Dear Cassey: Is it okay if I don’t want to change my body?

Dear Cassey,

This feels like a silly question but I trust you with the answer more than anyone.

Is it okay for me to just work out because I enjoy that type of workout, and because I know that it’s healthy to move my body? Is it okay not to want to change my body or only work out in a certain way that will “work” to reach a purely aesthetic goal?

In the fitness space online all I see are people explaining why everyone’s not seeing results, or what style of training is the only effective method. All I want is to take care of myself, not force myself to look a certain way. But the advice all seems to turn into a how-to guide for how to look as lean and toned as possible.


Life Over Looks

Dear Life Over Looks,

First – This is NOT a silly question.

Second – Not only is it okay for your workout goals to be more about overall health than physical changes, but IT’S AMAZING.

Like you said, it seems like most advice on the internet is geared towards some kind of physical change. Shrinking the waist. Growing the booty. Toning the arms. It’s pretty rare to see something like, “follow this workout plan to manage your stress” or “check out this before and after of my client’s blood pressure!”

To be super honest, it all comes down to what motivates people, right? Especially on social media, a place that is absolutely saturated with advice about dieting and weight loss. Historically, people are just more motivated by dramatic, physical changes. And it makes me cringe to even type this but, insecurity sells. A lot of people take advantage of that.

The fact that you’re feeling like you’re wrong for NOT trying to change your body is proof that this is a serious problem.

BUT. I think that tone is shifting. And I’m here for it. 

People are starting to understand (and go out of their way to learn more) about how each piece of our health intertwines. How our weight, or whether or not we have abs, is NOT really the health indicator we should be focusing on.

We’re finally seeing overall health become the priority.

I’ve been working hard to shift how I talk about exercise and nutrition to fit this narrative too, because I’ve personally experienced how important it is. My 90 Day Journey realllllly opened my eyes. I learned that I had been looking at my workouts all wrong for sooo long! I had been working out to fit my body into some kind of mold the internet told me it needed to fit, and I finally realized how unhealthy that actually was.

Once my “why” became more about my HEALTH – eating foods to fuel my body, moving my body to get strong and improve mobility, and paying attention to stress and sleep – everything changed. And it stuck!

Just to pause for a second – I think it’s totally okay for people to want to lose weight or change their physical appearance as long as they do it in a healthy way. But there really is so much more to exercise. It’s important for literally every part of your body!

So yes. If taking care of yourself is your “why,” OWN IT.

I love that for you!

Everyone’s “why” is different, and that’s what makes it so special. It’s worth digging deep to figure out what YOU really need, not what the internet is telling you to care about.

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, leave your questions below! I may answer it in an upcoming Dear Cassey post!

23 thoughts on “Dear Cassey: Is it okay if I don’t want to change my body?”

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  1. Fiona Janzen says:

    Dear Cassey,
    I love your workouts and I’ve been doing them all the time for a while now! I am a drama student and for our movement class we have been tasked with leading a workout that covers all the movement muscles from the neck down with about one workout per muscle group. I wanted to base this around your exercises as I love how they are suitable for all fitness levels and I also want to challenge the male show offs with the deceptively ‘easy ones! I know ones for all the main groups like the biceps, triceps, glutes and quads but I’m trying to figure out all the rest. I think it would be really cool if you could maybe do something that says what muscles each exercise targets specifically. Also, if you have any advice on leading a workout class that would be amazing!
    Love, Fiona x

  2. Your article is just excellent. I really love your work and thanks for sharing these resources.

  3. This blog is really very good. Motivation and information are related to health and exercise. Thank you for this article.

  4. Confused says:

    Dear Cassey,
    I struggle with body image issues. I have been like this for so many years and I started working out to feel more confident. I have been trying to become more positive and confident and feel good in my own skin but there are people who always tell me how I am not in shape.
    Now I feel bad and I’ve lost my positivity. Are they the wrong ones?

