If you could read my mind, you’d discover that I’ve always been fat. Or, at least, that’s how I view myself.
Now, it’s not really body dysmorphia – it’s not something I think about many times a day. But, it comes up. And I’ve discovered I’m not really alone in that sort of thinking – there’s a body builder that I’ve run into that is built like only most guys could dream of being built. Except, he doesn’t see it – he’s still small in his own eyes, unless someone really pushes it. I’ve referred to it as body dysmorphia before, but that’s not quite right – it’s not severe enough for that.
But, I find it interesting that my mind has edited my past. See, with the exception of a very specific time period, I’ve always been fat. Except, if you look at the first picture attached to this post, I’m the guy in the white shirt on the right. While I’m not super slim, I’m not really fat, either.
Of course, it would be disingenuous to say that I’ve never been fat, either. Also attached to this article is the “grizzly adams” version of me, which definitely has more than “a few extra pounds.”
Now, this all comes to a head with a recent moment. I had a moment when I was chatting with a gal, and had the thought “I kinda like her. I should see if she wants to go out sometime.” I mean, she was in the right age
range, etc. What stopped me? My next thought was “Yeah, sure – I’m probably too fat for her tastes, though.”
Physical appearance has never stopped me asking someone out before (with a strange exception I’ll get into later). I know that’s not the end all, be all of dating. I’m not super-handsome, but I’ve done just fine most of my life – I tend to be bold about that sort of thing. But, that fat thought really disturbed me.
Later, I looked in the mirror. I’m 44 years old, I’m not nearly as overweight as a lot of people I know, and while I’m not super-handsome, I’m also not butt-ugly either. And, I suppose, I’m really not that fat, either.
I’m not small. I’ve got a 51″ chest, 16 1/2″ arms, and a 46″ gut. If you go to poke my chest, you’ll discover that’s almost all muscle. I worked very hard towards doing stuff like the Highland Games, and though my shoulders tend to disagree with me, my core is built for it. I’m strong as hell (though, my friend The Plumber still makes me looks small. 😉 ). I can count on one hand people I personally know that are stronger than me. I still have much, much more gut than I want, though I know part of that is lazy guts: with age, you gain fat, but if you never tighten your stomach muscles, they tend to let your guts reorganize a bit, and take a little more space up. Both the fat and the guts problem are stuff that are fixable.
But, the minute I walk away from from the mirror, I quit seeing those good attributes entirely. I’m fat again. Now, after a workout, I’ve got a certain time period where I feel extremely strong and good, – but, usually, I still feel fat. 🙂
Worst part? Usually, the more I slim down, the worse that “I’m fat” feeling is. Seriously – I’ll loose weight, and I’ll more uptight about feeling fat. It’s a weird phenomena. I’ve been close to a flat stomach before – you can see one picture for around that era over on the right (er, posing like a gal.)
That moment when it stopped me from being bold? That’s a problem. (Well, asking the female out could have been a problem, you never know, but I doubt it.) It’s time to get my shit together, mentally. If I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve edited my history into “always been fat”, it’s time to rethink things considerably. And, if I’m letting it get in my way of other things, that’s a problem.
Now, that’s not to say I’m going to quit working out. I still want to keep my ADHD in check, and I still want to get to the point of 6-pack abs someday, just to say I’ve done it. And, I still want to keep getting stronger. But, now I really need to figure out how to not always have been fat – that’s a lot bigger challenge than pumping iron or doing cardio.