I remember the first time I started to feel bad about my body. My wife and I were at an outdoor restaurant when a man jogged past us. This guy could have been a model. He had muscles, a lean stomach, and he was very good looking.
I looked at this guy and thought, Wow. As I looked back at my wife, I caught her giving him a once over. She looked back to me, and we both knew what had just happened. We limped through an awkward dinner.
To be fair, I understand that it’s natural to look at other people, especially if they’re good looking. I didn’t think my wife was going to track the guy down, and cheat on me. I know she loves me. But it did make me really start to think about my body.
I was 332 pounds, and up until that point had suppressed how I really felt. That night I couldn’t sleep as the truth started to fill my mind. I wish the story ended there. I would go on to lose 132 pounds in six months, only to gain it back plus 38 pounds. At my heaviest I was 370 pounds.
You may not be as big as I was. You might even be “skinny." But that doesn’t mean that you’re not struggling with body image issues as a man, despite the fact that when we talk about body image, we usually think of it as a women's issue.
This is because as men, we want to be strong. We don’t want to appear to have any weaknesses. We don’t verbalize what’s going on inside.
Here are six issues hidden deep inside of us that we, as guys, have struggled with for way too long.
1. I feel fat.
If you’re overweight, this is a constant feeling. If you’re not, you may look at some buff guy and feel fat. Whatever the case is, this is a feeling that you try to suppress, but is always there.
At 370 pounds I couldn’t fit into airplane seats. Flight attendants had to bring me the seatbelt extension. I couldn’t go on rides at amusements parks with my family. We thought about buying a bigger car because I was too big for those seats too. I felt fat every day for 10 years.
If you’re going to be successful in weight loss or in your life, you have to stop feeling this way. Do what it takes to get in shape and feel good about yourself, so that you can live a long and healthy life. This starts with the right mindset.
Shake that feeling and take control of your life. It starts with your thoughts.
2. I look fat.
I think that a lot of guys have experienced that moment when trying on certain clothes and they are just tight or don’t fit. We look at how tight that shirt is and feel fat. Or it could be something that someone says in passing, or negatively towards you.
Once that thought is in your mind, it’s hard to get out. No matter what you do, you feel fat, even if you lose some weight. This could cause you to do extreme dieting and exercise, or worse. Remember what we talked about: being healthy starts in your mind.
3. I’m terrible in bed.
Weight issues, and mindset issues, lead to issues in the bedroom. You don’t feel comfortable with your clothes off, even with the person you love.
You’re self-conscious, and have all these thoughts running through your head while you should be giving into the experience. Sex is just as much a mental, as it is a physical experience. That feeling you can’t shake will affect your sex life, which leads to all sorts of problems in your relationship.
4. I have loose skin.
When you lose weight, especially if it’s a big amount of weight, you will have loose skin. I lost 170 pounds and have skin hanging everywhere. I’m very self-conscious about it.
This is can depressing or lead back to the bad habits that got you that loose skin. Again, progress on this front starts in your mind. Realize that those are “battle” scars to remind you where you came from, and remember that you never want to go back.
5. I feel ugly.
There are some good-looking guys out there, we see them every day and they make us self-conscious about how we look. You may have even had people call you ugly. Ignore them and ignore that feeling.
You are handsome, you’re a catch and the right person knows it. Be confident in who you are, and how you look. And remember that we receive messages from a young age to disproportionately value how we look over other realities about who we are.
6. l'll never get better.
As men, it’s often hard to admit how we feel, especially to another person. We feel alone as we struggle with our emotions surrounding our bodies and ourselves. We constantly compare ourselves to other men.
Guys, you can’t keep it all inside. You’ll explode or do something you’ll regret.
Remember, there are many men going through the same things that you are, and if we all could muster up some courage, we could get through these things together, instead of fighting these battles alone. These feelings don’t have to hold you back in life. They can (and will) get better if you do something about your problems.
If you do want to lose weight, realize that the best thing you can do is not trying helplessly to follow a strict diet and exercise. The best thing you can do is to live a healthy lifestyle and form healthy habits. Diets can be broken, but healthy habits are ingrained in you, and become a natural part of your life.