Sunday Confession: I’m A Man and I’m Ashamed of My Body


I’ve been dieting hardcore for the last three weeks.

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I’m surprised that I’ve come this far because my typical pattern goes a little like this:

Get fat -> Get motivated -> Get thin -> Get hungry -> Repeat

So, to be three weeks in and still going strong is significant. I feel better. I feel more confident. I feel more satisfied. Seeing the difference that your efforts are making certainly help as well.

I used to be a very thin individual. When I was a freshman in high school, I was one hundred pounds wet and had zero muscle. Needless to say, my size and athletic ability, or the lack thereof, caused me great distress early on.

When I say distress, I mean that I was picked on mercilessly.

I first started weight lifting during this time, and I couldn’t even lift the bar. As you could imagine, my looks and my inept ability to be “manly” pushed me to “get big.” I suppose being ridiculed and openly mocked by my “friends” helped a little bit too.

I hated not measuring up to what the others looked like or could do. I couldn’t hit the baseball very far. I couldn’t play the outfield without making a fool of myself. I sat the bench the entire season. My friends knew I sucked. I knew I sucked.

I didn’t measure up.

Over the next four years of my high school experience, I took a weight lifting class every semester, and I played any kind of sport that I could. By my junior year, I was 150 pounds and playing football. I could bench press 175 pounds. I wasn’t “ripped,” but at least I wasn’t being picked on anymore.

Once I stopped playing football, I quickly gained 25 more pounds, and I haven’t looked back since.

I wasn’t picked on for my size after that, but that’s because I changed schools. Regardless, it left a deep impact on me.

Now, having graduated college and settled into “real life”, I can say that I’m back in the same place. I’m not being picked on, but it’s no secret that I’m gaining weight quickly.

People notice. I notice. I can’t sit down without feeling uncomfortable. I’ve had to go up a size in clothing. I’m not obese by any means, but I’m not the Vogue magazine cover boy.

That’s what bothers me. I want to be muscular. I don’t want to feel ashamed of who I am. Yet, I am.

What I’m trying to say is that, as a male, I’m ashamed of my body.

It’s not solely limited to women. It may seem like it, but what male wants to admit he’s ashamed of himself? We’re supposed to be tough. We’re supposed to be cool, calm, and confident. Right? Right…?

Forget stereotypes. Here I am, a twenty-four old male, bearing his soul to you.

I have an issue with what my body looks like.

I’m not writing this to you because I want empty praise. I’m writing this to you because I think that this is an issue far too many men, and women, deal with on a daily basis. If bringing hope and peace means sharing an embarrassing fact about myself, so be it.

The garbage glitz and glam that tabloids and Hollywood shove down our throats force us to believe that there’s an ideal to aim for. Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are full of individuals who are ripped, toned, and “successful.” We want to be like them. We want to look like them. We want to be accepted like them.

Pornography, swimsuit editions, movies, entertainment magazines, etc… create a fantasy realm that beckons us to rent the house, pay the mortgage, and live in la la land. It seems that the population is skyrocketing.

Unfortunately, the house doesn’t exist, the mortgage is too high, and la la land is exactly that.

Here’s my reality:

I don’t look like them. I’ll never look like them. It’s hard to measure up to something that isn’t even real.

Let’s be honest: The majority of the images we see are doctored. They’re fake. They represent the false reality that the media wants us to believe. They portray whatever agenda they’re trying to push.

My friends bought into the lie and made sure that I knew I didn’t fit in. They told me that I was too thin and too stalky. Now I hear voices that say I’m too pudgy. I hear some openly mock me for my ever increasing weight.

It hurts. It causes me to feel vulnerable. It pushes me to lose the weight and gain the muscle. But for what, though?

To be widely accepted and ogled after? To have a smoking hot body that’s only going to waste away in the grave one day?

I’m not advocating for an unhealthy lifestyle. I believe that we should take care of our bodies. What I am advocating is for us to stop for a moment and ponder our motivations.

Are we dieting and shedding excessive amounts of weight to gain approval from others? Or are we losing weight to improve our lifestyle?

One of these motivations leads to bondage while the other gives you the freedom to be who you are.

You will never be strong enough, thin enough, muscular enough, or toned enough to merit everyone’s approval. You may get a few whistles, a few pats on the back, but at what cost? What are you and I willing to sacrifice just so someone will accept us for who we are?

At the end of the day, if someone can’t love us for how God created us, the problem isn’t with you or me. The issue is theirs to live with. If all that they’re concerned about is how your body looks, then that speaks to a deeper level of who they are as a human, not you.

As you and I take a look at ourselves in the mirror today, take the time to love the body that God gave you. Be healthy. Eat right. Exercise. I believe that there are two extremes to the equation: the one discussed today and a total apathy towards your physical health. There should be a beautiful balance between the two.

I can’t sit here and tell you that I’m comfortable in my own flesh. It’s imperfect. It’s flawed. I wish I had a six pack. I wish that I was chiseled. Those are things that I’m working towards, but it’s a messy road. I’m trying to resolve to not do it for the applause of others, though. Forget what people think.

I’m learning how to love myself, and others, for who they are; physically and emotionally. It doesn’t come naturally, but I’m willing to put in the work to make it a reality.

So, from one physically flawed individual to another, you are enough. Your value is not based on your looks, but rather your heart. Do what you need to do to be healthy, but realize that the inside is what counts. Also, stop listening to other people so much.