  5. Cristina says:

    Dear Cassey
    I have to say I am soooo glad that I read this post!
    I definitely noticed that shift of mentality in your videos. Now anytime your calendar recommends videos from 3 to 4 years ago (the earlier on, the more noticeable) I sometimes feel a bit uncomfortable, because I can notice that pressure you put on yourself. And I sometimes then feel it on myself, because if a (in my eyes) “instagram fit looking” person thinks she has to “train insane, or remain the same”, then don’t I have to, even more? I know it is a good mentality to have, if you want to get stronger, but to me it always has an icky aftertaste, that I absolutely need to change my looks. I am 104 kg heavy, 173 cm tall, almost 22 year old woman that constantly has to fight the ugly thoughts directed at me and I have to say, the videos now and your posts on instagram have become such a safespace for me. And I am thankful for that. I try to not expose myself to other fitness “influencers”, because I noticed how confident I feel after your videos.
    I am just really proud of you. Also your 90 Day Journey a few years ago? You go girl! That was empowering to watch unfold and I am so sorry you had to experience all ofthe backlash. You are truly an inspiration and such a huuuge help to me. And I am sure many would agree with me.
    Cristina (Crissi1214)

    1. blogilates says:

      Thank you for this – I think the times in the fitness world have changed, too… self-care wasn’t as big back then and I love how we’ve been able to all shift our mindset. But I do remember back then that “train insane or remain the same” really was super motivating! We’re always evolving and I am so happy to hear that where we are now really resonates with you!!! Thank you for sharing this!!! <3

  6. Rachel says:

    Dear Cassey,
    PLEASE could we have an Autumn (fall) workout challenge?
    In the lead up to Summer I was really motivated and did really well working towards my weight loss and fitness goals, but later in the Summer the pandemic restrictions were lifted in the UK which lead to SO MUCH wonderful socialising again. It was amazing to be able to see everyone and have so many belated celebrations and staycations, but of course this leads to lots of unhealthy eating and drinking and less time for working out. Despite all the good times, I feel like a lot of the progress I made has been lost which can feel frustrating.
    Now that Summer is winding down, I’d really love a new challenge (I loved the summer sculpt challenge) to keep the workout spark alive as I really don’t want to give up just because cold, dark Winter is on the horizon!
    Let’s embrace Autumn with a new challenge!

    Lots of love,

    1. blogilates says:

      I love this idea!!! I’ll have to bookmark it for next year 😉 I don’t have anything in the works for Fall but the monthly calendars are also a fun and fresh way to get into the season!!

  7. Michelle says:

    Can we make before and afters of blood pressure a thing? I really love this idea. And while we’re at it, can someone actually make a “follow this work out plan to manage your stress” blog. Because I would follow that in a second!

    1. blogilates says:

      ooooooh that’s a fun idea!!!!

  8. Jade says:

    Dear Cassey,
    How do I sort through fact and fiction in regard to health and nutrition? It’s so hard to tell what’s just clickbait and what is actually going to be an effective workout or helpful nutrition tips. Where do you get yours and what is a reliable source for this sticky subject? I don’t want to get caught listening to scary diet culture fads.
    Curious but cautious

    1. blogilates says:

      this is a great question!! stay tuned for the answer!!

  9. Elly Ashlock says:

    I think the best motivator to have for working out is simply because it makes you feel good. I don’t think it is healthy to feel like you have to workout to reach a certain body changing goal, but rather to workout/ eat healthy because it makes you FEEL good. Whatever motivates you to workout whether it’s low or high intensity is what you should do.

  10. Anne says:

    Hey Cassey!
    I just wanted to ask you a question. I wanted to ask, after taking care of your body, what left is there? I mean of course there are always different kinds of exercises, different foods, different places to see, new people, but what do you do when you get tired of changing up your routine? When you get tired of trying new foods, seeing new places, meeting new people? What do you do when it’s all not really satisfactory as it used to be? Is there something else to turn to, in your opinion?

    ps. I am not having trouble with this stuff now. I just wanted to hear your thoughts on this 🙂

    1. blogilates says:

      I love thisssss! Stay tuned for an answer!!!

