My Struggle With Self-Image (Despite Weight Loss) and How I'm Fighting Through It
I'm starting with the man in the mirror, I'm asking him to change his ways.
I've spent much of my adult life feeling uncomfortable in my own skin and avoiding looking at myself in the mirror.
This habitual self-loathing is hard to shake even when you change your skin. Changing this behavior is one that I struggle with despite my weight loss.
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Sometimes what happens is that you stake your entire self-esteem on your appearance and when the person in the mirror isn't up to par, you mistakenly believe that changing your exterior will remedy your interior; I've found this to not be true.
I've gained and lost tremendous amounts of weight multiple times in my life, which means I've had multiple times where I've disappointed myself and confirmed the negative thoughts in my head.
About a decade ago, I lost about 70 pounds in 10 months and was able to keep it off for a couple of years. I felt physically better but once the stress of a tumultuous relationship entered my life, I lost control and emotionally ate my sorrows away.
In about a handful of months, I nearly ballooned back to my old size and it deflated my self-esteem & belief in myself, which severely impacted my already shaky relationship. There is no bigger defeat than no longer fitting your old clothes and succumbing to buying a bigger size.
I remember looking at myself in the mirror and not recognizing the person who was staring back at me. I purposely avoided the mirror because it reflected failure and it also was the start of my hatred for taking photos: I mean, who wants a photo reminder of disappointment?
With becoming a more public person (with the support of my wife) I've had to grow more conscious of my image and quit avoiding the uncomfortable. It's hard to hide what everyone can see but you can only change when you're ready: I was ready.
Losing weight is a mental challenge because you're focused on changing your habits and recognizing what triggers your negative behavior. However, what makes this time different is that I'm trying not to have my self-esteem purely revolve around my appearance like in the past.
Much like years ago when I had social anxiety, I overcame it by solo traveling in foreign nations; I'm attempting to overcome my negative avoidant behavior by diving into the areas that would usually make me uncomfortable.
I'm now making video content and during the editing process, I'm looking at myself and becoming more comfortable with myself. I look at myself in the mirror and avoid cycling through negative thoughts in my head like in the past.
I write about my self-image hurdles to acknowledge that I still have work to do, not to dwell on what's wrong with me. I chase after the uncomfortable feelings rather than pretend they don't exist because you can't change what you don't acknowledge.
It is hard to not see yourself as a disgusting fat guy when you've spent years telling yourself you're one and living like one. However, through repetition, I'm trying to deprogram my faulty view of myself but it's a daily grind of accepting these internal alterations.
I'm now interpreting my outward appearance as being a representation of my health, removing it as being tied to my self-worth. I'm now in the gym 5 days a week because I want my health to improve and desire to feel even better than the day before.
But I am worthy of love, respect, and friendships because of the weight of my character, not my scale.
"I'm starting with the man in the mirror, I'm asking him to change his ways."