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Jane the Virgin's Justin Baldoni on His Body Dysmorphia: 'I Never Feel Like I'm Strong Enough'

People logo People 4/26/2018 Julie Mazziotta

a man standing in front of it © Provided by TIME Inc. Fans of Jane the Virgin know Justin Baldoni as the hot, sensitive dad with an eight-pack. But being known for his body is a source of anguish for the actor.

Baldoni, 34, gave a TED Talk in January where he revealed his struggle with body dysmorphia, and said Tuesday that he never feels like his body is muscular enough.

“I think the actual thing, if I were to be clinically diagnosed, would be muscle dysmorphia,” he tells Cosmopolitan. “No matter what I do, I never feel like I’m strong enough, or muscular enough or big enough, and that comes down to being the super skinny kid that was picked on and bullied. It’s basically a misperception of the way that I look at myself compared to the way the world sees me.”

Since I started Instagram, I haven't really made my workouts public, I've always seen it as a private thing like when I pray or meditate. But recently I've been needing motivation myself to wake up before the sunrise and get an intense workout in. So over the next month, I'm going to start integrating it into my life. We can't forget to give the body the love that it needs, just like we can't forget our soul and the love it needs. Push yourself today. You'd be amazed at what the body is capable of with a little bit of focus and positive reinforcement. And while our at it... see if you can do something to improve someone else's life at the same time. #happywednesday #focus #love Photo by the man who is kicking my a$$ @tomekkosalka

A post shared by Justin Baldoni (@justinbaldoni) on Apr 6, 2016 at 7:38am PDT

Baldoni said that the super-fit days of his youth set a body precedent that he feels the need to maintain.

“It’s like a blessing and a curse,” he said. “When I was in my early twenties, I was in really, really good shape. Because I had the time. I was 22, it was the peak of my testosterone, and I could work out for an hour and a half a day. But the problem was, it became a part of my identity, because that’s how television and the TV business saw me — I could take off my shirt. If you look at my career, it’s part of every job I ever had. It’s also been a struggle for me because I’d always felt like I had so much more to offer, but that was how I was seen, and that was also how I was making my money.”

Now, Baldoni feels like he’s struggling to maintain his ripped body, even if other people thinks he looks great.

“Where it got challenging for me was, I’m now 34, so my body doesn’t naturally stay in that, ‘Oh, I’m just walking around with an 8-pack all the time’ [shape]. And because I have my insecurities with my physique, because of my history, I’d put a lot of pressure on myself before I had to do these scenes. So I would get anxiety around it,” he said.

#bodyimage Two words you've probably never heard come out of a man's mouth. I would bet that most of us assume that women are the only ones who struggle with their body image & feelings of low self-esteem. That assumption couldn't be more wrong. As a man I can tell you right now that I struggle with my own body image & there are infinite layers that contribute to why. I grew up really skinny. I always felt like my T-shirts just hung from my neck because I had no shoulders. I wanted to have muscles because I thought that would make me a real man. I thought it would help me get friends & girls & be respected. I was wrong. Muscles don't give you anything except the insecurity & desire of keeping them & making them bigger. I don't think we have ever addressed the underlying reason why most of us really go to the gym & stay in shape. Why do we sacrifice eating the foods we want to eat, while spending hours, working on parts of our bodies that most people will never see. Pushing ourselves, sweating, buying billions of dollars in products & clothing that hide our problem areas well following influencers who spend their entire day in the gym posting about it and make $ off our secret jealousy. What does that say about how we feel about ourselves? Does it really inspire us or does it set an unrealistic expectation for ourselves & our partners? The truth is that I'm one of the many millions of men & women that have body dysmorphia. When I look in the mirror I'm not happy with what I see like so many of you. Yes of course you can all say what you want about me - but nothing you say can make the little Justin who was picked on, who felt weak and like he wasn't enough feel amazing about how he looks. So to my dear friends… be patient with yourself. Love yourself, & be OK having insecurities. To my men, talking about your insecurities doesn't make you less of a man ... it actually makes you more of a man. We all have different reasons why we want to look the way we want to look... I just think it's important we start being real about it -because our children are going to grow up not just just looking at us but wanting to be like us. #TheMensRoom #redefinemasculinity

A post shared by Justin Baldoni (@justinbaldoni) on Jun 22, 2017 at 10:06am PDT

Baldoni now opens up regularly about his body dysmorphia on social media because he sees it as a problem that goes undiscussed.

“I think so many of us have that,” he said. “I would argue that most men who spend hours at the gym have it. So I just decided to use my social media as a form of therapy and to be super, super honest, because there’s so many things that men don’t talk about, women don’t talk about, parents don’t talk about. We just constantly compare ourselves to each other, and it’s so destructive.”

And Baldoni has relaxed some of his body struggles, largely out of necessity.

“This last season I really didn’t get to work out that much. Because I have a life, I have two kids now, I have multiple businesses. I had to give up this intense workout schedule,” he said. “So what I decided to do was, I’d work out like three weeks, two weeks before [my shirtless scenes] and do my best and didn’t go crazy, and I was also a lot happier this year. I don’t think I personally looked as good as I did in previous seasons, but I think emotionally and mentally, I was a lot happier. And I think I was a bit more normal looking. Hopefully! I don’t know.”

Slideshow: 8 fitness bloggers reveal tricks to those 'perfect body' pics (Courtesy: People) 


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