Fat Boy on a Diet: June Update: Positive Steps

As a fat man I have not been flourishing in this heat, reduced to nothing more than a puddle at times, it’s hit the proposed exercise regime hard as I’ve quickly baked in the sun and required copious amounts of drinks whenever I can. This means that June’s weight loss has been a failure.

To be honest, finding this out at my last weigh in was a major kick in the teeth, and left me feeling properly shit. I decided to write a monthly update to motivate myself, but for the last couple of months it’s basically been an exercise in publicising my failures. And as the weight has crept back up I’ve found myself feeling increasingly fed up.

The warm weather doesn’t help the fat man’s self confidence, as you feel all sweaty and gross, and that’s without throwing in a marked increase in chub rub. Any misgivings you have about your physical form are amplified by the discomfort. Looking at myself in the mirror is never something I particularly enjoy, but I hate it even more when I see a sweaty mess staring back at me.

So, standing on the scales was not a fun experience.

Time for a change.

But isn’t that what I said last month? And the month before? Why, dear reader, should you put any store in this statement?

Well, because I’m putting my money where my seemingly always full mouth is. I have paid out money in my endeavour to shed some pounds (and hopefully stones).

Step one, has been rejoining Chub Club. A previous membership actually helped quite a bit. The twin pillars of a clear eating plan and more regular weigh ins should work to keep me on the right path and remained focus.

healthyliving

Step two is something I’m not looking forward to. Yes, even less than standing on the scales in a crowded room. I’ve joined a gym.

WoM has joined the other day and is taking part in some of the classes they put on there. I’m less keen on doing this, so will be exercising on my own. I’m figuring if I use the bikes and treadmills while WoM is in her class, maybe even start doing some weights, it may not be so bad.

My ideal gym would be made up of several contained pods, with all the gear inside. That way I could exercise without fear of how bad I look doing it. I think I need to buy some new headphones and maybe an MP3 players so I can just tune everything out and stop caring about it.

Previous experience from when I used to run tells me that after a while I’ll stop giving a damn anyway as my confidence and comfort grows. It just sucks until that kicks in and you just feel self conscious and like everyone is laughing at or judging you.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

Advertisements

Fat Boy on a Diet: March Update: Mountains and Mirrors

I haven’t been able to hop on the scales the last couple of weeks, so I don’t know exactly where I am weight wise.

With no hard data I’m gonna have to guess how the month has gone. I think I’ve lost a fair bit this month thanks in part to all the extra walking I did for Sport Relief (I raised £175 in the end, which is a start on my “raise £1m for charity” bucket list item).

Walking with Oz

I’ve also been swimming a couple more times, and while I still suck, I’ve passed 1000m which is more than I managed between 1999 and 2017. So, that’s something, I guess.

Eating healthy has been hit and miss, with us moving house there have been a few evenings when MWF and I couldn’t be bothered to cook and opted for take aways.

Despite feeling like I’ve lost weight this month, and enjoying the extra exercise, body confidence wise I can’t say I feel great. Our new bedroom has built in wardrobe with a mirrored front.

This means that getting up in the morning, or getting ready for bed I get to see my body as big as life. And twice as ugly.

I saw old photos of myself at university this week, and think I look better now, but back then I don’t remember having the same revulsion at my reflection. Or did I just ignore it then?

For those few moments before or after sleep I am confronted with a body I dislike. I have half baked plans for working on my bucket list and trying new things, but I feel I need to scale it back and for now, just focus on slimming down.

I know I’ll never be one of those insanely ripped guys, and frankly, I don’t want to be. But I definitely want to be smaller and more comfortable and happy with what I see in the mirror.

It might take a while though.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Fat Boy on a Diet: Just Keep Swimming

After posting my February update on Monday I went swimming properly for the first time since the late ’90s.

I’ve never been a particularly strong swimmer and out of my primary school class I was one of the last to move from the kiddie pool to the proper one. I was way behind the curve in earning my 100m swimming badge, getting mine at a point where their prestige had worn out for my classmates.

One of my few athletic achievements

Throw in the whole having to be topless aspect and I wasn’t exactly hammering down the door of my nearest baths.

But things changed last year. Under the Floridian sun and with a pool at our resort it seemed foolish to avoid the pool. And with WoM offering me reassurance and making me feel better about myself I hit the pool.

Nobody laughed. Nobody recoiled in horror. Nobody really cared, they just all went about their business.

As years of body image baggage and self consciousness drifted away, I quite enjoyed myself.

So, looking for a new way to exercise and shift some weight, I joined WoM at the pool today.

It did not begin well as after one length of painfully slow breast stroke my leg cramped up. I’ve had cramp before, but never in this spot, so it wasn’t fun. A bit of stretching and I was good to go.

