Dear Cassey: How do I balance my mental and physical health?

Dear Cassey,
I used to be at my fittest two years ago but I was very depressed (130 lbs 5’2, lots of muscle and abs). I was working out because I was stressed and freaking out about my body and insecurities.
Now I’m at my best emotionally and mentally, but at my highest weight yet (170 lbs). I finally feel okay with my body but I don’t quite feel like myself at this weight. How do I balance this out and keep my mental health and physical health balanced?
Best of Both Worlds

Dear Best of Both Worlds,

First of all, you should feel so proud that you set your body insecurities to the side in order to work on your mental health. That is a HARD thing to do. Now that you’re in a better headspace, it will be so much easier for you to find the balance between fitness and mental health that you’re looking for. I’ve been EXACTLY in your shoes before, so I hope my experience can help.

Okay. So the most important thing I always tell myself and others is that when it comes to health and fitness, it’s all about YOU. Any commitment you make, any goals you have, and changes you go for – they are all for you, and no one else. When we try to change our bodies for someone else’s approval (even if there is no one specific in mind), THAT is what really weighs on our mental health. It sounds like you’re already crushing this, but it’s always good to hear. I remind myself of this every. single. day.

Kinda on the same note, find ways to be active that also bring you joy. Before, it sounds like you were working out a lot, but pushing yourself way too hard because you were trying to fight insecurities about your body and stress. While I’m sure those workouts brought some temporary relief and some confidence, I have a feeling it was very short-lived. Fitness seems important to you, and it is always going to help your mental health. But I want you to think about what kind of activity truly makes you happy. What do you look forward to? Dancing? Going on walks? Pilates? A mix of everything? Whatever it is, DO IT! Treat your workouts like an activity, rather than a chore. You’ll find more balance when you’re not forcing it.

Same thing for food. Eat what makes your body feel THE BEST. Yeah, that usually means plenty of fruits, veggies, etc. But that also means you are happy to indulge every now and then without guilt.

Finally, don’t lose sight of the fact that even though your body was “healthiest” according to the numbers at a much lower weight, that doesn’t mean that you were really healthier. Mental health is JUST as important as physical health. It sounds like you’re really in tune with your body, so allow yourself to focus less on what the scale says and more on how you feel.  That way you can still make some changes to feel even better, without the risk of spiraling back into an unhealthy mindset.

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

23 thoughts on “Dear Cassey: How do I balance my mental and physical health?”

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  1. Lynn says:

    I always reply with “why should i? Will i die? Nope” and they usually shut up after 🙂

  2. Kiesha says:

    How do I stop myself from over indulging and then feeling extremely awful about it.

  3. lily says:

    hi,i work out a lot my im not very flexibal,im 13 and im 9 stone is that a healthy weight for a early teen?
    im not fat but I have abit of fat on my belly and I feel like I cant get rid of it,i want a toned sucked in belly but nothing seems to change and ive being doing it for a while?any advice?thanks

  4. Sky Lee says:

    I have a friend with anxiety and I admit I haven’t fully understood or respected how it affects him. I learned that staying calm is staying strong.

  5. Hey cassey,
    I have never worked out a single day in my life and I frankly don’t know where to start. I don’t know if I should start your beginner’s calendar or start with your June calendar.
    I would really appreciate if you can guide me and send some of your motivation my way.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi Cassey and reader!
    I know no one is going to read this but I’ll try anyway.
    Three months ago I decided I wanted to lose weight. My body fat percentage was 33 and I am now at 29% and I lost 4kg (8 pounds). I’m so proud of myself but I feel so devastated and want to give up because I tried on some trousers today (not just one pair, but three) and all of them are a lot tighter than they were when I last put them on 3 months ago, especially on my thighs. What is going on?? I’ve been following your month’s calendar and am thinking about stopping because my clothes don’t fit anymore. I’m so scared please help

    1. Colubrina says:

      You don’t have to worry, you’ve probably put on muscle and this makes your clothes go tight. I weighed 60 k and I didn’t get into clothes, now I weigh 58 k and I go into it, but I had no fat, I had liquids that drained. Now, however, the long-sleeved shirts do not come in because I have done the arm muscles. But it doesn’t matter, I’m stronger and that’s the important thing! (I cut the sleeves on the shirts!)

  7. Kat says:

    Hi! My body never feels good after having milk, yogurt, and sometimes ice cream. I’ve been craving ice cream a lot lately but I know I won’t feel good after eating it. I’m also trying to eat healthier so my ice cream craving doesn’t help, and yogurt is supposed to be pretty good for breakfast. Please help!

  8. Alyssa Shoemaker says:

    Dear Cassey,

    I started doing PIIT28 back in January and I was fairly inconsistent, but I always gave my 100% for every workout. I began doing it more and more consistently to the point I was barely missing any days outside of my blessed rest days, and then as I was finally getting used to working out every day and looked foreward to them with a positive mindset, I realised that I hadn’t had my period since I had started PIIT28. I felt sad that I had to stop, but after stopping the consistency and completely stopping all workouts for a week I was able to get it back. I’m skinny, but I’m not unhealthily skinny, so I was wondering if you had any input on how to know how to balance intensity and length. Should I keep going hard and shorten the time or lower the intensity and keep the same amount of time? I had no idea I was pushing too hard, so it surprised me, honestly. Anyway, happy quarantine!

