Monday, February 18, 2008

Thoughts on Growing Up FAT & GAY

I knew at a very young age that I was fat. Around three or four I started packing on extra pounds. I knew that I was different than my cousins and friends; I could tell that I was bigger. They also had a knack for making that perfectly clear. Kids are brutally honest and outspoken. I also knew at a young age that I was gay (more details on that some other time). It must have been around four when I realized I was attracted to other boys, but I didn’t have a clue what that meant or that there was a name to go with my feelings. But then for many years my attraction to the same sex was not present and I even had crushes on girls (gross, I know).
The thing is, growing up fat I always wanted to be thin. I was constantly envious of the other boys at school and my friends, the ones who could eat whatever they wanted and never had to worry about losing their naturally athletic bodies. Growing up in Southern California there was never a lack of hot skaters or surfers, with their lean muscular bodies on display, to fawn over. As I got older the pressure to be thin was even greater. There was nothing that I wanted more than to have that body. Every summer was the time I would start a new diet and/or exercise plan in hopes of coming back to school in the fall a newer hotter version of myself. Every summer I failed. In fact I not only failed, I managed to pack on more weight each year (self sabotage, check out earlier posts here, here, & here).
Junior high, more specifically the summer after eighth grade, is when I last remember having a crush on a girl. She was the new girl in the neighborhood and she was very attractive (tall, thin, blonde and tan). We always ran into each other at the pool, which was super embarrassing because I was fat and insecure, and she was always nice and sociable. Once freshman year started she was quickly integrated into the popular clique and any interaction, if I could ever muster up the courage, was not going to happen. By sophomore year I was starting to realize that I was spending a lot of time looking at guys. I started to explore the internet at home and during school hours managed to become infatuated with a few of my classmates. One was a guy named Nick. He was tall, lean, muscular(ish), a skater, and a baseball player. He had a shaved head and dark features. He was my 2nd period crush. There was another, Mike, who was in my Lit class. And another, Matt, in my Chem class. And Galen in Spanish. In nearly every class there was a guy who provided a nice diversion from the monotony of high school. What was hard for me to figure out was whether I was besotted with them because I was envious, or because I was attracted.
Toward the end of high school I had finally realized that I was queer. From that point onward any attraction to a guy was not just “he’s hot, he’s smart . . .” but also “I wish I had that body.” The two were intrinsically intertwined.
Which brings me to my question (one I have thought about a lot over the past couple years): does growing up fat increase the likelihood of being gay?

I know that for me being queer was a part of who I was from a young age. I “knew” from the time I was a toddler. This leads me to think that there is some validity to the argument for a genetic component. But at the same time I wonder if all the time (and we are talking years here) spent gawking at and desiring the bodies of other boys has also played its part. Did it increase my odds? Is it a contributing factor? Is it similar to smoking increasing one’s chance of getting lung cancer? It has become hard to separate the desire to obtain and the desire to have. Did it slowly evolve into an attraction or was I always attracted and just unaware, or willing to admit it? Not that I regret being gay, I do not, but I do wonder if there is any link.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Weekly Wrap-up: Week 5

Woo-hoo! I lost another pound. One little pound, it doesn't seem like much but that is equal to 3,500 calories, and that is a much larger number, which makes it seem a little more substantial. Any pound lost (actually worked off, its not like it just disappeared on its own) is an accomplishment, and another small battle won. Only about 160,000 more calories to go!

So how did I do it this week?

I worked out damn near every day for at least one hour. Going to the gym, walking, using exercise videos (Beachbody's Hip Hop Abs), and even doing a kick boxing class. Yes I am a bit sore, and yeah, there are blisters on my feet, but they are just tiny battle wounds that will go away in time.

I continued to work on portion control and making healthy choices. I snacked on fruit and veggies over crackers or other junk. I ate lots of veggies, drank lots of water, and focused on keeping up on organic, whole grain, natural foods. No more weird chemical ingredients in my meals, that is just not necessary.