Except me because I obviously know what I’m talking about. 😉

You are so loved.

You are so valued.


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30 Replies to “Sunday Confession: I’m A Man and I’m Ashamed of My Body”

  1. Great article, you hit a lot of key points. Though I can feel a vibe of not striving for your maximum potential in this article. Yes, a lot of what society forces us to think isn’t true and it’s easy to feel the way you do. That shouldn’t stop you from attacking every day the best you can. At the end of the day you are who you are and if you know you gave your best than no need to sweat it. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Greg!

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I appreciate the encouragement. I’ve lost 10lbs at this current point and am still striving for another 10. Motivation is hard to come by, but like you said, sometimes you just have to kick yourself in the pants and do something. Have a great day!

      Like

  2. Hey man! I really like your post! I want to share a section of my recent posts because I think it applies here and you might benefit…

    “Theres something I would like to say, because I’ve been seeing it in my gym experience sometimes. Theres usually that guy, and he’s scrawny or overweight, who grabs a 35 pound dumbbell. one, 35 pound dumbbell. And then he goes and sits in the corner, and with some half assed form, he does bicep curls. His form is horrible, and I think he confused isolation lifts with lifting in the corner alone. But I feel way more empathy for this guy.

    Because theres that guy that rolls around in his bodybuilder shirt, and he yells and screams and throws shit and looks at me like he’s really, really hungry. Or that guy who gives unsolicited advice. Or that guy that I find in the mens bathroom, standing in front of the mirror flexing his muscles and smiling for longer than anyone would ever admit. I think they deserve the participation points, but the funny thing is that all these people share a lot more in common than they think.

    They’re all insecure about their bodies. They’re all not really that attractive. They’re all making the gym experience more uncomfortable for everyone involved. They all missed the point. They’re doing it wrong. Think about it: If you’re really honest to god confident and accepting of your body, why do you have to advertise it to everyone and prove it to yourself everyday? Theres nothing wrong with their bodies, theres just something wrong with their mindsets. And while a little bit of insecurity surrounding your physique or checking yourself out for a second is completely normal, remaining in either extreme worlds that neighbor reality isn’t, and its unhealthy. So stop doing it.

    But how can I blame them? After all, its how physical fitness is marketed to them 24/7. The ripped athletes. The unbelievably sexy women. The labs. The top of the line equipment. The stacked supplements you “need”. And worst of all, the egos. They’re just trying to sell you a product using your insecurity against you and should be seen as just that.”

    -7 sexy gym memberships you should have but (probably) don’t

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bro, this is so spot on! I’m glad you took the time to share that. I find myself locked in two different cycles, and it all stems from insecurity. At this point, I’ve decided to lose weight for myself only because I hate feeling the way I do. So far I’m down 10lbs and feel much better. It’s a tough line to balance, but like you said, at some point you have to stop being insecure. Thanks for stopping by man. I’ll be following your blog!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We all battle it man. I think coming back to the activity itself and remembering to enjoy it is the best way to bring down the intensity of any anxiety. Just admit it’s there and carry on. More on this soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Matthew,
    It is sad to read that you are ashamed of your body. It is a painful place to be in, thank you for writing about it.

    As you said it is hard, we are barraged by images of guys with amazing bodies. What we don’t see is the squad of professionals on the photo shoot finessing every detail, maximizing angles and light. We weren’t there when the model trained for months, then dropped his calorie intake to extreme lows. And if that isn’t enough, any remaining “flaws” are erased or minimized in photoshop.

    It so easy to let their shining moments stand as our role models, but not very realistic. Let them be inspirations. It may be kinder to set goals by looking at men with your body type. What have they been able to achieve?

    I struggled with my body for years. I can honestly say I am now having fun modifying my composition. Last summer, while eating better then ever in my life, I took myself down to 142. I am now working on building some size and am up to 164. I am not obsessed, just engaged in the process. I couldn’t have done this 30 years ago in a healthy way. I’m doing this not because I am inadequate, but because I am capable. (That capacity is a recent revelation, but I think I will be reveling it it the rest of my life!)

    I am not religious like yourself, but I do believe pursuing fitness, strength and health is a wonderful way to celebrate the gift of life. I want to honor my creation with the best body and mind I can build.

    I hope you can find a peace with yourself.

    Brian

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Brian! So good to hear from you. You’re definitely right in all aspects. I’ve begun eating and drinking healthier and have almost shed 10 pounds. I feel more confident and it’s making me want to continue!
      Capability is a great reason to shed. I get caught in doing it for other people and honoring my body. It’s a tough line to balance but we will get there. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am sorry that you feel this way, but you are right we all have flaws. Whether those be inside or out. I understand the weight loss yo-yo I have been there myself. I would prefer to be flawed on the outside though instead of within….if that makes any sense at all

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I can say honestly in the same situation! I would try to assert my intelligence as a superior attribute but then get even more depressed falling from “perfection”, according to some people the only way to get over this is to “embrace who you are” and that usually means giving into the desires and live an immoral or questionable lifestyle or ” know your identity in Christ” I found both ideologies practically useless because they are vague statement with no direct plan for action thus putting me back to square one.

    Square One: “I’m useless, I hate my existence. I wish I’m dead.”

    All I can say is choose friends carefully that you can be yourself around then just be yourself (whoever that may be [but within reason of course]). Do what you love…have fun…the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands, because this is for all humanity.

    Liked by 2 people

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