  11. Jo says:

    Can I be body positive and still want to lose weight?
    I feel like I’m constantly at war with allowing myself to just live my life and also struggling with self-image issues and wanting to “be smaller’.
    I find body positive women so inspiring and always practice it when speaking to others – but am I a hypocrite for not being positive about my own body?

  12. mnzm says:

    Dear Cassey,
    I’ve been doing your programs ever since the end of May. I started with the hot girl summer sculpt, moved on to completing all of the 7-day challenges, then finished the 21-day tone challenge and continued with the monthly calendar until the end of July, finished the whole August workout calendar, and now I’m still doing the one for September! I’ve also tried really hard to drink a LOT more water and to be cautious about my food choices. Long story short, I’ve noticed significant changes in my body and I’ve started to love working out! When I don’t I feel sluggish and unproductive, which is why I always squezze in a workout no matter how busy I get.
    Still, the area of my body that’s been problematic throughout my life are my outer thighs. I still have saddle bags, and would love it if you would release a challenge that would really target and shred that area. Besides body types that may lead to storing fat in the belly, there are ones who store it in the thighs. I somehow feel as if this needs to be intensified and worked more, and would love it if you would release a hardcore challenge for it!

    Thanks in advance,

  13. . says:

    Dear Cassey,
    When I was younger I had anorexia, which later turned into compulsive overexercising. I developed symptoms reminiscent of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, although I don’t have a diagnosis. At the time I continued to go to gym classes, ballet, and training for a beach lifeguard qualification, but felt so weak I’d cry. I had about a 2 year break from any exercise that raised my heart rate because it felt like a panic attack, and could never workout in a class or with friends because I’d feel so ashamed for stopping. However, I’ve slowly been able to phase exercise back into my life and only one problem remains. I just cannot workout in the morning, and the things I want to do are all in the morning, such as parkrun. (This extends to cycling to uni which may become a problem once teaching is in-person again.) If I didn’t feel so weak, it wouldn’t be a problem, but I suspect I’m causing the physical symptoms with my thoughts. How can I look forward to a morning workout with a friend, the same way I would an evening one? And how can I feel okay about stopping, instead of ashamed? Formerly encouraging phrases like “push through the pain” and “it’s all in your mind” really trigger me now. What can I say to myself instead?

    Thank you!

    Slightly Pathetic

    PS I’ve been a fan for years now and your beginner videos really helped me start moving again:)

  14. Glodie Matuba says:

    Thank you so much for this answer you don’t realize how much it matters for me. I’m on my journey which force me to lose weight due to PTSD. I’m in a kinda situation where I didn’t see the end of it. I know now that when I’ll succeed to get the weight who allows me to deal peacefully w/ PTSD, I’ll continue to work out to improve my health in an other way. Thank you so much.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hello Cassey! Can you please give advice on how to lose weight in a healthy way after eating disorder recovery? I want to start to lose weight again, but do it in a healthy way this time – but I’m really scared of relapsing.

  16. K says:

    Cassey, could you please share some strategies you used to completely get rid of lower belly bloat? I’ve noticed the bloat in your older videos but now it’s completely gone. I have exactly the same type of lower belly bloat you used to have and I’d give anything to figure out how to get rid of that horrific feeling. Thank you so much!

  17. Diana says:

    Finally, someone said it!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I`m so tired of the ” growing your …………………….. muscles ” ( put any muscle group ) idea, that I stopped working out recently. I don`t want anything on me to grow, to shrink, or something. I just want to be toned, healthy, and in a good mood. And thanks again for pointing that it`s a result too. Changing my mindset and my self-acceptance are my biggest wins of all!
    Like Ok, I`ve made good abs, but at the age of 43 and big daughters, I don`t hang around with a naked belly button:):):) Just imagine the face of my teen…

  18. Ana P says:

    I feel the same about nutrition. The content online is either about weight loss or recovering from eating disorders /going all in, almost no one talks about nutrition for people who just want to nourish their bodies. In the end media goes for extremes because that’s what attracts viewers and attention. But most of us should be most of the time in maintenance, not cutting, bulking or healing.