I wrote this post today for a Facebook group I’m part of. Thought it was worth posting here as well:
There’s been a few posts on perception in here lately, and I thought I’d add my 2 cents worth.
As I may’ve mentioned, I’m bulking right now – I have let my eating get very out of control at times, and ballooned in weight really quickly.
When I look at myself in the mirror, all I see is that I’ve lost all semblance of upper ab definition and my belly is round. When I weigh myself all I see is that I’m xx kilos heavier than I was a few months ago. When I get dressed, I freak out about the fact that my pants are tight and I’m on the last hole on my belt.
Yet it’s really easy to forget about the other stuff.
OK, I’ve had some binges. I had another one yesterday, funnily enough. But I’ve also been enjoying many different types of foods that I’d previously cut out of my diet and so meals are more enjoyable. I went out for dinner for the wife’s birthday on Saturday night and it was almost a pleasurable experience, 6 months ago it would have been a really stressful experience of choosing what to eat and trying to fit it into a calorie target somehow.
Being well fed has also markedly improved my mood and motivation. I still get grumpy, but I’m generally happier than I was, and I’m actually getting more done at work instead of just drifting along. And people are noticing that I am easier to get along with, which is nice. This means I can be a better work colleague, husband and father – this is really freaking important!
On the training front, I am stronger in the gym than I have ever been – have been adding weight to the bar every single week and hitting easy PRs almost every session.
OK, my waist has grown. But my arms are filling out my t-shirts. My upper back wants to rip my work shirts open when I bend over to tie my shoes. My thighs are filing out my work pants and might be growing faster than my waist is.
This week I have had 4 separate people comment on how good I’m looking. Obviously these are only people that see me with clothes on. But clearly, the changes in my body composition are noticeable and I have stacked on some muscle as well as the fat.
Not only that – while I do still have some niggles from training, I’m not sore all the time. I’m also sleeping better.
So, am I happy with how I look naked? No.
Am I able to rationalise it and be OK with it, considering all the other good things that have come along with gaining weight? Yes.
Sorry, this is a bit of a brain dump, but in keeping with this group’s theme… remember that the number on the scale and your physical appearance are just one aspect of the beautiful creature that is YOU. It’s OK that those things are important to you. In fact, I think they should be important to everyone, because if we don’t take care of ourselves and our bodies, we can’t take care of others.
But we can’t let them take over our every thought and feeling about our identity. There are more important things.
I said to my dietician yesterday, I got into this fitness caper to get healthy, live longer, and be a better husband and father. Instead I let it become an obsession and the worse it got, the less time I spent living in the present with my family and giving them the attention they deserve. I regret that mistake deeply, but feel very grateful that I’m not divorced and I’ve taken steps to restore the balance in my life; I’m not quite there yet but have taken great strides.
If you’ve read this far, I hope it helps you in your journey. Examine your why, and consider whether your current path is really taking you toward that goal or if you’re just habitually doing the things you’ve always done. Is there something you can change? Why not make that change today? What’s holding you back? Probably just fear. It’s easy to say, but that’s just an emotion and usually, it’s an irrational one. The more you challenge that fear the easier it gets and the easier it gets the more motivating it is to continue.
I love the people in this group. I’m sorry so many of you are struggling. I know it’s damn difficult at times. But there is light at the end of the tunnel and you are all fantastic human beings that deserve happiness and peace. Go out and get it. Life’s too damn short to waste.