  9. daVinci says:

    Dear Cassey,
    It takes a really long time for me to lose fat, especially in my stomach area. When I finally lose that fat, even just taking a single cheat day causes me to gain it all back. Is that normal? I just feel at a loss. I want to take a rest day every now and then, but I feel like I can’t because I know that if I do, I’ll wake up the next day and see that fat in the mirror.

  10. Lisa Violet says:

    Dear Cassey,

    I’m following your workout calendar. About 1-2 videos in, my body is really shakey and worn out. Should I continue and finish the videos anyway? At the moment I’m just doing what I can but not sure if I should just work through it.

  11. Victória Heloíza Wenzel da Silva says:

    Hi! I started doing pilates because of my posture. My back would hurt if only I was normally at my feet. Right now I’m better, but I’m still inflexible haha. I’m trying my best to cope with your workouts. I find them the best, because you are always chatting lively and peacefully with me. I live in Europe, but through YouTube I can attend your classes.
    I am also afraid of not being able to do the exercises correctly because I’m inflexible and lose my time or doing the exercises wrong and hurting myself. Do you have some tips to share with me?

  12. Trying my best says:

    Dear Cassey,
    First of all, I love you and your video’s. You really inspire me to eat healthy and exercise. I only have one problem… 2 years ago I was counting calories because I was mentally not in a very good place and really wanted to lose weight. I got really nervous once the number started to go over 1500 kcals. Now that I am happy with my body I still want to know what I eat in a day, because I really want to know wether I am actually eating healthy or not. However I still get nervous once the number on my app starts going over 1000 kcals. How can I still keep track of what I’m eating, but not get obsessed over how many calories I’m eating?

    Thank you!
    Trying my best

  13. Czech says:

    Dear Cassey, I don’t know if it’s really connected with what you do but I need to ask you: how do you fight with cellulite? Do you struggle with it? I’m 15, not fat, exercising daily, eating healthy (I have to because of my gluten intolerance). But I still have this problem. Love my body anyway, but is there anything that helps?
    Thank you and love you!
    Czech girl

  14. Curious says:

    Dear Cassey,
    first of all thank you for all the workouts and positivity!! I hope you can answer a burning question of mine that I’ve had for a while. I’ve noticed that often times in your videos with guests, some guests (normally men) who have a very muscular build actually have a really hard time with the moves! I just really want to know why that is because it seems to me that they definitely have a lot of muscle mass so why are the pilates moves so challenging for them? I don’t think it’s a flexibility issue because I’ve noticed this in moves that don’t need flexibility to perform.
    Thank you in advance and stay safe and healthy!!


    1. PopStar123 says:

      Hi, I am actually a guy that used to do regular pop pilates calandar and now I do bodybuilding and come back for the occasional ab video. There are two types of muscles which are fast twitch and slow twitch muscles. If you think about it in terms of track and field, some are sprinters and some are distance runners. Also muscles are dense and they weigh more than fat so doing the bodyweight exercises for a prolonged period can be difficult with dense muscles that are used to short more explosive movements. Additionally there are a couple components to fitness. Strength, cardio and flexibility. According to the FITT principle (Frequency Intensity Time Type) you do each one for different periods in your schedule. If you follow Casey Ho’s workout calendar then you don’t have to worry! She already has everything built into her calendar.

  15. Nitika says:

    Hi Casey 💜 I’m your new follower and I’ve been doing your weekly challenges too question is I’m skinny fat 😔I have face and belly fat please suggest me a solution for this cause my goal is to lose fat and gain muscles…also what kind of diet should I do…. please suggest me something..I would really appreciate if you will reply♥️

  16. Miglena says:

    Dear Cassey, I actually want to say….thank you. I’m on a journey to a better me thanks to you.
    Stay safe and well!

  17. Eve ! says:

    hey Cassey! can u plz discuss how to start losing a lot of weight (4 a wedding:)) safely? I find it so hard to startttttt. any ideas?!

    1. Brayleigh says:

      Hi! I’m not Cassey, but I thought I would reply anyway. Cassey has a “Bridal Bootcamp” that she did awhile ago, and I believe she did it leading up to her own wedding. If you go on her website and go to calendars, there should be a Bridal Bootcamp Calendar. I hope helped a little. 🙂

  18. Charlotte says:

    Hi, I’m only 18 and whilst we are in lockdown I’ve been pouring myself into working out. I am not very happy with how my body looks and think I am pretty insecure. Do you have any advice on how I could work on my body but also my mind during these times. I struggle with having a belly and having large thighs

  19. Happy holistically is the best look on everyone! 🙂 inside, and out!

    1. E says:

      I went through something very similar 5 years. Then many things happened at once. I started to put on fat again. Things got more stressful and I continued to get fatter to obesity.
      Then I had a breakdown.
      It’s been 3 years since the breakdown. Though I’ve received some mental health help, I’m not 100% plus also being 5’2 and usually being 125lbs. I’m sitting between 206 to 210.
      It turns out for me my health isn’t so great and I’m weak and in pain all the time.
      I’d definitely like to get the unneeded fat off and keep it off.
      I just wish I could exercise regularly without my body quitting on me.
      Good luck!