Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dr. Strangebrew or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Fat Loss and Love Myself

This Society Series post comes from a surprise author.  Read on….

 

Think you’re comfortable in your skin? How many of the following fatty scenarios can you relate to?

  • After helping a friend one afternoon, he commented that it would be cheaper to repay me with cash than buying me lunch. I laughed it off.
  • My coworkers relentlessly tease me about my love of chocolate, especially cookies. I have playfully retorted that it is my “crack”.
  • The employees at the local chocolatier, who indirectly contributed to my weight gain, gave me a nickname after I returned day after day for goodies. I’ve lived up to my nickname.
  • At a party, a new acquaintance flattered me when he said I looked good for being able to eat so much, to which a long time friend teased, “Well, I don’t know about that,” while tapping my belly. I think I joked I was pregnant.

Being a realist and always open to self-depreciating humor, I have NEVER taken comments toward my weight personally. Obviously, others have picked up on that and openly poked fun at me. I was skinny as a rail when I was a kid, and my mom even teased that I had a tapeworm. I don’t think I was more that 115lbs when I graduated high school. Never would I have imagined that I would get as big as I did, ballooning up to 238 lbs on my five foot nine (and a very important three quarters of an inch) frame. But that was on purpose, or so I told myself. Though now in retrospect, there were some poor dieting choices involved. And those pictures weren’t as flattering as the mirror was telling me at the time. Whether I was that skinny little kid or the much bigger person I am now, I have always had a voracious appetite. I love food, especially chocolate sweets. While I’m currently 203, I’m struggling with my last few pounds to reach my goal of 190. My trainer wants me to try for 180, but I resist because I don’t think I’ll look good at so LIGHT a weight. That’s right; I won’t look good if I get any smaller! I’m proud being big; I worked very hard to get here. I love my body, how it looks, and I’m very comfortable in my skin. But like it or not, I have to shed my excess fat.

 

Oops, did I forget to mention that I’m a guy? That’s right, a male, and struggling with my weight. Despite regular exercise, my body holds on to the last bit of fat because of my diet. I cheat on it. That’s a big no-no because I’m trying to get down to 4% body fat from 11% in 16 weeks time. You see, I’m training for a bodybuilding competition. Think you have it tough trying to get into that bikini or bridesmaid dress? Any excess fat I display, wearing only skimpy posing trunks, on a stage in front of hundreds of people, risks getting booed, or even laughed, off stage. I used the phrase “struggling with my weight” cause it’s a make or break deal for me. If I don’t look like I’m making progress, my trainer calls me a failure. Even my friends level with me and tell me that I look like shit. Talk about pressure!

 

Being a guy losing weight isn’t much different from being a girl losing weight. I have the firm belief that there exist some very important tricks to successful weight loss, but there are even more important attitudes and realizations about losing weight (to losing, and not keeping it off, which is an entirely different goal and deserves a discussion of its own). Follow whatever diet and exercise program that you, or your physician and you have decided on. But what diets, doctors, trainers, friends, and family won’t tell you, but I’m going to share, I hope you will consider.

 

Losing weight is lonely. No one but you has anything to gain. Your husband, in honest discussion, may say it’s good for your health or a better sex life, and may even change his lifestyle to support you, but it comes back to you making the commitment to yourself. Your best friend may be sympathetic, but she doesn’t care whether or not you lose weight. That may sound mean. But it’s the truth. She may hope or pray that you reach YOUR goals or for you to be happy, but the only person with any vested interest in YOUR weight loss is you.

 

Do it for yourself. Not your hubby, the cute guy you’d like to impress, because your children said something, or you overheard a hurtful comment and decided to prove someone wrong. That can be your motivator, but do it for you. I once trained a girl whose husband was deployed in Afghanistan. He loved her for her. When she told him she had begun an exercising program, he told her, “Don’t lose MY muffin top!” She wanted to look her best cause she was going to meet his family, which was her motivation. But the reason why she came into the gym everyday was for herself. That’s why she exceeded her goals (and MINE!), even after I finished training her. And her husband, children and extended family loved the results.

 

Be confident in yourself that you’re doing well. You make progress; you have setbacks, but if you keep at it, pat yourself on the back. I can’t tell you the countless people I see in the gym who make dramatic changes in front of my eyes. You don’t see it because you see yourself every day. You are your own worst critic. I don’t notice that you slipped up on your diet or you skipped Monday’s workout, but I notice those sweatpants are looser, or that your face is looking slimmer. Keep at it, and soon you’ll notice that those pants are fitting looser, too!

 

I cheat on my diet all the time. But I tighten it to compensate, or increase my cardio when I need to, and other times button it down completely. I take it seriously, but I don’t let it consume me. Yes, I worry because I HAVE TO be a certain weight, but you shouldn’t just because you decide you deserve a double chocolate brownie sundae. When you beat yourself up for failing to stick rigidly to your expectations, the only thing you end up doing is beating yourself up with another double chocolate brownie sundae. Stay focused, remember your obligations to yourself, self-discipline yourself for your transgressions, and you’ll be okay.

 

Admit that you’re pretty. Let me be frank, fat can be brutally ugly. I’ve seen girls who physically look disheveled and emotionally are probably destroyed. What a horrible place to begin a diet from. But as you lose weight, that affects your outlook. You smile more. You feel better. You look better. But even if you haven’t lost as much as you would like, admit to yourself that you look good. Be a little cocky! If you look in the mirror and those size 14 jeans that you can now fit into makes you think that you look awesome, then you look awesome!

 

Whatever your weight loss goal, good luck! Work hard and help inspire others. By the way, the nickname the employees at the chocolate store gave me was “Smiley!” Just the attitude you need to reach your goals.

 


 

Did that make anyone else a little misty-eyed, too?  This post was written by Kevin who has recently started blogging at littleBIGkev.  Also, read his hilarious tweets @littleBIGkev.  We started to do this solely as a guest post over here to help with the initial “wow, the author’s a dude” shock factor, but if you’d like to leave a comment, please head over to Kevin’s blog where it’s also posted and leave him some love!