For most of my teenage years and even into my early 20’s, I lived with the mindset that being skinny was everything. I always thought that in order to look good and to have a “great body,” or one in which I could be proud of, then I had to be skinny. I wanted to be able to look down and see my abs, see the striations on my chest, and for the love of God, I never again wanted to see that double chin that I used to have.
Being skinny was all I thought about. As most of us know, it used to be “the cool thing.” The world celebrated those who were skinny despite not necessarily being healthy.
All I wanted was to be considered one of the cool kids. I used to tell myself that I would only be happy once I was skinny, or that I would finally muster up the strength to talk to ask a girl out once I could see my abs. My self-esteem was so low that I was willing to do anything to change it – even if that meant starving myself.
I know how foolish that may sound, but that was my mindset for so long. It’s what motivated me to lose weight and to change my lifestyle. But at the time, little did I know that this mindset would end up consuming me. I was replacing one lifestyle with another, but my mindset and how I felt about myself stayed the same.
Because I wanted to lose weight and get as skinny as possible in the shortest amount of time as possible, I ended up developing an unhealthy eating habit. Admittingly, this eating habit is one that has stuck with me for years. It’s something that I want to overcome, but I have yet to find the strength to fully do so.
It’s crazy how much the thought of food can consume our thoughts. Something that is a necessity has not only consumed the majority of my thoughts for years, but it’s also something that causes a lot of fear and anxiety in my life. It’s hard for me to go to a restaurant and not be conscious of what I am eating or eating a piece of cake without fearing that it’s all going to go straight to my ass.
While most guys that I know are worried about building muscle, the mindset that I developed years ago of wanting to be as skinny as possible is one that has stuck with me. I’d plan what I would eat days in advance, and if my family or friends would go out to eat at a place that didn’t have their nutrition information listed, there were times where I would just not go.
Being Strong Is The New Skinny
Over the last few years, society has shifted and changed its beliefs. No longer is it the “cool thing” to be as skinny as possible. Now, being strong is the new skinny, and for good reason.
Being strong means that we are moving our bodies, that we are challenging them to grow as they are meant to do, and that we are living a healthy lifestyle.
One thing that being strong doesn’t entail, however, is starving ourselves and depriving ourselves of necessities such as food.
For me, being and feeling strong is something that I have wanted for myself for such a long time. I would love to be able to eat foods without having to worry about the number of calories that each food consumes, to be able to workout without having to feel like I have to keep my heart rate elevated for a certain amount of time, or to be able to puff out my chest in confidence, but it’s difficult.
As amazing as it is that society has embraced the belief that being strong is the new skinny and that it’s healthier to be strong as opposed to being skinny, it’s something that I still find myself struggling with. For 10 years of my life, I have lived with the mindset that being skinny is everything. It’s difficult to change something that I have focused on for a good chunk of time.
We All Start Somewhere
The reason why I have found myself struggling for so long is because of the fact that I don’t really know any differently. I know that being strong is the new skinny and that I would love to be stronger instead of being skinny, but I feel as if I am floating in unchartered waters having lived my life in the “skinnier is better” mindset for the last 10 years.
How do I change the way I see food? What would it take for me to build muscle and overcome my fear of gaining weight? At what point will I find a good balance of being both fit and strong?
These are the questions that flow through my mind whenever I think about wanting to gain weight.
One thing that I have failed to realize is that everything in life requires balance. I have been so focused on how I want to look and have allowed my fears to stand in the way of that image, that I have forgotten that everything in life is a process. I haven’t even given myself the opportunity to find out what it would actually feel like to gain weight because I have allowed my fears to stop me, which is why I haven’t been able to make any progress.
It’s not going to be easy to change the mindset that I developed years ago, but I know it’s something that I can do. Not only do I have the strength to do so, but I also know that I am the only one in control of my thoughts, so there really is no other choice.
I am not perfect. In fact, I am far from perfect. And while there are many things that I excel in, there are also things that I struggle with. But no matter what we struggle with or how much our struggles still impact our lives, it is up to us to overcome them.
If anyone out there has gone through similar issues, let me know what some of the things are that you have done to overcome your fear of gaining weight? The more we learn from each other, the better we become. I want to be the best version of me that I can possibly be, which is why I need your help.
As I continue on this journey of trying to change my mindset and encounter a new normal, I want to continue to share with you both the strides that I hope to make and also the obstacles that I experience along the way.
I know that this is not going to be an easy battle to overcome, but it is one that I know I am going to win. While I still find myself struggling with food, I know that with hard work comes great rewards, and that’s what I am going to continue to seek each and every single day.