Facing Body Image Fears Head On

I grew up very active. I played outside all day with neighborhood kids. I was that little tomboy running around that could throw the football and hit a ball just as far as the boys could. I also played every sport imaginable in school. I can’t believe all the running around my mom did (bless her soul) to take me to basketball, hockey, soccer, and softball games and practices.

About the time I hit puberty, I moved to a new school and stopped playing sports. And although I was young, my metabolism couldn’t keep up. I was still eating whatever I wanted and without being active anymore, I gained a lot of weight.

By the time I reached my senior year of high school I was over 220lbs+. Clothes felt horrible. I felt horrible. I had a horrible perception of myself. I was miserable with the way I looked. I remember reaching a point where my mind was completely made up to lose weight. So I did it the wrong way – with diet pills – particularly Ephedra (which was popular and legal at the time). I had more energy, no appetite, and lost over 60lbs in a few months. I looked like a different person from the time senior year started til the time it ended.

I still wasn’t happy with the way I looked. So I started lifting weights with my friend’s dad, who showed me the ropes at a local community center. I have been working out since I was about 18. I’m 33 now. It’s a huge part of my life because besides competing, I just truly LOVE and enjoy it.

But the sad reality is that I really never have been 100% happy with myself no matter what the scale said. I always have been hard on myself.

People would say how flat my stomach was and all I could see was fat. I STILL struggle with this today, and I have visible abs. I’m not saying this to be an asshole. It’s the truth. And I can even acknowledge it, but when you have a distorted view of yourself, it doesn’t matter what anyone else says… you still believe that little voice in your head saying it’s not good enough or picking out the things that are wrong to you.

Body image issues exist whether you are 90lbs, 150lbs, 200lbs, 300lbs. And mentally, even if you lose a ton of weight, you still may struggle with this when you even get to your “ideal size.” But when it comes down to it, is there really an ideal size? (No! – of course I promote being healthy for obvious reasons but everyone’s bodies, shapes, metabolism, features… are all different!)

It’s very easy for me to accept other people. I try to encourage and motivate. I’m proud of weight loss stories from friends and clients. I love seeing people reach their fitness goals. But with myself, I see the bad a lot of the time.

And sometimes I even get upset when others can’t see the good about themselves or that they always talk negative about themselves. But I do the same exact thing to my own self!

I realized this recently, and it makes me sad. Sad for many reasons… that society cares so much about comparison, how the media promotes an “ideal” look, that I know deep down there really isn’t perfect, and that I am so hard on myself.

I know that this has been years of negative talk within myself that I need to change… and that it won’t change over night. But realizing this is where it starts. Change can’t be made if you don’t first see what is wrong with your thoughts. And if I can’t be positive with my own self why should anyone else who I’m trying to help be positive with their own self? I need to first change my thoughts.

I put out on social media my story about a photo shoot I recently did… a nude one. No, I’m not showing my vagina or tits to the world to help my body image thoughts lol. Well not exactly… but I did shoot nude (covering all the goodies of course)… And I had the support of my wife and a new confidence that I never even believed was inside of me.

I honestly wanted to wait until after an upcoming meet so I could cut down and look more lean. But the opportunity presented itself right when I was at my heaviest weight… 190lbs to be exact. The heaviest I’ve been in my adult life. I could’ve made excuses and pushed it back, but I didn’t! And I did absolutely nothing beforehand to “prep” for this shoot. Didn’t change my diet of eating sweets and burgers or fries to bulk up… Didn’t cut water… Didn’t do a damn thing to lean out.

I was a little bit of a spaz about my weight that week… Ask my wife. I didn’t want to look like an idiot taking these photos (in my mind). Of course, she always assured me that I was beautiful. But internally, I was panicking.

I knew I had to stop thinking negative! This was something that was suppose to be fun. If I was scared or showed an ounce of self-doubt, it would show in these photos, and I knew then it would really make me look like an idiot. So what did I do… I fucking did it.

Without thinking, without… should I say… over-thinking. I just fucking did it, and OWNED IT. And I’ve never been so proud of myself. Even my wife commented on how confident and at ease I was that day. It made me feel good that I could truly feel good about myself in my own skin no matter what the weight was! This is a step in the right direction.

I could sit there and pick apart things I don’t like or spots that could look better, but I refuse to talk shit on myself anymore. Everyone has “flaws” and those so called flaws someone else loves (your wife/husband, your family, your friends) so why not love yourself more, “flaws” and all. I love the way these photos turned out. I love the way I felt. I love the way my wife looked at me during the whole shoot. I love this entire experience!

Like I said before, I know this is going to be a process – like changing any thought pattern that has been engraved in your head for so long… it takes time. But if we all can be more positive starting with ourselves – think about how much better body image confidence could be in the future. Let’s spread positive thoughts and help motivate others too!

Photo preview – @MetconPhotos IG / http://www.metconphotos.com

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