Changing Appearances

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Illustration of a young woman standing and looking at her reflection in a mirror

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We’ve all heard the saying: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” The problem is that’s not how the world works. Just about everything, from the way people treat us, to the opportunities we have in life, is affected in some way by our appearance. That’s especially true when it comes to how we feel about ourselves. When we look good, we feel good. When we don’t — all bets are off.

Appearance can be an anchor for our sense of self, or a catalyst for transformation. It can make us love ourselves, hate ourselves, find ourselves, and lose ourselves. On today’s episode, we explore changing appearances, and the many ways they affect people’s lives. We hear stories about the psychological effects of losing weight, gaining muscle mass, dealing with alopecia, and how age affects women’s feelings about their bodies.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • When Marta Rusek shed 80 pounds, it felt like a huge victory — but Shai Ben Yaacov reports she didn’t anticipate how it would affect the way people treated her.
  • We chat with Shane Duquette about his transformation from beanpole to beefcake. Shane’s website, which is aimed at helping skinny guys gain muscle mass, is called Bony to Beastly.
  • Psychotherapist Edie Weinstein explains how she helps women reframe the way they feel about aging and how they view their bodies.
  • We spend so much time, energy, effort and sometimes money on our appearance. What’s driving us to do this? We put that question to David Puts, a biological anthropologist at Penn State, who looks at the world through the lens of evolution.

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