When I started this athletic en devour two years ago (It is my blog anniversary today!!) I was in bad shape. I had been previously diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and I weighed over 320 pounds with a size 54-56 inch waist. Walking left me out of breath and I suffered from performing any physical activity. I was an unmotivated couch potato who was terrible at setting and achieving goals and suffered from long term indifference when it came to my health. Back then my primary concern involved my recorded television shows and watching movies and playing video games.
The past two years of athletics has transformed my body and my outlook on life. In the early days I often focused on weight loss for the sake of loosing weight as my motivator. Thankfully that transformed into a more positive goal of being a better athlete with improved athletic performance., weight is an issue but not the focus of why I train and diet. Of course I have touched on these transformations too many times to count over the last couple of years and I am fearful of seeming to be bragging in my achievements. But honestly, I just want to share some of my discoveries as I realize new physical and mental developments brought on by my complete life make over.
I know that I no longer weigh 320 plus pounds and I no longer wear a size 54 pant, but I fight with myself continuously about the mental body image I formed of myself back from the time when I did. For me this mental body image is an ongoing issue that I have to fight with all the time. I know my size 46 inch elastic waist pants grow looser every month and my wrists’ and legs’ shapes have morphed and changed. As I step on the scale every so often seeing the scale stay at 290 has pushed doubts into my mind regarding my overall progress.
For the last year the weight has not budged but my lower arms have grown increasingly angular and my legs have developed individual noticeable quadriceps with increasing size and definition. My body has changed while my weight stayed the same. In January I compared measurements and found my legs had grown two inches, arms half an inch or so and my waist had reduced from 50 inches to 48. I had proof of redistribution happening. I knew that I now could run half marathons with ease and that my running, biking and swimming were stronger than I could have ever imagined. I knew I now could completed athletic tasks I never dreamed possible. And yet the negative body image I had for most of my life still managed to weigh on me. … did any of this really mean I had made physical progress? I was the same weight and while there was proof of changes I still could not shake the old image that haunted my psyche.
I finally pushed this image out of my head when I went shopping for pants this last weekend. Last year when I went shopping I found a 48 inch waist was too big and 46 was too small, settling on a 46 with elastic solved this problem. After a year I needed new trousers and so I tried on some 46 inch pants expecting them to fit where they did not a year before. To my surprise they were too loose while the 44 inch pants almost fit perfectly. I opted for an elastic 44 inch waist so I had some room for days when I needed the bit of extra space. The important thing to realize here is that in a year I had almost broken out of the big size pants and into the normal sizes. Even more important was the mental boost this provided, I had gone from 54 inch waist pants two years ago to a size 44 inch pants while staying the same weight!
I know I have to fight my mental body image demons, probably the rest of my life. I know my body is not perfect, there is still a big flabby belly. I also know though that albeit slowly, my body is changing and I am doing the work that I need to see long term changes. I also know because I undertook this transformation of every aspect of my life I will progress and continue to see changes and I will continue to get better as an athlete and hopefully in time I will be able to repair the broken mental image. Til next time.