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I always feel FAT!
Why is it that I always feel like the fat kid, even though I have lost weight and I am in great physical shape?
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel like I'm overweight. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see the guy who has lost over a hundred pounds. I see a person who could lose another 30, 40, maybe 50 pounds. Once you've been in competition shape—having your body fat around 3%—and put yourself on stage, you will always want to be that person, especially if you have had body image issues in the past. Unfortunately, maintaining those goals is incredibly difficult. A very small percentage of people look like that year round.
We tend to associate the body image issue with young woman who develop eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. Overeating is also an eating disorder.
For those of us who are addicted to food, body image is one of the biggest issues with which we must cope. The numbers of adults with eating disorders and body image issues is growing and becoming a problem.
I admit that I have a huge body image issue. I was just complemented the other day; someone told me that I look like I have gotten bigger. They were talking about how I've put some size on in my chest and shoulders, but of course I took it as "I am getting fat." When I gain 5-10 pounds, maybe even 15, over a two week period of time, you may not see it on me, but I know it. I feel it. I see it. It makes me feel so disgusting. WHY? Why do I let myself feel like this? I know that at the age of 53, I should be over issues like this. What do I have to prove? I have a woman who loves me no matter what. My children are inspired by me—they both exercise and are in good shape. And obviously, they love me regardless of my weight.
So why does it matter if I gain 10 pounds? It matters to me because I never want to go back to where I was. Even though I hit the gym twice a day and eat a well-balanced diet, I worry about slipping backward and becoming the 300 pound man once again.
I know I am not the only one who has these issues. For those of us who have gained and lost weight, we fight this battle on a daily basis. Some who lose an extreme amount of weight may have extra skin that they are forced to live with every day for rest of their lives, unless they have a very costly surgery. This can cause a huge mental challenge for them; when they look in the mirror, they are hit in the face with rolls of skin that they can do nothing about. For these people, it can be tempting to gain the weight back so it all fills in. That may be the way they see themselves anyway.
So how do we fight these demons?
Remember, it's about living a healthy lifestyle. Part of living a healthy lifestyle is staying active, eating a proper diet of well-balanced, healthy foods, getting enough sleep and exercising. It shouldn't be all about our physical appearance. Being healthy is what we need to focus on, not just how we look. We need to focus on building up our self-esteem and having confidence. We need to carry ourselves in a manner that exudes our self-confidence to let others and even ourselves see that we are feeling good and that we are proud for taking care of our bodies.
I know that this is a constant internal battle that I may never fully beat. But I do know that as of right now I am winning the battle of overeating and being overweight by going to the gym, exercising and leading an active life. I will continue to stay in control of my addiction and not let it consume me ever again even if I don't always feel like I am looking my best. I will continue to fight.
Stop hating your body. Love yourself! Feel good about where you are at in life. And if things need to change in order for you to be love your body and be happy, you're the only one who can make those changes.
Stay strong, stay focused and NEVER GIVE UP!