Former “Bachelor” Clayton Echard is opening up about his struggles with body dysmorphia. In a November 2022 interview with Men’s Health, Echard spoke candidly about dealing with body image issues, especially while playing football in college. The reality star detailed his struggles with his body, revealing he hated what he looked like at one point.
Here’s what you need to know:
Clayton on Dealing With Body Dysmorphia
In the November interview, Echard recalled his experience playing college football at the University of Missouri. The ABC star told the outlet that his athletic career played a major role in his body dysmorphia.
According to Mayo Clinic, body dysmorphic disorder is “a mental health condition in which you can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance — a flaw that appears minor or can’t be seen by others.”
Echard said that he felt pressure to look like the other defensive ends on the team, which ultimately led to him developing body image issues.
“When I realized that I wanted to walk on at Mizzou, I was under 200 pounds my senior year of high school,” he began. “I thought, ‘If I want to walk on, I should look like all the other defensive ends.’ I found that they were all 240 pounds, and I was like, ‘Wow, I have to gain 40 pounds before I show up.'”
Echard explained that he didn’t approach the process of gaining weight in the “right” way.
“I basically ate an excess of food,” he told the publication. “I was drinking mass gainer protein shakes. I was stuffing my body with as many calories as I could.”
The former “Bachelor” said the weight gain affected his self-esteem and led to body image problems.
“I remember when I was in college, when we were sitting on the bus for the away game, every time we hit a speed bump or a pothole, I would feel my fat jiggling,” he shared. “On the field, it played to my benefit. The field was my escape from that. It almost allowed me to put my body dysmorphia to the side. But every day, waking up, I’d look in the mirror, and I hated what I looked like. I would have days where I’d be super negative because of that.”
Echard’s struggle with body dysmorphia even had an impact on his romantic relationships. He told Men’s Health that he wondered if his significant other found him attractive.
Clayton Said His Body Dysmorphia Is ‘Always There’
Echard’s November interview with Men’s Health is not the first time the football player has spoken about dealing with body dysmorphia. During a January 2022 appearance on the podcast “Talking It Out,” Echard told hosts and former “Bachelorette” contestants Mike Johnson and Dr. Bryan Abasolo that he can never fully shake the disorder.
“You can never shake that body dysmorphia — it’s always there,” he shared during the January 31 appearance. “You can kind of get it under control in some realms, and I’ve done that through diet. But it’s always going to be there.”
The Missouri native also revealed that he was nervous to appear on television because of the disorder.
“I remember that was a big thought I had — the camera adds 10 lbs. So I’m going to be honest with you — I was kind of scared,” he told Bryan and Mike. “I was like, here, we’re going to find out right now how I look on camera, I have no idea. And I was afraid that it was going to put me in a little dark spiral, like, you look fat.”
Echard shared that while he is in a better headspace now, certain events can trigger his body dysmorphia. In his interview with Bryan and Mike, he spoke specifically about how internet comments can cause his body image problems to resurface.
“I’m at a better place where I’m okay with it now because I’ve had enough people say like, ‘hey, you look like you’re in good shape,'” he said. “But all it takes is three comments back to back to back to say, ‘You look kind of fat,’ and that’s all it takes. All of a sudden it puts you right back into that negative mindset.”
“That’s kind of the power of body dysmorphia and the fear of it is like, you never truly get rid of it,” he added.