for our Student Dietetic Association shirts!!! Such a great quote!!

  38. Holly says:

    I LOVED this post, Tina. Wow, I think so many of us can relate to it in some way, shape or form. I think all too often we get stuck in the “when I (get a raise, buy a house, lose 5 pounds, get married, have a baby), I’ll be happy.” And I’ve found if you live that way, you just let life pass you by! I also think self-confidence DEFinitely comes from within. It’s easy to think being a certain size will completely make everything a-okay in your life, but I know from experience how false this is. It’s hard to do, but you have to be happy with who you are – and what you have – in this very moment!

  39. […] Posted on October 19, 2010 by thebalancebroad The wonderful Tina had an awesome post last Friday on whether or not healthy = confident.   It really got me to thinking about how, when people lose weight, does that automatically cause […]

  40. Aiane says:

    Thanks Nargess,This is exactly what I was thniking too! I was thniking that would be a great talk line for a Mojri. I was even tempted to talk about Mehrnoosh in my program as an example, but then I thought the programs needs to be independent from each other .

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