June 22, 2014

I hate my body

There are two things we are unaccustomed to here in Cleveland Ohio: Sunshine and Touchdowns. We are all praying that Johnny Football solves the latter but for today we are expecting sunshine and I plan to spend it doing a WOD and then some pool time with my girls.

I love spending time with my girls outside but I don’t love the pool the way they do and it’s for one simple reason. I hate my body. Does that surprise you? That’s probably not what you are used to hearing from a man but we have body issues too. The difference between men and woman is men don’t get whole articles written on it like women do. We are told from birth that we need to “man up” or be “tough” and not show weakness. Thats probably why you don’t see men’s magazines that say things like “Easy fix to burn that pesky cellulite”, “Ways to keep the pounds off without dieting” or “10 ways to trick your man into tex-mex”. Ok, I know that last one has nothing to do with body image but I do loves me some tex-mex….

Anyhoo ~ I don’t know when I really noticed that I was self conscious about my body but I do remember when I decided to do something about it. My kids were 7 and 9 and I had been divorced for a few years. I was doing what most newly divorced men do and was living in an apartment. (I love to reinforce stereotypes) It was a nice enough place and had an indoor and outdoor pool. The girls have always loved to swim and they would constantly bug me to take them. I’m a sucker for my babies so we would pack up the pool noodles and all our crap and go down there. Once we would get to the pool I would sit in a chair and watch them swim while they would ask me over and over to get in. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I didn’t want to take my shirt off in public. I felt extremely self conscious about my body fat and I was whiter than a baby seal and only slightly less fuzzy. At that moment I decided then that I was going to do something I had never been successful at before. I was going to get in shape. I would have done something about the whiteness but you can’t really fight DNA….

I had heard of this program called P90X and wanted to try it. Turns out my ex-wife had bought the program and didn’t like it so she sold me her discs. I went home and dutifully took my before photos, pushed play and never looked back. I won’t write a review on P90X here but I was a 38 year old with zero previous athletic experience and it kicked my butt good. I’m not sure if it’s the program or if Tony Horton just annoys the fat off of you but it works regardless. I did that for 6 months until a buddy introduced me to CrossFit and the rest is history. Three plus years later I am still going strong…

By now you’re wondering how I could do 6 months of P90X and three years of CrossFit and still have body issues. It is because it takes a lot more than a few workouts and a better diet to erase a lifetime of insecurities. The difference between today and then is I am focusing on what I can and want to do instead of what I am not. I set goals for myself and then work my ass off to get there. Since that day at the apartment I have completed a Tough Mudder, a Relay Marathon (7.5 mile leg), a Half Marathon, and continue to set new PRs for myself in CrossFit. I am currently training for a few races at the end of the summer which will likely include a Full Marathon. I’m not telling you this to brag but to show you that we are all more than the sum of our imperfections. You can grow, change, and evolve into something that you never thought you could if you focus on what you can control and be the best you can at it. I still have a long way to go to reach my goals and overcome my insecurities but I am getting there. I still feel that moment of insecurity when I take my shirt off or see someone in much better shape than me and wish I looked like them. I’m not sure that will ever go away completely but I am starting to get better at it. I realized it a weekend ago when I was at the pool with my daughters. I was walking around the pool with my shirt off and my youngest came walking over to me. She reached over and poked me in the stomach and said “Abs!”. It was in that moment that I realized that I hadn’t been worried about being shirtless. That’s progress…

In a related story, my youngest is now my favorite child…

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  1. Congrats on the Tabata Times feature!

    1. Thanks. I didn’t know they were going to truthfully but I had given the permission to post anything they thought was interesting to their readers…

  2. Yeah man, I really dug this post as well. Is it cool if I post this to my readers as well?

    1. Sure. Just gimme credit. Appreciate you reading it…