Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I'm Starting With the Man in the Mirror

Da da dee da dum dum dee dum dum . . . DYSMORPHIA. (thanks Rihanna’s songwriting team for your song that sums up my mental state)

I kind of always figured that I suffered from body dysmorphia (DEFINITION: Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a preoccupation with the appearance of a certain part of the body), but now I am absolutely 100% positive. It has taken about a year or so to come to this realization. Let’s start at the very beginning; a very good place to start.

My whole life (practically) I was aware that I was bigger than the other kids, if not the biggest. It was readily apparent.

When I was tipping the scale at somewhere just over 300 F*ing pounds I knew I was large but I never thought I was massive. I mean I wasn’t so large that my gravitational pull had objects orbiting around me. I always thought I looked thinner than the numbers on the scale would lead one to picture. I even had friends that would peg me in the 250-275 pound range. That was always nice because I felt like while number wise there were a lot of pounds to lose, image wise I was already ahead of the game.

Never in my life have I felt “skinny.” In fact I hate the word. Detest it! It has such a negative connotation. When I reached the 250 lbs. mark in 2003 I was feeling good but never skinny, not even thin. I knew I was thinner but still felt like my corpulent self.

The problem is that I see myself in the mirror every damn day. I can’t tell how much less space I take up. In my head I am still 300+ pounds. When I see me in the mirror I still see the problem areas (the hint of breasts, a little pudge around the pubic mound, and residual belly fat). We are talking a loss of more than 100 lbs to date, and yet all I see are the same problems that have made me insecure my whole life.

Now, deep down I realize that I am waaaay smaller than I previously was. I get it. I comprehend that people don’t even recognize me. I get that my best friend tells me I am “so skinny,” which is a way of saying, “you were massive and now you’re not.” But every time that word is uttered it makes me want to slap a bitch! What about thin? Slim? Healthy? Any other word choice would suffice.

A few weeks ago a friend’s mom referred to me as “svelte.” This immediately made me smile because I LOVE that word (I am weird and really like languages, especially my native language and appreciate others who make use of all the words their language has to offer).

Last month I attended a party where there were a lot of old college friends and acquaintances. One guy later told one of my closer friends that he didn’t even recognize me, and that is why he looked at me funny when I walked up and started chatting with him.

Just this past weekend I attended another party and decided that I wanted to do some shopping and find something new to wear (as most of the attendees were people I see often, and I don’t need a gazillion photos of me on facebook wearing the same thing all the time). To make a long(ish) story somewhat shorter, I found a shirt I really liked. They had a large so I grabbed it. Not wanting to go back in the dressing room for the fourth time I decided to just throw it on over what I was wearing (a T-shirt over a long sleeved thermal). It fit. Great I thought. Then I kept looking around and a few minutes later thought, “that shirt fit pretty easily and that was on top of two other shirts.” So I walked to the rack, found a medium, and made my way into the dressing room. IT FIT! The medium fit. Un-F*ing real. I strutted out of that dressing room like I owned the place. I can’t even tell you the last time I fit into a men’s medium shirt.

Here’s the thing. When I look in the mirror I do not see a man that wears a medium shirt. I see a man that has been in a large for 5 or 6 years (sometimes just squeaking into that large) and prior to that was an X-large. It is damn near impossible to get it through my head that I am not that man anymore. I suppose that just understanding and acknowledging the fact that there is a dichotomy in the way I see myself (my self-perception) and what I actually look like/how others see me, is a start. I am struggling to change the way I see myself. Trying to see a truer version than the image I have burned into my brain and my retinas. But I gotta tell you, it’s not easy.


P.S. I just remembered that I came across an indie doc a while back that addresses the this issue as it pertains to the gay community. The film was called "Do I Look Fat" and I can't attest to it being either good or bad as I still haven't watched it. But is seems worthwhile. Try and check it out.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

YEAR END WRAP-UP: 2 years under my (shrinking) belt

January 8th, 2010 marks the 2 year anniversary of the commencement of this blog. Its crazy to think that it has been that long. It is also insane to think that it has taken me that long to get to where I currently am. If that isn’t dedication I DO NOT know what is. Yeah, I fell off the horse a couple times. But, I did manage to get back on and continue to forge ahead and not allow my self to throw in the towel. So, I’d like to first do a final stats update for the year and then take some time to review the ups and downs of the past 12 months.

