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Dear Cassey,
I’m a junior at university and my major is physical therapy. I am not in the most perfect fitness shape. However, I am very passionate about physical therapy.
Currently, I’m 5’4 and a size 18. I’m worried that because of my size I should change my major or profession goal. I know my body doesn’t reflect the poster image of people in this field, or the average body of the women in this field.
My question is, should I consider changing or altering this education goal since my body isn’t currently the best example for future potential patients?
Sincerely,
Confused About My Future
writing studying with coffee in white mug

Dear Confused About My Future,

No. Nope. Uh-uh. No way.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT let that thought get into your head.

If physical therapy is your passion, then you should absolutely, 100%, HANDS DOWN stick with it! How you look doesn’t define your success in your future career. Your skill and your passion do.

Read that again. Annnnd again.

Your patients won’t judge you based on the way you look. They’ll notice your big smile when you greet them because you genuinely love your job. They’ll trust you when you take the time to listen and care about their needs. They’ll respect you when you find ways to fix whatever issues they’re dealing with. You’re gonna radiate confidence because you will be an AMAZING physical therapist!

And here’s something else to think about – what about the patients out there who struggle with their weight or body image? You’re gonna set the most amazing example for how success is NOT determined by the way you look. And you’ll show them that shape and size don’t necessarily define health.

We’re not all meant to look the same, no matter what type of work we do. I hate that you feel like you don’t fit the mold to be a physical therapist because of how you look. None of that matters!

Remember, the skills and knowledge you’ll gain from becoming a physical therapist will be invaluable. Do not deprive yourself of an education that you want all because of this thought. You are worth it!

Remember, the POPsters and I are here to support you along the way.

Keep going. I promise you won’t regret it!

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.

The Conversation (17)

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  • Mag says:

    I know a bariatric surgeon. He is rather overweight. And his patients LOVE him. I never understood this at first – how can he be a bariatric surgeon if he can’t set a good example for his patients? But then I realised that his patients are able to open up to him because they don’t feel judged by him. And when he does his work well and they see the results, they don’t care how he looks. I hope this gives the poster some encouragement to continue on with her journey as a PT!

  • Tessa says:

    Dear Confused About My Future,

    I am an OT and I know a lot of PTs of all ages and sizes. And you will have patients of all sizes that rely on you to help them rehabilitate back to walking and pain free ROM. You can help them do that no matter what your size is! It’s not a factor at all :)

  • Catcat says:

    I can relate to this question so much.
    I recently achieved my goal of becoming an aesthetician! <3 BUT when I first told my friend that I wanted to become one she said "oh you can become one with your face?". I've had acne since I was 11 years old, and it has never bothered me in particular, but the fact that OTHER people constantly brings it up is really hurtful and rude. I'm not one who's easily offended but I still remember this comment because of how absurd it was. What has my skin condition got to do with my skills? And perhaps I know MORE about skin precisely because of my skin condition? because of all the research I've had to do!
    My friend has never had any bigger problems with her skin, so she has never known what it's like to have acne, how it acts/reacts etc. Usually these kinda hurtful comments come from ignorant people and that's another reason why I think these kinda comments shouldn't be taken seriously; because they have no idea what they're talking about and they should be lucky they haven't had to deal with these kinda issues.

    My no.1 tip is to do what you love and nothing can nor will stop you!

    "Success is NOT determined by the way you look". Hear hear!

  • Madison says:

    I completely understand how you feel. As a dancer I have been told by directors to my face that I “would’ve gotten the job if I wasn’t so fat” and oh man that hurt. I have lost my way a little after being told that so many times but I am working on it and getting stronger for myself and not those people.

  • DeborahK says:

    I sooooo agree with Cassey. As a PT myself, I can tell you, patients are not concerned about looks, they need a competent and compassionate physical therapist. You give them respect you will get respect. Keep your chin up and a smile on your face and you will be a-ok!!!!

  • Feeling Disappointed says:

    Dear Cassey,
    I want to tell you this because I think no one can understand this better than you….I just finished the 7 day ab challenge and it felt really good! But the problem here is that I cannot see any results..
    I can feel them a little but I don’t think that made any difference in appearance…I really wanted it to work it somehow didn’t…I feel really disappointed and I don’t know what I should do to make myself feel better…I hope you can help me:)
    THANKS FOR DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING!
    Love,
    Feeling Disappointed

  • Laura says:

    Personally, physical therapists helped my grandfather out of failing health and would be helping my Dad navigate his health and fitness with a recent autoimmune disease. I don’t give a crap what those therapists weighed or looked like, they’re heroes to my family.