I set myself a target of 20 lengths, ensuring a decent workout but allowing me time for some breathers.

Swimming is hard. Especially when you can’t completely remember how you do it.

My technique was pretty poor, but improved slightly with tips from WoM. My shoulders hurt from trying to keep my head up and I drank half the pool as I messed up my timing.

Compared to jogging, swimming sucks. There was no music and my mind didn’t wander. When I used to run I would daydream or plan things, but in the pool I was thinking about timing, technique and focused on that.

Also, I lacked the confidence I had on a run. When I got into my running rhythm I felt good, strong and unstoppable. Anyone who got in my way had better move, because I wasn’t stopping. I was the Juggernaut, b***h!

In the pool I felt slow, out of shape and meekly went around two old ladies chatting in my path.

Despite all this, I managed to hit my target and go beyond it, finishing 24 lengths.

Afterwards I felt pretty good. It wasn’t fun, but I felt better.

I’ll be going back. I need the exercise. I want to get better. And I can’t ignore Dory’s advice.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


“Fear of the Fat Man”

Something I wrote a while ago but posted on Medium because I thought that would be more of a thing. As is, I barely check it and have only written like 4 articles on there. Anyway, here you go:

“Fear of the Fat Man” @nutupdate https://medium.com/@nutupdate/fear-of-the-fat-man-2b4ea247e1ed

Any thoughts? You know what to. BETEO.


Fat Boy on a Diet: Off the Scale

I went to the doctor’s on Friday. Fear not, reader, I’m not ill but I have been iffy recently and thought better to have a check up in case it turned out to be something I could fix.

After a quick exam I was asked to hop on the scales.

This is par for the course, at least for chubsters like me. I get it. Weight can be an exacerbating factor for many things and a doc should prompt you to get fitter in the same way they should tell people to quit smoking, health promotion is part of their job.

I don’t get when people complain about doctors advising them to lose weight, I mean, sure it should be approached tactfully, but what do you expect them to do? Ignore something that might be detrimental to your health?

So, logically I don’t mind. But I still feel embarrassed. Of course, it was about to get worse.

I stepped on and the shot round like Usain Bolt in a jetpack. 

In fact it shot right by the last number. 

Yes, my weight was beyond the measurements of the scale.

If only blushing burnt calories. I’d have dropped half a stone easy.

The Doc, without a word, fetched a second scale. This had a display screen. This could show my weight.

I know I’m big. I didn’t expect to step off at 10st or something. But seeing it in black and white hammers home.

Before uni, I was the lightest I had been for years. I was jogging, eating better and walking everywhere. I’m now back where I started in 2011, where I got on the scales for the first time in years.

The weight loss resolution is dead in the water. Penny pinching for the wedding meant I had to stop Chub Club. Laziness and apathy has seen my weight tick up slowly. Worse, I knackered my knee last year and that means jogging is out.

The doctor advised power walking. I have become Harold Bishop.

Dropping weight for the wedding seems a folorn hope. 5 months to go. Suit fitting in a month. I can shift a bit by October, hopefully, but it won’t be a lot.

Looking good and being comfortable in Florida looks unlikely.

The blame lies with me, and I need to buck up and sort this out. I can’t run, but there’s a local gym. It has a pool, but I don’t think I’m ready for that. 

I have to do better.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


I don’t shave for Sherlock Holmes. Or anyone else.

“Are you going to shave for the wedding?”

This is something I’ve been asked quite a lot recently. Sometimes repeatedly by the same person, which is a little annoying. One of my friends is not a fan of the face fuzz and clearly feels that I would look better clean shaven on the big day. This is fine, but as I’ve stated that my opinion opposes this the matter should be laid to rest now, right?

16142457_10158146693335077_1434744708657090945_n

Me in the classic “look at my ring” pose

This is the first time I’ve really grown a beard properly. Prior to this I just used to occasionally let it grow for a while because I was too lazy to shave regularly. I am terrible at shaving, and would emerge smooth faced and bleeding like a character in an ’80s slasher movie.

As a student nurse I had to keep myself tidy while on placement, mainly because of the constant whining of my mentor. However, since I decided nursing wasn’t for me, I’ve not shaved in about a year and a half.

I’m not sure I should share that as it highlights just how patchy and crap my facial hair growth is. Seriously, look at the above photo. There’s enough hair there for me to rock a decent moustache and chin beard, but it’s all spread out across my face, meaning that my beard isn’t the best. I wish it was like one of those old magnet and iron filings things where I could just move the hairs around my face until I had a decent full beard.

I’d love to boast a full on Grizzly Adams beard, but alas, my hair grows in a stupid pattern. At least it now looks like an intentional beard, for a while it just looked like laziness.

