Last weeks weigh in was 200.2 pounds. 0.3 away from what I wanted. I did say numerous times I wanted to be at 200 or below. I guess if you take away the clothing and sneakers, I made it. But no one needs that image burned into their minds.
This brings me to the topic of today’s blog. It is something many people go through and not enough people talk about, their mental health and their own self-image.
What I want to speak to you about is that at some point in our lives, we all take a negative view of our bodies.
For me, my issue with my body was not my weight, but rather a lack of it. I was always the skinny runt growing up. I struggled to hit 100 pounds. If I remember correctly, I was about 115 pounds when I graduated high school. All through my twenties it was a struggle to gain weight. When I got married twenty years ago, I weighed about 127 pounds.
I was skinny and not very athletic. I enjoyed doing things outdoors, I had good endurance and a never-ending supply of energy. I just hated the way I looked. I was extremely skinny. My legs were so skinny I got compared to a chicken most times, so I wore long pants well into my twenties. When I finally got up the courage to start wearing shorts, people would be forced to shield their eyes from how white and blinding they were.
As I gained weight, I started to feel much better about myself. Even as I was headed toward 200 pounds, I was very happy to see the skinny me left far behind. Eventually I got over 200 pounds and that is when the “when is the baby due” jokes started. I also found out that there is a cruel double standard.
It is acceptable for people to say that to a man and rub his tummy like a statue of Buddha, but if a guy did that to a woman, he would end up in HR with a sexual harassment claim. So, I grew to hate my weight then, too. There did not seem to be a happy medium. The highest weight I remember getting to was around 235 pounds.
As I started this journey, I thought that losing the weight would be a good thing. My doctor was really impressed with the weight I lost. My family was thankful that I was taking the weight loss seriously and getting healthier. I saw the pounds starting to come off. As of now I have lost over half the weight of my total goal. I should be happy about that.
As I look in the mirror now, I see my body getting smaller. The muscles in my neck are more prevalent now that I have shed a couple of chins. My arms and legs are no longer as round as they once were. When I wear my jeans, I must cinch my belts to the very last loop to keep them up. I am starting to see the old, skinny version of myself and I am not quite sure I like it.
It is not that I enjoyed being overweight. It was just something that I could easier deflect with comedy. The more I called myself “fat boy” the less people gave me grief over it. I tried using humor when I was skinny, but I still hated the way I looked. Being heavy, it did not bother me as much.
There are so many mixed emotions that we all go through with weight loss. One of my new challenges to overcome is to learn how to not hate how skinny I am becoming. The skinny kid I was years ago was miserable. I always had an issue with my self-image and esteem when it came to my body. I do not want to go back to that. I also want to live long enough to pay off my next mortgage. I want to see my daughter find love, get married and start a family of her own. I want to celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary with my wife. These are all doable things when you are healthy.
Now I have to work on the mental aspect of all this. I must get over the negative feelings I have come to associate with being skinny. A lot of people do not consider the changes to their mental health when losing weight. We worry so much about physical health that we forget to concentrate enough on our mental health. They both go hand in hand. The body and mind must both be healthy for us to be at our best. That is about as Zen as I am going to get for today.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read this and I wish you all a great week.
Written by: Craig Repanshek