This is very likely the ONLY time you will ever see me publicly post a shirtless picture of myself. I’m very modest about things like this. I only did it because of this being about weight loss and when it comes to men, it seems the way it’s displayed is through shirtless pictures. I don’t have a “before” picture, because again, I wasn’t planning on actually posting this, nor did I know how much weight I would lose.
I came out here to Afghanistan in February and a day or two before leaving home, I weighed myself to find that I was at 215. I leave here in about two weeks and after weighing myself this morning, I’m at 187. (The pic you see here was taken last week and I weighed about the same then.) Even though I’m very proud of myself and how hard I worked to get here, I get a very similar reaction each time someone finds out. Now, I don’t run around with my shirt off here; they find out because they’d ask. We’ll be talking about whatever and the topic comes up. When I mention the weight loss, the first thing they say is, “Wow! But you didn’t need to lose any weight before!”
First off, when I mention how hard I worked to get here, that is NO exaggeration, even though society never seems to think so. I’m in the gym six days a week (alternating between upper body lifting and running on the treadmill) PLUS I watch what I eat. Again, in mentioning society, many seem to think that to “watch what I eat” = “starving myself.” I’m not here to justify that foolish, overused stereotype.
Society (especially many of the ladies) also thinks that, because I’m a man, the weight came off REALLY easily. Here’s the only thing with that…I’m 35 years old now. If “being a man” was the primary reason for how all this was able to happen, was I not a man when I came out here? I didn’t just become a man in the last eight months. Also, if it’s all because of “being a man,” how did I get to 215 in the first place? However, let’s not play stupid here. That belief is simply because hard work eludes most people and for those who actually DO work hard, folks don’t believe it happens just because it’s not something THEY would do. It doesn’t help that obesity is such a problem in America, but then, that plays a part as well. That seems to be an expectation to a lot of people.
While I understand that it could be taken as a compliment that people say I didn’t need to lose weight before, here’s my question. If I didn’t need to lose weight then, when exactly would YOU say I needed to start losing? How much would I have to weigh? 300? 400? Give me a number here. 215 is obviously not enough to you.
I know the answer to that one also. The time I would “need to lose weight,” at least according to society’s standards, would be when I’m at the weight in which they would make fun of me and put me down as they would so maturely do with others who are overweight or obese.
This is the difference between me and a lot of other people. Number one, I don’t follow society’s standards. They’re pretty low to begin with, but they’re often based on stereotypes and I don’t play that. Two, when I see in myself that a change needs to be made, I work on making that change RIGHT AWAY. I don’t put it off until later. Unless you all know something I don’t, I’m not exactly promised “later.”
Weight loss is a BIG thing when it gets closer to the new year. Now I don’t judge anyone who chooses to wait until January 1st before they work on losing the weight they feel they need to lose. Even though many of us have seen firsthand that people don’t often stick with it, every once in a blue moon it does happen for some people. It’s just not how I do business. That’s what I was supposed to do here. I was supposed to do the whole “New year, new me” thing and wait until the first of January before I started this. Again, unless you all know something I don’t know, is January 1st GUARANTEED to any of us?
When you see someone my size talking about losing weight, many people would roll their eyes in disgust. I don’t know why, but apparently, only those who weigh three and four hundred pounds are allowed to want to lose weight. Again, a result of the low standards of society. A person my size should NEVER want to lose weight because after all, THEY say “I don’t need to.”
News flash, society: I DIDN’T ASK YOU.
This is what’s so sad to me. Why do we feel that we have to be so far gone in one direction before change needs to be made? That is the reason people feel I don’t need to lose weight and shouldn’t be doing so. But why not?
Right, I remember…because society doesn’t see this as a problem, I shouldn’t, either. Well, this is how small problems become BIG problems. If I know that I’m putting on some weight and not exercising, at least the way I should, along with not eating as well as I should be (without necessarily eating like a pig), then action needs to be taken NOW. Not when society says so. This isn’t “Mother, May I?”
Now some would complain that it’s wrong for me to talk about losing weight being this size when there are those overweight and obese folks who struggle to lose weight who are out there as well. I hate to sound rude about this, but I have nothing to do with them. While it’s true that there are people who try, the bottom line is that there are people who simply do not. They complain about being overweight, but they are not doing ANYTHING about it but going further in that direction. I don’t have sympathy for those people, nor do I owe them anything. I damn sure will not keep my mouth shut in favor of people like that. Now, if you have medical problems preventing you from losing weight, I’m obviously not talking about you. There are a LOT of you out there as well. This is NOT a simple case of shaming those who have a few extra pounds. I AM saying that if you are there by choice, don’t expect sympathy from me or for me to keep my mouth shut. Again, the bottom line is that MANY people out there ARE there BY CHOICE, whether they want to admit it or not. If that’s what you’re comfortable with, then that’s fine. But when you start trying to call yourself putting me down because I’m not there…that’s not the wisest thing for you to do. I promise, your feelings will be hurt long before mine are.
Again, I want to emphasize that I am NOT simply putting down anyone who is overweight. If you are comfortable with that, it’s not a big deal to me. I’m not in charge of your body. I know that overweight doesn’t always mean “unhealthy.” It’s only when you decide to open your mouth and talk about me. THAT’S when I have the problem, especially when you’re a lazy person who isn’t doing anything and you’re calling yourself putting me down because I am, or using idiotic stereotypes to assume how I’m making this happen. Not the smartest idea.
I’ll finish this by saying that I appreciate the compliments about how I look after losing this weight. I honestly do. I even appreciate that people feel I didn’t need to lose the weight before. However, what many folks fail to understand is that this was NOT as easy as they seem to think. For those who grew up with me, they remember how I used to look. I had to gain weight in order to be skin and bones. I looked straight up SICK. I pigged out just about every meal and couldn’t gain weight to save my life. I was VERY active, but putting on weight was still nearly impossible.
However, that is NOT NEARLY the case anymore. Being in my mid-30s, I don’t need to say that the metabolism slows down. I think we all know that already and it shows in a lot of people. It has definitely slowed down in me. At one time, it took SERIOUS effort for me to get UP TO this weight of 187. Now I’m there after losing nearly 30 pounds. When the metabolism slows down, let me tell you…you feel it. Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.
When it comes to eating, I used the Atkins Diet and that was a BIG help. I’m not going to get into all of it and give a “class” on it or anything, but one way it has tremendously helped me is that it has shown me that I used to take in A LOT of carbs every day. A LOT. That’s mostly what I got out of it. If any of you would like to talk more about that, I’m more than happy to tell you more. As for me, it basically made me more aware. It’s not the traditional diet of just “don’t eat, don’t eat, don’t eat” as many people feel and how other diets likely sound to them. It’s just a low-carb diet. Again, I’ll save it for now, but if you’d like to learn more and want to ask, feel free.
On top of all this, I’ve been married for more than 15 years and I still want to impress my wife. Nothing wrong with that, right?