It's been awhile since I've blogged and that's on me, but this isn't a post about the various reasons why I've been remiss in my blogging but rather a post about a subject that I-and others-are struggling with every day. That subject is what we perceive, as a society, as attractive. Take a moment here to prepare yourself for the rant to come. Ready? You sure? All right, let's go.
Over the past 10 weeks or so I've been attempting to get my Body Fat percentage down to 14%. Why? Simply because at 14% is where the majority of people see the gut, usually the last place to lose fat, disappear. I want my gut to disappear and be banished forever. I hate my gut. It, to me, is the last remnant of my former overweight nearly 300 pounds lifestyle. I want it gone. I want it destroyed. I want it, in the simplest of terms, to be dead. Not comic book dead (where anyone can come back to life) but super, real life, dead.
It's a personal issue to me and one that I've focused a lot on over the past 10 weeks. Why is this so personal? Simply put, I don't consider myself attractive. Yes, I can see you rolling your eyes and thinking "OMG, this is such a girl subject" but folks, it's not simply limited to one gender or the other. This affects everyone from little kids to the oldest of adults.
It affects me, I'll own up to that (as much as I really don't want to) but it's the truth. I don't consider myself attractive and it's because...well, I never have been as far as I can recall (not counting the cute kid stage). I'm on of those people that after 9 or so, things just fell off a cliff. Bad health choices, bad food, lack of exercise and lack of motivation landed me in the 270s as of this time last year. My self image was not good. I was in a constant state of denial.
And I'm pretty sure, to some extent, I still am. On one hand I can look in the mirror and be happy with myself and the progress made (120 pounds down as of today in 10 months time from 266 pounds). On the other hand I see things I don't like about myself that have always been there-mainly, the gut. I can't for the life of me seem to make it go away even after 10 weeks of trying. I'm not giving up by any means but I am saying that's it's discouraging to say the least.
You know what doesn't help? All those commercials and ads out there that show those awesomely studly six pack flashing guys hawking workout equipment, beach stuff, shampoo, and what have you. It's not reality. It's not like these people are everywhere, every day, out on the street common place as a penny on the road. These guys are not that common place.
They're around, sure, but for the most part American men don't fall into the studly six pack flashing guy category. I know this. The rational side of me acknowledges and accepts this fact. That should be enough except the irrational side of me does not accept this fact.
The irrational side of me continual feeds my self-doubt with one word; competition. "Look at the competition," it says to me when I see those six pack flashing dudes, "look at them and know you don't match up. You can't match up, not in your current state...you have to do more. You have to be more."
And so I come away with the idea that I can't match up because my irrational side is clever. It uses all those years of me being unhealthy and overweight against me; it overpowers my logic with emotion and leaves me discouraged at the very least.
You know what? It ain't just me feeling this way either. A lot of people of late have been bringing up the ever increasing issue of self-image difficulties. They're unhappy with it due to various reasons like their spouses or boyfriend/girlfriend getting caught taking a quick peek at a supposedly more attractive thing nearby. Some even feel as though they really just outright failed themselves with how badly things have gotten when, in reality, it really isn't that bad.
According to a few people I know I should have "no problem" getting a date or otherwise enjoying the fine company of a girl. I scoff at this notion because I know me-I have a warped self-image of myself. The negatives outweigh the positives and that's simply because the negatives have well over a decade's worth of material over the relatively new positive physical aspects of myself.
That's just plain irritating and, again, discouraging. I place a lot of emphasis on the gut...on how unattractive and detrimental it is to my overall appeal. In truth, it's more likely that the gut has some impact, but not nearly the amount I place on it to my overall appeal. The warped self-image and lack of confidence probably has more to do with lowering my overall appeal than anything else. Rationally, I get this.
Irrationally, I focus all my hatred on the gut. It's a strange and funky dichotomy but one that isn't uncommon to me.
Why isn't it uncommon? Because society, America in general, has a warped idea of what is attractive. Look at the commercials on TV, the ads in the paper, on the internet, and the posters for the various movies out this summer. What does it all have in common? There's at least one dude and one gal on there that match society's idea of attractive. The girl with the shapely, trim body and the guy with the good jaw and chiseled six-pack.
Is it any wonder people just let themselves go? Body image is majorly important to our psyche. If we feel good about our body than we feel better about ourselves, leading to more self-confidence and more motivation. If we don't than the opposite happens, we feel worse about ourselves as our self-confidence and motivation erodes into nothingness.
One of the main contributing factors to Americas obesity epidemic is the warped body image our society promotes. It isn't as normal or common place as you'd like to believe in most parts of the country (not counting you California or parts of Florida). You think people in Alaska are rolling with six pack abs? No. They're more likely to go out of the house with a six pack of beer than abs. So many people aim for this warped standard, for these amazing bodies,
and a lot don't get there. They feel like they failed and then they
decide to not care anymore. "Hello obesity epidemic, come right in,"
they say and that's sad.
We promote these warped body images, telling girls you have to be trim and look great in a bikini to hook a decent fella when it's not true. We tell guys you got to be rolling with those six-pack abs and great tan to hook a decent girl when, again, it's not true. It doesn't work like that.
I'm not saying physical attraction doesn't play a role, it does but not nearly at the level that our society says it does. Just because you looked like a Olympian God at 20 doesn't mean you will at 40-it's likely you won't. Physical attraction is the beginning of any relationship between people; it's the bait, the hook, the "oh that look's interesting" shiny thing in Walmart that you know you don't need but you're curious about anyway.
Our society in promoting these warped self images would like you to believe that the physical attraction is what makes or breaks a relationship-if you let yourself get ugly than you're gonna be alone, miserable, and unfulfilled the rest of your life. It doesn't work like that.
Yet, we believe this the truth. Many of us do and to some extent, so do I. I wouldn't be trying to lose the gut if I didn't think it would help with the ladies, that's a fact. I know, rationally, that my perception on this is warped beyond reason but the thing is so is everyone's. It's a great lie that many in our society believe...and I don't see it ending anytime soon.
Being attractive to a person in a physical sense is important, yes, but more important is being attractive to them in other ways-with your character, your personality, your understanding, your skills, ect. Those other ways are going to last far long than any physical attractiveness you have and they'll carry you far longer than those physical things.
Problem is, most of us are just to asinine too see that and be comfortable in our own skins. We get suckered into believing society's idea of attractive and we strive for it, desperately, and many will never reach it. I will never have a six-pack of abs, a chiseled jaw, a full body tan, and a pair of gleaming white teeth. All I want is the gut gone.
And that's probably pretty asinine too.
Thanks for reading, have a good day folks.