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I used to be fat.

In my opinion I weighed somewhere between thick and heavy. My max weight of 210 lbs on a five foot five inch frame indicated my body mass index was 34.9.

The BMI stated I was obese. I was five points above overweight.

Fat John with donkey

But this isn’t a story about my losing all that excess weight. It’s not about the catalytic moments that led to me to realize I needed to, either. Those tales have already been told.

This is a different story entirely. . .

This one’s about self-image and my mental health. It encompasses inner and outer reflection.

This story’s about what I see when I look in the mirror.

fat faced

Today I’m in good shape. I work out several times per week and I go hard whenever I do.

My diet has improved vastly from those overweight years. Organic, non-GMO, and natural are now standards in my nutritional intake. Rarely does any of my caloric consumption come from sugary drinks or truly junky food.

But I’d be lying if I said I am well-behaved around food all the time. Too often my sweet tooth grabs the steering wheel from my willpower and self-control. When this happens all bets are off. I have been known to ingest multiple pieces of cake and pie, or large hand-fulls of candy and the like.

sweet spread

Despite these more-often-than-occasional setbacks, I treat my body well in terms of caloric nourishment.

I have no desire to go back to being out of shape ever again. And I know the battle is won at the dessert table, and in the grocery store, and in the kitchen.

I’m all too aware that a few bad days of eating can result in a five pound swing on the scale. That extra weight is so much more difficult to sweat and starve off than it is to make the choice to be bad and binge on crappy food.

In the end, it becomes a question of what I truly want, and what I derive more value in.

Will these fleeting sensations of flavor now be worth the negative feelings and stress I will inevitably feel later?

3 chins

People comment on my physique fairly regularly. They tell me I’m fit and, every once in awhile, skinny. It’s crazy, coming from where I once was. It’s a wonderful feeling when others tell me I look good.

I try to celebrate these successes, but they’re always fleeting.

Whenever I look in the mirror I still see the same fat person I used to be. My eyes glance over the defined muscles and more lean parts, and settle on my love handles and the pouch of flesh at the bottom of my stomach.

My BMI still sits high on the table at 28.3.

Thank you, doctors and insurance companies, for perpetuating these feelings by continuing to externally define me as overweight.

body mass index

Regardless of the intensity of my workouts, the runs of days that I eat well, the numbers on the scale, or what I see when I look at myself, I seem to be incapable of fixing my self-image. I still see the fat man from my past.

It’s like that obese person is still trapped inside of me.

I want to let him go and free him. I want to free me of the negative conceptions I have of myself.

It makes me wonder if all the other formerly fat people feel the same as I do? Do all skinny people see these same imperfections?

skinny self-photo

I know I’m not fat, but inside I don’t feel skinny either. Is it possible I will ever see myself as something other than husky and hefty?

It shouldn’t matter if there’s a little extra cushion for the pushing, or if my weight fluctuates a bit every now and again. They do say, dad-bods are in right now.

I’ll just have to keep vigilant and keep on keeping it off.

I enjoy eating and could never deprive myself of nourishment. Luckily, I also love kicking ass in the gym, on the field, and on the martial arts floor as.

Maybe there’s no harm in a little self-reflective fat shaming every now and again.

It is possible I’ll never become anything more than this fat person trapped in a slim body.

Perhaps one day I’ll become okay with that.

hanging loose

Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk.
Nobody ever puts up with my crazy like you do!


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