Now Or Never

How this father of three is fighting his bad body image

Cole Wight, 30, feels despair over how he looks in the mirror — so he turned to the Now or Never 'You Got This' group for advice.

Frustrated by what he saw in the mirror, Cole Wight reached out to Now or Never

Cole Wight, 30, was so frustrated with his feelings about his body that he posted this photo in Now or Never's 'You Got This' group. (Cole Wight)

Cole Wight was getting dressed for church one Sunday morning in February when he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. That's when he felt a familiar feeling of self-loathing.

"I just got upset," said Wight, who does not suffer from an eating disorder. "I do every week but for some reason this particular day I was triggered even more."

Wight reached out to our Now or Never  You Got This Facebook group with this post:

Cole's post in the Now or Never 'You Got This' Facebook group. (Now or Never)

'We are our worst critics'

Dozens of group members responded with words of encouragement and stories of their own struggles with body image and finding time to prioritise their health. 

"I get this 100 per cent," wrote Elizabeth Cook. "What I have found is there is no one-time, fix-all solution, it's an ongoing process of acceptance and evolution."

"It is a hard thing to overcome and we are our worst critics/enemies," wrote Pam Thomas. "Starting with small, manageable changes will work out better in the long run. Progress not perfection."

"Take one day at a time, and do something active with your kids for 20 minutes or so," advised Marlene Diehl. "Kids don't see how you look, they just love you as their dad. You are very worthy of your own love, too."

Cole and Shannon Wight are in thick of raising Brayden (1), Becca (5), and Kailey (7) and struggle to find time for self-care. (Supplied)

Wight's wife Shannon also responded to her husband's discouragement with a message about what she sees when she looks at her husband of 11 years. Have a listen:

When her husband Cole was struggling with his body image, we asked Shannon Wight to leave a message telling him what she sees when she looks at him.

"I know you're uncomfortable in your skin but I'm so proud of what I see," said Shannon. "We are in the thick of child rearing and both stretched to our limits. But we are learning to be gentler with ourselves and each other, and I hope you can also allow yourself some of that gentleness."

"My wife is incredible," said Wight, through tears after hearing the full message. "I know that she loves me, and that she's there for me."

Finding the time for self care

Wight knows what he needs to do to feel physically healthier. The former high school athlete is currently working towards a masters degree in recreation studies. 

With three young children, full-time studies and working as the sole income earner in his family, finding the time to exercise is a challenge.

Wight's most pressing goal is to battle his negative body image, even though he has some fears around that. 

"I don't want to accept it and then slip even further," said Wight.

But when he looks at a photo taken three years ago, it reminds him of how toxic a negative body image can be.

Cole Wight (centre) climbed a mountain three years ago with friends Nate and Joel Tougas. He didn't feel good about his body then, but now when he looks back he wonders why. (Supplied)

At the time the photo was taken, Wight was running regularly and losing weight. Because he hadn't obtained his goal weight, he didn't feel good about himself — even though he was able to climb a mountain with friends.

"I look at it now and I think: 'Holy cow! I look really good. What was I complaining about?'" said Wight.

"If we're always just making goals for the future and thinking: 'That's when I'll be happy,' we're putting off happiness," said Wight. 

Embracing positive thoughts

Wight has decided that during the season of Lent he will give up negative thoughts about his body, and replace them with affirmations.

"Whether I'm on a run and I'm just tired too quickly, or whether it's Sunday and I'm dressing, I'm going to actively decide at that moment that I need to say something positive," said Wight.

Wight is starting off on the right foot. 

"I had a small moment the other day," said Wight. "I was wearing just a particular shirt and I just thought, 'This shirt looks better than the other ones!'"

Wight has kicked off his positive self-talk experiment by choosing to wear a shirt that makes him feel good. (Cole Wight)