I think the other part of this week that played a big part in my success was keeping my head in the game. One thing I have realized over the years of struggling with my weight is that you really have to commit. It really means that you have to constantly be thinking about your goal, and thinking thin. I think about how good it will feel to get rid of all the excess weight. I think about what I am putting into my body. I TALK MYSELF UP. I tell myself that I am proud of myself for going to the gym. I say, "Good job!" and "You did it!" I congratulate myself for making smart food choices. I really believe that staying positive, and thinking positive thoughts is the key.

One month down. A few pounds lost. A good start to a long journey. I am proud of myself.

Monday, February 11, 2008

It Sucks Being Fat

Just two of the many things that bother me about being fat: man boobs and pubis fat. I guess I am just lucky, I must have great genes, and my body is so awesome, that I carry some excess weight in my breasts (man boobs, apparently also known as “moobs”) and in the pubis (sometimes referred to as a pubic mound). What does this all mean?

Man boobs are just not fun. Guys do not have breasts they have pecs. They do not have fleshy, floppy, squishy, bouncy, fat breasts. They are emasculating; they constantly make me feel like less of a man. They make finding clothes difficult, and also choosing what to wear on a daily basis a chore. They make me feel like when I first meet someone that is the first thing they notice; that they are all people can focus on when they see me. I feel like people automatically judge me based on my breasts. In essence they are a huge part of my self-consciousness and lack of self-esteem. Every time I get dressed or shower, every time I look in a mirror, so many times throughout each day, I am reminded that I have a pair of breasts. As I have been overweight nearly my entire life I have had to deal with the teasing and the worrying and the anguish of having a pair of man boobs. If nothing else, I cannot wait to be rid of my man boobs in the near future.

What has been really interesting to me is that I recently came across a website (manBoobs) that is all about love and appreciation of the man boob. At first I was taken aback, “really, you people LOVE your man boobs?” I thought. Then I got a laugh out of it and scrolled through a couple pages of pictures. But what I think is going on is that many people are using it as a sort of coping mechanism. By posting pictures, and getting compliments on your fantastic moobs, it takes away a bit of the sting and the angst one might have. Finding a place where you are accepted can make you feel good about yourself again. However, is that a good or bad thing? Are you then being enabled? Are the commenters enablers? Is it possibly deterring people from getting healthy because they feel accepted? I’m not sure.

The other thing that sucks is this mound of fat that sits right on top of my pubic region. It’s like this little bump that protrudes outward and manages to surround and crowd the penis. So what is so bad about that?

This fat pad can, in some cases, engulf the penis, effectively hiding it. It makes the penis seem smaller than it is, both while flaccid and erect. Basically the fat surrounds the penis and buries the base of it, much like a post dug into the ground. The more fat that accumulates, the less penis there seems to be. It is annoying looking down and seeing this mound, bumping out, disguising the penis, causing doubt about the actual size, and just looking plain awkward and ugly.

These are the two main issues I have with my body. They are annoyances on a daily basis, but I know that if I keep working the weight will be shed and these nuisances will be gone. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Weekly Wrap-up: Week 4

My how the weeks just fly by. I cannot believe that it is already February. Anyway, this week was sort of another wash. I didn't see any significant weight loss when I got on the scale but I am feeling better. I don't know what it is exactly (the organic foods maybe?), but I'm sure it has a bit to do with the regular exercise and endorphins (blah, blah, blah), and it feels good. Last night I went out to a bar with some friends and actually felt somewhat attractive.

I managed to workout four times, actually going to the gym, and then did a bit of walking and outdoorsy stuff on two of the other days. So really, no too bad on the workout front. Food wise, I have been getting better and better at managing portions and making healthy choices. Granted, I could have done without the beers (two) and fries (a few, we're talking five to ten) last night. But hey, a guys gotta splurge sometime.

My goal for this week is to exercise (either at the gym or some other workout option) at least five times/days and to maintain the healthy responsible eating.