My Body Dysmorphia Ruined Walking for Me, Here’s How I Fixed It.

Emily Steele
4 min readApr 6, 2021

When you’re in the throws of an unhealthy relationship with food, your body & exercise, all movement is just about calorie burn.

And all food is just about calories.

And all bodies are just about size.

Anything that does not (in your mind) directly contribute to your goal of getting smaller, leaner, thinner — is hardly useful.

For years, I missed out on morning walks, evening walks, walks with friends, walks with myself, because I feared they did not burn enough calories to move the needle forward on my mission to become smaller.

(I suppose, if we take the “needle” metaphor literally, what I really wanted was for it to move backward, but, you get my point.)

Instead of allowing myself to take a stroll by the water and call my Dad or take a walking lunch break, I spent morning after morning and lunch break after lunch break forcing myself to run. to sprint. to sweat.

“Go for a walk” was not among the options of things to do to lose weight & get stronger.

Looking back, it feels like such a shame to have reduced something as powerful as walking to nothing more than a means of burning calories. But such is life when you are, as I was, in the throws of orthorexia, body dysmorphia, and a totally skewed perception of food, calories & weight.

Photo by Nigel Cohen on Unsplash

Unfortunately, I’m a believer that these things are never “healed” or “cured,” but rather just “dormant” or very well “managed.” So while I can’t say I’ve “healed” my relationship with my body or “cured” my body dysmorphia, I can say that I’ve developed a much better system of self-monitoring & reacting healthily when I feel old habits and remnants unhealthy thoughts creeping back in.



Emily Steele

lifter of heavy things: thoughts, words, weights, burdensome beliefs