HEIGHT: 6'0"
WEIGHT: 202 lbs (down 46 lbs overall, 20 lbs this year)
CHEST @ NIPPLES: 42.5" (down 2” this year)
UNDER BREASTS: 40" (down 2” this year)
BICEP: 12.5" (up 0.5” this year)
@ BELLY BUTTON: 38.5" (down 2.5” this year)
HIPS: 38" (down 1” this year)
BUTT @ WIDEST POINT: 40.5" (down 2.5” this year)
THIGH: 23" (down 1” this year)
CALF: 16.5" (down 1.5” this year)
Total inches lost = 13” this year (25” overall)!

Ok. On the whole this year has been great. Really fucking great. Seriously. I am extremely proud of my determination, commitment, and successes. I knew that if I really wanted to, I could do it. I “put [my] mind to it, [went] for it, [got] down and [broke a sweat]” a lot. And I absolutely saw the results and the payoff. Hell, I just got rid of three bags worth of clothes that are now too big. That is beyond satisfying and a real confirmation of accomplishment. I am smaller. I feel healthier. I feel better. I have more confidence.

January was a little slow. I worked out, not every day but frequently enough. I also went fully vegan. My reasons were twofold: my health and the environment. I wanted to make sure I was eating enough fruits and veggies and found that by cutting out the meat I was forced to fill up on stuff that was good for me. I know I am getting significantly more vitamins and nutrients, more fiber, and I am not filling up on animal fats. I still get lots of protein, plant fats and omega-3s. I have never felt better, and rarely feel that sluggish food coma like after I would eat meat. It is also a hell of a lot greener to be veg. Cows and chickens that are raised for human consumption are “no bueno” for our planet. So, I am also doing my part on that front. I’m not trying to preach it’s just something I feel pretty strongly about. I dare people to try it. Life without meat is really not that difficult.

February and March were more of the same, ups and downs on the motivation front. I did some international travel for work, which was fantastic. And continued to live a veg lifestyle.

April is when I started to get my ass back in gear. I started out doing workouts at home using videos (Hip Hop Abs from beachbody) and Wii Fit. I also went for a lot of one hour to hour and a half walks. For whatever reason, I could not get myself to go to the actual gym. Work was sporadic and I figured that as long as I wasn’t working I might as well fill up my spare time by exercising. By May I was back on track and in the habit of working out again. I started the workout calendar, which helped me stay on course and log my hours. Being a very visual individual, it was nice to look at all the little boxes that I had marked with a “check mark” or an “X.” Each one representing a small “battle against the bulge” either won or lost in the overall war on body fat.

My determination continued full steam ahead through the summer and by the end of August I had more than met my goal of being 205 lbs by August 15th. I did have some motivation that really forced me to push myself further than I normally would have otherwise; but hey it worked! Part was a move to the “gayborhood,” and the other was a vacation I wanted to look good for.
(***I’ll elaborate upon my thoughts on living in WeHo later***)

The fall was the beginning of the slump. The final stretch that was the last season of the year was not so fantastic. While I wanted to end the year on a high note I allowed myself to settle into a slump that I didn’t get out of until after X-mas. September brought with it another international business trip, and thus two weeks without a gym (though, I did manage to stay on track dietarily and walked all over the place, often while carrying heavy equipment). October was another slow work month and I was actually pretty good about exercising regularly. By the end of the month I was at 195 lbs. I was taken aback. I had finally broken the 200 lbs mark for the first time since I was 14. That was major, and it made me feel like a million dollars. Then it all went down hill. I allowed myself to fall into a funk and I couldn’t shake my bad case of the "fuck-its." On the one hand I felt like, “whatever, I can do whatever I want. I’m 195 lbs. I kick ass. I don’t have to try so hard now.” On the other, I just couldn’t get motivated. From early November to just after X-mas I believe I made it to the gym a total of 10 times. While I was working a bit here and there and getting some physical activity it was substantially less than the previous months. Add to that my lack of concern for diet (hello holidays and all your delicious treats) and what I got is gaining back some of the weight I had worked so hard to purge myself of.

So here I am at the end of the second year of this blog having lost nearly 50 lbs (at one point it was more than 50) and feeling a whole lot better.
Am I kicking myself in the ass for gaining some weight back? Yep.
Am I going to take that anger and disappointment in myself and, rather than get all depressed and discouraged, use it to stay on track and remember the goal I set out to achieve? Fuck yeah! Home stretch here I come.


P.S. The boy in the first 2 pictures are by Greg Vaughan and the 3rd is by Matthias Vriens-McGrath. And the pool theme is something I will delve into next post.

P.P.S. Another exciting event took place this year. I lost my blog comment V-card. So thank you Daveinthe805 for being my first.