Some of you may be aware that I have been on a weight loss and diet since the beginning of the year and so far it is going great with almost 2 st lost. I am absolutely chuffed that I have done so well, but realise that I need to do more to reach my target. But, loosing the weight has caused me to rethink the idea of body image and how male obesity is viewed by people, by the media and by the public. It was not uncommon for me to be verbally abused because of my weight, I joked in an earlier post that people commented on me messing about in and on the water with the board that there was a beached whale etc. It was partly a joke, but as with any joke it is based in truth and this is what has happened. Those comments occur and I have dealt with them my entire life. I have had people call me names in the street, sneer, jeer and mock me because I am overweight. For years I just excepted it as part of life. But, I have come to realise that this sort of bullying, even by strangers, has greatly affected my actions and who I am. I have a very low level of self confidence and an even lower opinion of myself, my worth is diametrically opposed to my weight…the bigger the weight the lower I value myself. This has affected every relationship I have ever had. Whether I disbelieve the fact that someone could like even love me, whether the paranoia within the relationship that stems from myself is based on my own insecurity and it is all related to my weight.
So, I have entered into a radical regime of weight loss, but recently I have been noticing things that have angered me, most recently an advert on television for Amazon in which a bigger gentlemen is partaking in a Yoga class and one of the slender women is looking at him in a child’s pose and imagines pricking him with a meat thermometer, imaging him as a plump roast Chicken. This advert is a perfect example of reverse body image. If a woman did this to another woman in the advert it would have been pulled imediately, in fact would never have been made. It appears that larger gentlemen have become the image of humour in television adverts from pole dancing builders to pieces of plump cooked meat the image of. A larger gentlemen is to be used to mock and laugh at.
Which brings me nicely on to positive body image and the taboo subject that is the male form. One of the biggest neglected areas is the male image, men are subjected to. Great deal of pressure to look good, and they are generally not allowed to show weakness in the face of that pressure. We are often pressured to look like David Beckham or have the perfect six pack and muscles and be slender and string etc. Guess what, we can’t. It takes a great deal of money and time to sculpt a figure that David would be happy with, and as a working father of two I can tell you I have seldom the time to spend 3 hours a day in the gym. Having said that I am disgusted by myself that I am the size I am presently and I am changing that. I am not sitting here saying this is me accept it, because I don’t. We all have the capacity for change and to do something about it.
Men though, have been conditioned to be tactful, especially when it comes to the female form. We cannot any longer, admire the female form without being called a chauvinist or worse. Yet, a women can comment on the male form with impunity. Men don’t complain nor do they criticise or reprimand women for doing this. But I can tell you from bitter personal experience a that the effects of these types of conversation a an be damaging and cause harm that is not seen. The inequality between acceptable behaviour is such that a man is under so much pressure to have a physique chisselled from stone and that is not a task that can easily be achieved. I have tried, and continue to try to loose the fat, tone the muscles and to aka myself attractive to my better half who deserves the best version of me that I can give her. My children deserve a healthy and fit father that can run around with them and do lots of fun things. All these motivations are driving me to diet, exercise and get fit. I will achieve my goals and hopefully surpass them. But, I am battling a lifetime of abusive people who don’t understand what it is like to be obese, what it is like to battle weight issues. Hopefully, this will change.
Now, on to a more positive note and back to the subject of this blog…I had a great SUP the other Sunday. I went to my usual river spot and pumped up and paddled for an hour. I was pressured on time to take the family out so I went at 08:30 in the morning at high tide and greatly enjoyed myself! It was grey, gloomy but the river was calm and was good.