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Liking Yourself Again

When I got fat, two things went down the drain pretty fast. My sex life and my self-image. Since I’m a typical guy, it’s not easy to talk about failures in the bedroom. So let’s talk about self-image.

Guys like to put on that we’re confident. But let’s be honest here. Comb-overs, sports cars and the sudden need to hit on women 30 years our junior says we’re still insecure little boys.

When I ballooned up over 250 pounds, my self-image hit rock bottom. I hated to see myself in the mirror. I wouldn’t take off my shirt with the lights on to save my life. And that little voice inside my head had nothing nice to say about me.

I was a loser… a whale… a fat pig… disgusting… worthless… You get the idea. It was an endless downward spiral.

But, you know, it only took losing a few pounds to turn it around.

My fat-boy pants got a little loose around the waist, and that voice said, “Hey! Maybe I’m not a total loser.” When my XXL shirts started looking a bit big, I didn’t hate myself so much. And then I found myself on the up escalator.

By 25 pounds, that little voice had started to become a cheerleader. “I can do this,” it started to tell me. It even started saying no to ice cream and chocolate – the two comfort foods I can still eat.

One day, I was standing in front of the closet and the voice said, “Goodwill could use those over-sized clothes.” I loaded up three big bags with clothing I was too small to fit and hauled them off. It felt great.

And somewhere around 50 pounds, mirrors stopped bothering me. In fact, I could almost see me again.

Now, I can even take my shirt off with the lights on. I’m not satisfied yet. But I don’t hate what I see – or the guy inside what I see – anymore.

I know all the self-help gurus say you should learn to love yourself just the way you are. And I think that’s probably fine for the things you can’t control.

But my weight was something else. I could control it, but didn’t. And I think that’s why I fell into self-loathing. Every failure just fed the next one.

Now, every victory feeds the next one. And I’ll bet it would work the same way for most people – even you.

Losing 5 pounds may not sound like a lot when you’re over 250. But it felt like a lot to me. Because I had to tighten my belt for the first time in years. It may start with 5 pounds, but pretty soon, you build up a head of steam.

As I write this, the holidays are approaching fast. Last year at this, I was still trying to figure out what was making me sick. So it was easy to keep that head of steam going. I was afraid to eat or drink all those holiday goodies.

This year, it’s different. I know what the problem is… and how to eat around it. But I have something else going for me. This year, I like myself.

And I think it’s a lot easier to take good care of someone you love.

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