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Acknowledging My Vulnerability: Insecurity
An issue some men struggle with but are unable to discuss
I believe there is power in acknowledging your vulnerabilities and discussing your flaws, as it's the first step to transforming them into pains of the past.
So I'll start: I, like many men, have struggled with insecurity surrounding my body image for years.
Throughout my entire childhood, my weight was never an issue and I was always active, so despite my lack of food discipline, it never became a problem for me. It wasn't until I started working full-time that my body image started to transform.
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For the first time, I was earning my own money, and the environment I worked in involved ordering food to be delivered, in which I happily participated. Slowly my thin frame started to disappear and in a matter of a few years, I couldn't recognize the person I had become.
This body transformation began the rollercoaster that has been my weight and body image throughout my entire adult life. I would actively avoid looking at myself in the mirror or taking pictures because I hated how I looked.
If I did catch a glimpse of myself, I would feel shame over what I had become and it would affect my confidence to change it, making the issue spiral more out of control.
At my heaviest, I would avoid the scale because I was deathly afraid of knowing for certainty how much I destroyed myself. If I was to guess, my weight was probably in the ballpark of 280 to 300 pounds.
This period coincided with the most depressing time of my life as I was emotionally eating to help cope with life but it wasn't helping. I had to maintain ignorance of my size and be in denial about what I was becoming to mentally survive daily.
There were moments when I did lose weight, once in particular when I lost over 80 pounds in 10 months and kept it off for a couple of years. However, what surprised me was that the insecurity about my body remained even though I had become my ideal weight.
I didn't understand that I needed to heal my mental wounds and because of this, I didn't truly appreciate my accomplishment. In my head, I was still fat and had a similarly undesirable body. However, I did appreciate it when I relapsed years later but it was too late by then.
I don't believe my story is unique at all but I think a lot of men have a hard time grappling with their insecurities. For one, we're told to not complain about something if we don't have a solution attached to it because nobody likes a man who whines about his problems.
But what if you don't know the solution? How do you fix something you can't discuss?
I think there are a lot of men who are insecure about themselves & lack consistent access to a male figure who can instill wisdom to help them overcome their struggles or prevent them entirely.
As a father, I understand my impact on my son as he's about to become an adult & preparing his habits for the rest of his life. If I saw my son go through what I was in my early years, I'd immediately address the issue with him & work with him to change it so he doesn't spiral.
When he started earning his own money, I began talking to him about his eating habits and his health because I know what it was like to finally have economic freedom.
Despite his working in a fast food environment, he didn't make that food part of his regular diet because of our conversations.
He just got his driver's license and one of the first things he did was get a gym membership to stay in shape.
I not only wanted to stop the cycle of fatherlessness with my son but I wanted to stop the cycle of slovenly behavior by passing on the wisdom that I've gained the hard way.
I'm now trying to live by example as well as I'm down 36 pounds. I will overcome this mental obstacle.