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- Growing Up Bronx
I’ve heard the saying, “Once a fat guy, always a fat guy.” Psychologically that is, and I got to thinking about that, and how it affects me to this day.
For decades I have struggled with body image. I’m not sure exactly where or how this came to be an issue for me. I was bullied and abused as a kid, but never because of weight. In fact, I was relatively thin until about high school.
Even during High School, I wasn’t fat, I actually started to get rather muscular. I still remember one day in the locker room, this kid named Kareem said, “I bet you don’t even have any muscle mass,” then when I took my shirt off, he said, “Oh, you actually do have some nice size to you.” That’s the time when I started to train with weights, but somewhere down the road, I started getting some belly fat, and thus my body image issues began.
Here is what I have discovered over the years of training. You are always “one weekend away from being fat.” What do I mean by that? Well, here are two images, these images were taken only weeks apart. I’ve shown them to people, and they’d say, “Man, you look great,” to the first one, then to the other one they’d say, “You lost it here.” Truth is, I didn’t lose it. These pictures were just a few weeks apart, and illustrate the difference between a few days of water retention and good eating, versus a very strict diet, and very little water retention. Check out the two pictures side by side below.
Now, the angle obviously factors in, but you can see quite a difference in my appearance in those two pictures. And though my time frame may be slightly off, these pictures were taken relatively close in time. In one I’m pretty lean and on my way to even showing obliques, on the other I appear like a dude who may not train as hard.
The point I’m trying to make is that no matter what, you have to keep going. As I continue my journey back towards a higher fitness level, there are days where I feel extremely “fat” and out of shape. My mind tries to trick me into believing that I haven’t accomplished anything, and that I should quit. This is self destructive, sabotaging behavior and it should not be acknowledged!
If back in those days, I could go from that level of lean, to appearing “not so lean,” imagine how it would be these days after a day off, a cheat meal, or drinking a ton of water and supplements! You’ll feel and look bloated, and can easily become discouraged. This post is to tell you not to give up, not to become discouraged. It’s all in your head, and not real! Also note, you are not going to look shredded all year round, (unless you are, eh, assisted) and even when shredded, depending on your body’s chemistry that day, you may appear more bloated than on other days. It’s just the way it is, don’t give up, and keep on going.
I’m fortunate that I have this experience to rely on when I find myself feeling discouraged. I can remember these days and it gives me comfort in knowing that there are just days we will appear “leaner.” That’s just the way it is. This applies to both men and women, but obviously due to certain monthly occurrences, this may happen to women mentally and physically more on certain days.
I entitled this article, “you are one weekend away from being fat,” because that’s all it takes. One weekend of rest, and maybe a juicy burger. This could throw you off mentally, set you on that downward spiral, and if you don’t reign it in, you could end up right where you started. Don’t let the mind games, and the body dysmorphia screw up your progress.
Stay on the path, understand that it’s all in your head, and you need not quit! Keep going! Keep going! Keep going!
Growing Up Bronx