As someone who has altered his eating habits and added regular exercise to his daily routine, I decided to broach a subject that I find important on many levels. Self-image. First let me start by saying that I understand how much more complicated it is for women. At least let me say I understand it as well as I may be capable of as a man. Motivated by the article written by Taryn Brumfitt in the Huffington Post, I wanted to share my perspective not only as a man, but as a man who lost significant weight and subsequently changed his appearance in the last 11 months.
It starts off with one very basic and simple premise. Your self-image is something that should never be dictated to you or controlled by someone else. When that takes place, the source of the problem is likely not weight or even physical appearance, but a person’s basic sense of self-worth and self-confidence. It is true that everyone likes to be flattered on their appearance, and when one does attempt to lose weight they like their hard work to be acknowledged, but that is not the true measure of the man or woman.
So far what I have written is of course somewhat cliché, but that by no means changes the fact or diminishes its substance. Where I will possibly differ is in sharing my personal perspective based on the lifestyle change I made just under a year ago and how it has impacted my perception of others. I now live a life where at least 95% of the time I eat foods I have identified as healthy, based on reading and the suggestions of others, and I go to the gym 4-5 times a week. As of today I have lost 37 pounds, as my weight has dropped from 206 to 169 pounds. I weigh less than I have in over 30 years and may very well be in the best shape of my life. Does this make me better than anyone else? In my eyes I am only better than one person, and that is me 11 months ago. But why is it that I feel I am better? Because I have made taking care of my health a priority, I feel better than I did, I put better food into my body, and although no one knows what will happen in life, I have done what I feel I can do to increase my chances of a longer and healthier life. Be that as it may, despite the fact that I will not call unhealthy habits healthy ones in order to appease anyone, I don’t force my lifestyle choice on anyone else. And here is the reason why.
No one can or should tell anyone why they should love anyone, especially oneself. Freedom of choice is a God given freedom and just because the choice I made 11 months ago makes me happier and makes me feel better about who I am, what right do I or anyone else have to say another person needs to make that choice to be happy? Who am I or anyone else to decide how someone else needs to live, or look, in order to be happy? I have only one person I need to be concerned with, and that is me. My one statement towards others would be this. Understand that there are two legitimate and positive choices. Either love the person that you are or change it? If you love who you are then no one has the right to decide if you look attractive or whether or not you treat your body correctly. Loved ones can care about your physical well-being, but if their intentions are genuine it will never be about appearance, merely health, and unless there is a specific issue present, no one ever knows for sure what will happen regardless of one’s habits and weight.
So for those who feel the need to put someone else down because their body may not be the shape they feel is the correct one, I say this. Look to yourself and worry about yourself only. Because if you have the need to put someone else down to pick yourself up or increase your own self-worth it is you who is the lesser person, not the one you call fat.