Baby Steps: How I Deal With My Body Image Issues

Baby Steps: How I Deal With My Body Image Issues

The Three Extremes

Obesity

I’ve never had an ideal body.  Genetically I am predisposed to carry fat in my stomach and hips (thanks mom).  I never cared when I was in grade school, but when I changed schools in middle school I started to listen to my peers.  I got picked on a lot for being a short chubby kid.  I was easy prey!

That experience very much shaped how I think about myself.  I still see myself as a short chubby kid regardless of how I actually look.  I got into fitness in eighth grade to help fix what everyone else thought was wrong with me, which led me to where I am today.

Underweight

In high school I joined wrestling which helped me lose weight.  I felt like I looked great, but I felt terrible physically.  I was starving myself for days at a time to make my weight class, and I was binge eating when I had a few days off.

To this day I follow similar eating patterns.  When I get hungry I either eat to the point of sickness, or I choose not to eat.  Whether I choose not to eat or eat to the point of feeling sick I regret my decision.

Bulky

By the time I started college I had experienced two of the extremes of my body.  I had been clinically obese, and I had also been 5% body fat.  In college I decided to hit the third extreme in my fitness.

I started lifting weights six days a week for three hours a day and eating a lot of calories.  I was training to be a bodybuilder.  I knew that being super skinny was not sustainable for me, but I also couldn’t accept my normal body.  I put on 30 pounds of muscle in two years.

Despite this I still was not happy with my body.  I would look in the mirror every day and be disappointed.  I would see my shoulders and wonder why they wouldn’t grow.  Why was my left bicep so much smaller than my right?  I look at my body as a body builder with perfect symmetry in mind, and never quite meet my own expectations.

What I do About My Body Image Issues

It wasn’t until I met Tyler and Morgan at Titanium Performance that I realized my body composition and eating issues.  The truth is, I will never be happy with my body.  I will always carry fat in my stomach and hips (thanks mom),  I still have a tendency to eat 500 calories one day and 4000 the next, and  I look in the mirror every day and wonder why my deltoids won’t grow.

Our experiences shape us.  We, however, can’t let our experiences define us. I am more than a guy who has bad eating habits and a little bit of a dad bod that is more than a little disproportionate.  I am, however, Tim.  I am strong, I am smart, and I am caring.  I want to be 180 pounds with 5% body fat, but if I were to reach that goal I likely would still see some flaw.  Every stop in my fitness journey has disappointed me, and I doubt reaching that ideal would change that.

The past three months I have tasked myself with being ok with my body.  I have tried to manage my eating.  I wake up and choose not to look in the mirror some days.  It starts with small changes.  I will never be ideal, that isn’t who I am.  If I was perfect what kind of trainer would I be?

My imperfections have made me the trainer I am.  They fueled my early love for fitness and made me more empathetic towards different body types.  It is difficult to see my body in a positive way, and I am OK with that! The only thing I can do is see the small wins.  Baby steps.

What Should You do About Your Body Image Issues?

I am by no means qualified to tell you what you should do or feel in regards to your mental health.  I do not have a degree in psychology nor do I want one.  What I can tell you, however, is that everyones journey is unique.  You can’t compare your journey to mine, a celebrity’s, a friend’s, or a professional athlete’s.  They have all gone through their own journeys with self acceptance.  Its your turn now.

While I do not know your journey, I can encourage you to take small steps.  An example of a small step is meal planning.  Meal prepping is awesome, but its a big step to plan a whole week of food.  Start with a small goal.  Plan one meal a week.  Make easy meals to grab out of the freezer.

Making big changes all at once makes it easier to fall back into old habits, so I encourage you to make one small change.  Work on accomplishing one small goal, reach that goal, and set a new goal.  Find some people like Tyler and Morgan to support you.  Most importantly remember that you are perfect the way you are, and if you decide to make a small goal do it for yourself not someone else.

 

Written by Tim Jerabek