In 2011, I set out to achieve a massive goal. I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have a specific stopping point that I wanted to reach. I just decided that I was going to do it. I'm not even sure where the focus came from or why I chose then to start. I had struggled with this problem for quite some time. So how would I achieve this goal? And what would it take? How long would it take? I knew literally nothing. But what I do know is that I was tired. Tired of hating the way that I looked, tired of being physically uncomfortable in many spaces, just tired. In fact, I hadn’t known any other way of life. I can only remember trying my best to hide it my weight.
I started slow; treadmill walking, cutting portion size, the normal. Then I reverted back. Then started again, then reverted back. But a few times after that, I was full steam ahead. Through the steady intensifying of workouts and eating plans, the weight began to fall off. As I lost, I just knew that all of my self esteem and struggles with body image would disappear soon. Compliments started rolling in, my clothes fit and looked differently, attention for the fairer species started happening more often and I knew I was on the right track.
Fast forward 18 months or so, I had lost 130 pounds. I had a new wardrobe, I had a complete lifestyle and mindset shift, I was doing and enjoying things I never thought I would. But much to my dismay, my internal struggles didn't vanish like I thought that they would? Some of the same body issues that I had before remained.
Now, in 2018, I have kept the weight off for the most part with no plans of returning to where I was. (And I say "for the most part" because I have gained around 25 pounds over the past few years.) But all of this is to say one thing. The search for perfection is real - even for guys. When I lost the weight, I was left with pounds of extra skin that made me feel like I looked largely the same. As time has worn on, I have I come to realize that I would have to work through these thoughts and issues. The expectation of a magical disappearance is unrealistic.
What's funny is that the grass is truly greener. Because of my current position in retail, I work with gentlemen in suiting. And more often than not, they come in with negative things to say about their bodies. And I always reassure them that they are normal just like every other human being on their Earth. Some guys want to look larger, some want to look smaller, some are frustrated with portions of their bodies that are "not proportionate" with the rest, and everything else you can think of. I always extend a bit of grace and reassure them that they are fine. Now, if I could only extend myself that same grace consistently. Comparison STEALS JOY. For YEARS I have been so busy comparing myself and my body to others that I could not even celebrate the victory of keeping all of that weight off for years.
I would be lying if I told you that I did not, to this day, I struggle with body issues. And it will likely be something that I deal with for the rest of my life (or for a long time). But realizing and accepting this truth has helped a great deal. I have learned to be patient. I have learned to be gracious. I have learned a greater understanding of self-love.
The Take Aways?
- Be OK where you are. Losing weight takes a great dal of mental focus and discipline. And yo-yoing is not healthy. Make a decision when you're ready. Find a support system, prepare, and work.
- Run your race. Comparison STEALS JOY. For YEARS I have been so busy comparing myself and my body to others that I could not even celebrate the victory of keeping all of that weight off for years. Find what works for you and remain consistent. The process is hard, but fruitful.
I just wanted to share a bit of honesty with you all this time around. Am I back on track with exercising? Yes I am back at it. So hold me accountable if you remember. And if you see me with sweets, love me anyway! I am not even sure what my version of "perfection" would look like. But I am getting closer to healthy and excited about it.