  • Harsha. R says:

    Hai Cassey,
    I m from India. I am 19 years old. I m 5’4″ and weighs 67 kg. I am struggling to lose weight. I am diagonsed with PCOS. I keep on gaining weight. I tried to do many HIIT and other workouts but I end up being exhausted to point that I can’t even walk and feel difficulty in breathing. I wanted to lose weight so badly.
    I love dancing but I am not able to bring out my best because I can feel my bodyweight and I don’t have the strength to handle my own bodyweight. I even can’t walk normally because of my large thighs.
    I have no confidence now and easily gets depressed. I try to keep my confidence up and do things but I easily gets demotivated and quits . Now I feel like a failure . I try to avoid meeting my friends and families.
    I tried doing many workouts but it’s so hard for me. I feel dizzy and have difficulty in breathing. But when I tried doing one of your videos, I didn’t feel that much exhaustion. So I decided to do your exercises .But I don’t know where to start from. Can you help me ? I don’t know this is the correct way to ask. I have never approached anyone like this before.
    Anyway , I love your videos. I love the way you speak and keep the viewers motivated. I am big fan of yours . Because of you , I believe I can lose weight and be more confident. Thank you.

  • Follow the career of your dreams. Because happy is a look that suits everyone :-)

  • lily says:

    hiii Cassey can you please do a video on how to keep motivated.

  • Chinmayi Nagaraj says:

    Hey Cassey, I want you to do a video on the right approach to weight loss , diet, exercise and self love and mindset… Please….

  • Keziah says:

    Dear Cassey,
    Hey, I’m a school going teen, and I weigh almost 85-90kgs😖 it’s really hard for me. Even though I try excercising, I lose hope, I mean like I can never lose weight! Its really devastating 😑 and like sometime I get teased too.
    .
    .
    Do you mind helping me?

    • Kristen M says:

      I hate that you’re getting teased. <3 Instead of focusing on the weight (cause that is literally going to drive you insane) focus on your overall health. How do you FEEL. Are you stronger than the day before? Can you do one more rep of a really hard move? (For me it's those hip dips! They're killer!) Are you more energetic than yesterday? Are you pushing through those hard days anyway and still kicking butt and sweating it out? Those are all of the things that help me keep my mind off the scale because I know I'm getting stronger and helping my body be the best me I can that day.
      Other things that have helped me are doing my best to eat clean but I also FORGIVE myself if I have a cheat meal once in a while or even a bit of chocolate when I'm feeling a little blegh. Sometimes you need it, you know? So be flexible with yourself and most of all, be kind to yourself and take your mind off the scale and put it towards your overall well being. That's what matter most. <3 hope this helped and I hope you keep going!

  • Lexi says:

    Wow the universe so so strange sometimes. I was struggling today to take a job in physical therapy, which I’ve worked in for years, or another field I was offered a job into. I think the universe is telling me stick with it. Thank you Cassey

  • Muskaan says:

    Hey Cassey I feel like a suffer from the same kind of problem….I’m also in my final year of physiotherapy and I often think about how terrible of a PT I’m going to be.
    I often think that I will definitely fail in life.
    This is because I don’t have a lot of physical strength and flexibility which is a very big need for a PT.
    I sometimes even regret my decision.

    But when I’m with the patients it really makes me happy! And I love talking about ex and fitness

    As soon as it’s me and my thoughts I often degrade myself.its come to a point that it’s sickening and frustrating.
    I can’t get rid of these toxic thoughts at all.
    Would love if you help me out❤️🌸

  • Is worrying so much about my height and body weight and shape ..you know kinda normal for a 15 year old …..I never liked stressing for such things but the environment around can’t let me be free of these thougts.

    • Apolline says:

      Hi :)
      Yes, it is normal. We all go through such a time, especially when you’ve not finished your puberty and your body has changed so much over the last few years !
      Teenage years are an awkward phase, in more ways than one, and absolutely everyone, including the people you might think feel confident are or will be lost at one point.
      Realising that helps deal with it !
      It takes time to adjust to a new body, and since it coincides with the moment a lot of people start being interested in other people (not an obligation though), we become self-conscious and we stress a lot.
      You’re not alone in this, I promise. And it will be okay.
      It’s the same thing with teen angst and the mood swings that come with it. They’re a pain in the ass, but you will get through it. Take it from a 21 years old who’s still very much lost in life but at least has progressed on all that :)

      Also, we live in a day where it’s easier than ever to compare ourselves, with social media and the internet in general. If you’re on Instagram, I suggest sometimes going once on igfamousbodies. It reassures on your own body.
      I know it’s easy to say, but try not to stress too much about it. Nobody’s perfect, and a lot of the time, the things you like the least about yourself are the things other people will love.
      Eat clean and workout because it gives you a burst of energy, not because you stress about what other people think of you. Out of self love, not self preservation. You say your environment stress you out and that’s the worst thing, but you CAN get through this.
      Loving yourself isn’t loving a perfect version of yourself. Loving yourself isn’t loving yourself only when you’re successful. It’s loving yourself like you love others : unconditionally. Through the ups and the downs. And ignoring the negativity around you.
      And if you’re ever lost, reach out to this community, you will always find support.

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