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HOD SELECT: Body Image and How We Show Up in Dating


Dr. Morgan Francis

Heart of Dating is finishing off it's HOD Select series with a bang!  

We are looking back on a conversation that Kait had with Dr. Morgan Francis to talk about body image and body shame an it’s affect on dating.

Dr. Morgan Francis is a Doctor of Clinical Psychology and a Licensed Mental Health Therapist as well as a wife and mother to three children in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is the owner of Scottsdale Premier Counseling, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Her mission is to break through the mental health shame game. With over 20 years of experience specializing in the treatment of Body Image and Eating Disorders, Dr. Francis can empower you to make peace with your body and food.

Dr. Francis believe that for too long society has been embracing Diet Culture and pushing you to believe how you look is not good enough. No matter how thin or fit you look, you cannot outrun the pressures that surround you. The transformation of loving and appreciating your body happens internally, not externally. Dr. Francis has developed online courses on Body image and Self- Love that will help you to take back your life.

She has also been featured on a variety of events and news outlets from the Powerhouse Women’s Event, and was even recognized by Lululemon as a Female Leader making a difference for her inspiring work on Body Image. She’s also a frequent guest on Fox 10 News as an expert in the mental health field. 

How would you define body image? How did we get here?

  • Body image is the, “Thoughts attitudes feeling and behaviors regarded to the way that we look.
  • 3 factors that affect body image the most: 1. media and diet culture 2 family and culture 3. traumatic events and experiences
  • It can affect us as early as 5 years old
  • This can significantly be affected early on by childhood messaging and how the close people in our lives, like our parents, modeled how they saw themselves.

How does a negative body image shape our dating lives?

  • It can negatively effect our self esteem
  • It can negatively effect our gender identity- when our body changes in size this can then affect how we see ourselves as either “more or less feminine/ or masculine”
  • It can add increased interpersonal anxiety- you won’t want to go on a date
  • Avoidance of sexual intimacy because we don’t feel safe/ feel self conscious with our bodies
  • Can add to an increase in depression
  • Can over whelming under everything create layers of shame. Shame can change who we are and how we approach the world.
  • Kait comments that some of our frustration with dating might actually come from ourselves. We might go on a lot of dates, but if we are not confident and embodied, then we might show up unloved, or feeling insecure and therefore
  • Dr. Morgan brings up confirmation bias: subconsciously we will end up dating someone who confirms our own deepest fears.

How does our body image affect how we show up in sexuality? Our feminine and masculine scripts?

  • Kait brings up how we can often shut down our sexuality.
  • Dr. Morgan shares that sexual intimacy doesn’t mean sexual intercourse, it can mean physical touch, it can mean sensuality.
  • There is so much pressure for men and women to hold an “ideal” image
  • Our “beauty myth ideal” has drastically changed through time.
  • Dr. Morgan walks us through both the male and female ideals and how they have changed over time.
  • Kait shares vulnerably about a time she used to edit her body before posting any photos of herself.

How does a body image affect what we expect in dating?

  • A lot of people say they are not stimulated by the people they are dating.
  • We often can objectify ourselves and then also in turn objectify others.
  • Dr. Morgan breaks down how we can shift this.
  • 1-“Challenge your negative body image.”
  • 2- “Start listening and responding to your body,”
  • 3- “Start practicing self compassion”
  • “How do I make peace with this? How do I come to terms with what God and life has given me?”
  • Often we compare ourselves to earlier versions of what we look like, which can become very detrimental
  • Find ways to have frequent check ins with yourself to CHECK your intentions.

How can we have more compassion for ourselves and for others?

  • Dr. Morgan says women need to learn, “The least important thing about you is the way you look.” Men also have to learn “The least important thing about a woman is the way she looks.
  • Kait shares how she challenges people to say YES to a date if you think the person is objectively attractive.
  • Diversify what you are being subjected to. IE- If you are on social media you need to diversify what you are seeing on there.
  • Dr. Morgan addresses that it’s been particularly hard for MEN to have compassion for themselves.
  • The ladies discuss how THERAPY is great for this and when it comes to dating, therapy is hot!

What is your final nugget of dating advice?

  • Love yourself. The most important relationship you have is with yourself.

Other Resources:

Connect with Dr. Morgan on Instagram HERE

Access Dr. Morgan’s Courses HERE

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Dr. Morgan Francis

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