405x-1

Brian Blessed- Beard goals.

This is a downside of having a beard at the moment. I get the sense that people see it as me following the current trend for hirsute men. This isn’t true, it’s just a coincidence that beards are “in” while I’ve grown mine.

The reasons for my beard? Simple really;

  1. My hatred of shaving
  2. Laziness. It’s one less thing to do during my early morning zombie state.
  3. MWF likes the hairy look, so making her happy is an additional perk.
  4. The last time I did shave, for a job interview, I looked really young. And stupid. So, I’ll stick with mature and stupid for the foreseeable future.

I’ll give the beard a trim before the wedding, so that I look a little smarter than normal, but I don’t think shaving it off would do much.

Besides, it doesn’t matter how tidy I look at the start of the day, sooner or later I’ll spill food or drink down myself and shatter the illusion of being a smartly dressed grown up.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Fat Boy on a Diet: Tormenting the Chubsters

I don’t think it was deliberate. I don’t think a child that small is capable of such casual meanness but unknowingly the five year old was trolling every single member of Chub Club.

As we queued nervously to be weighed or flicked through our books realising treats would have to be sacrificed this little girl danced happily in the centre. The focus of all the group’s envy.

Firstly, she was happy and comfortable in a way that had abandoned her elders present. Her dancing was untempered by self consciousness, boundless enthusiasm making up for any ability or music. But more than this, and the real reason for the jealousy was that she happily are a Cadbury’s Wispa without any remorse.

I’m not saying nobody else present has eaten chocolate recently, but I doubt any have done without a twinge of guilt or lack of thought.

I’d eaten a pack of M&Ms with the Superbowl and had regretted it. As I queued for the scales I felt distinctly pessimistic about how I had done this week. The M&Ms had followed a pepperoni pizza and been followed by a small stack of ginger nuts. 

It was barely a drop in the excess of Superbowl weekend globally, but it was still a mistake and a moment of greedy weakness, under the flimsy excuse that it was a special occasion.

So I wasn’t feeling confident.

I paid my membership and then emptied my pockets, removed my shoes and hoodie and rechecked my pockets. I neared the front of the line, the scales looming and my spirits low.

I’d followed the new regime, but there had been a few wobbles and there was nowhere to hide. I hadn’t given my all and I was about to reap the consequences on the display.

Stepping into the scales I watched the number climb. And climb and then stop. 

I gaped in surprise.

 I had lost 4.5 lbs. 

I was pleased with my slightly undeserved success and decided that I needed to steady myself. The wobbles must stop and I had to fully commit. Stock to the rules and not go over my treat allowance.

I prepped a salad and healthy snack for my shift the next day and watched TV. 

But as I lay in bed awaiting sleep the voice of greed started to whisper.

“I could murder a Wispa right now.”

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Ch-ch-changing: Fear and Loathing in the Disabled Toilets

I balanced on one leg like an overweight, graceless flamingo. I managed to get my leg free of my trousers and placed it on my empty trainer. 

This had to be one of the most awkward changes in my life. I felt uncomfortable, for a variety of reasons. 

Firstly, there was the smell, which was rather unpleasant. It was a toilet, and recently used, and being a toilet I didn’t want to touch anything more than I had to. I especially didn’t want to put my socks on the floor. If you’ve ever stood in anything wet wearing socks you’ll know it’s a deeply unpleasant experience. Hence the drunk flamingo bit.

The other reason I felt awkward was because it was a disabled toilet and I felt a bit of a heel for possibly depriving someone of the only toilet accessible to them. I prayed to the gods that nobody was waiting outside.

Luckily there wasn’t and completely changed I left and headed for the bus home.

So why was I changing in a toilet?

Well, I’d finished work and it being a warm day was a little sweaty. My uniform is uncomfortable, and I didn’t fancy wearing it on a warm, full bus. But this meant finding somewhere to change. 

We have a staff changing room but it has zero cover. No cubicles or corners. 

You have to change right out in the open. This means waiting until it’s empty and praying that nobody comes in because as soon as the door opens they’ll see you. 

Just writing that makes me feel on edge.

I haven’t had to change in a public changing room for years. Not since school. And if I can avoid it for another 15 years I’ll be happy. I have no desire for anyone except for MWF to see me half naked. And of course that won’t be until after our wedding.

But anyone else? The idea makes me nervous.

I’ve been this way since primary. When I was in year six we used to have swimming once a week. I can distinctly remember there was a time when changing after didn’t bother me. We were all 10-11 so it was before any adolescent insecurity crept in.

I can remember goofing off. Wrapping a towel around my head and doing an impression of Whigfield, who’s “Saturday Night” a year or so earlier. 

Whigfield

It got some laughs and I kept doing it for a few weeks.

Now I was a chunky kid. I had what we called “puppy fat” and I think part of me honestly thought that it would all fall off during my teens and I’d emerge like a ripped butterfly, able to realise my dream of playing for Wales and Swansea.

Of course, this didn’t happy and my puppy fat grew into full grown adult St Bernard fat.

But back in the mid nineties none of this bothered me. I was chunky bit didn’t think much about it. 

Until it was pointed out by some of my schoolmates. And not politely. It went on for a few weeks, and I came to dread those swimming days. I was a crap swimmer anyway, so it wasn’t like it was massively fun to begin with. But being called names afterwards soured it even more.

It got worse in secondary school and all the enjoyment I’d got playing football in primary evaporated. I started “forgetting” my kit on a regular basis, and PE became my least favourite lesson. I wasn’t the only chunky kid. Or the chunkiest, but when I did have to change I just did it quickly, quietly and as closely to the corner as I could.

To be fair I never got any grief at comp. Well, aside from once when two kids who I did PE with tried having a go. For sports two classes were teamed up and my class was put with one of the classes that was for less academic kids. These two in particular were knuckle dragging morons of the lowest order. Think Crabbe and Goyle but without the charisma.

Now one of them was about the same size as me, so when they had a go bout my belly and budding mannaries I was surprised. I then told him that it was a bit rich as he wasn’t exactly slim and to get out of my way, as I needed to get to English and I’m sure their teacher had set up some colouring in for them to do.

Being a gobby, sarky git paid off and the surprise of me actually firing back meant they didn’t bother me again. 

But even without outside influence my insecurities over changing grew like an unattended plant that soon takes over everything.

I was starting to get interested in girls, and starting to realise this was a one way street. And that I didn’t look a thing like the slim, toned celebrities they fancied.

On a family holiday to Jersey I wrecked a beloved Superman shirt leaving it a weird purple-pink colour because I refused to swim in the pool shirtless. 

I’m more comfortable with myself in a lot of ways. I voice my opinions, speak out for myself and don’t worry about my looks that much. But hopping about in that disabled toilet I realised that I still have those old hang ups.

I need to get better. In Sri Lanka I sweltered in the sun, only taking off my shirt when I knew nobody was about and keeping it within reach at all times. I went in the sea a couple of times, running in and out to avoid being spotted.

I haven’t swam in years but with Florida coming next year I’d like to be a bit more comfortable, so that even if I can’t quite summon the courage to take my shirt off I can at least go in the pool and risk a wet T-shirt moment. If I want to cross “swim with dolphins” off the bucket list I need to do something.

Hopefully the weight loss (which has stalled of late) will help and maybe getting a bit fitter again will make me feel more positive too.

I really appreciate and respect all those who promote body confidence and self love, but when it comes to myself I’m not quite there. I would love to be able to strut down a beach or go swimming without feeling self conscious and hating how I look, worrying what people think. I’d love to be comfortable and confident.

I’ve gotten better, and don’t worry about looking stupid as much. I’ve quit running from cameras too. Hell, I’ve even started putting selfies on Instagram.

My mug

But I still need to get to the stage where I don’t look in the mirror and hate what I see. And where I can change clothes without having to find the most secluded spot I can. It would just make my life a lot easier and happier if I could just do my changing in a room where I wasn’t worried about touching anything.
Sorry, this kind of turned into a ramble.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Big Bliss, Mixed Feelings

I’ve written before about the fact that MWF and I watch a lot of wedding shows on TV (here and here) and while we took a break after getting a bit of a wedding overdose we still stick on Say Yes To The Dress from time to time.

They’ve added another spin-off recently (joining Atlanta, Bridesmaids and Canada, with a UK based version on the horizon too) and we caught our first episode today. The show is called Say Yes To The Dress: Big Bliss.

The difference with the latest offering is that it exclusively features plus sized brides. This is kinda cool as it shows that a perfect wedding isn’t just the preserve of thinner women and it’s probably inspiring and reassuring for the curvier ladies out there.

image

Also the staff featured are lovely, and treat their customers with kindness and sensitivity.

These are all good things, and I’m glad to see that body diversity is being addressed and celebrated. Both here and on the other TLC show Curvy Brides.

image

While I applaud this there is something that nags at me about these shows.

Why do the plus size brides have to be exiled to their own little boxes? Why couldn’t Say Yes just feature more body types on their original shows?

It feels like while it’s a step forward in acceptance of body diversity it’s not a massive one, and it still sets curvier women on the outside, as being “different” and not letting them join the party properly.

I’m glad the new show exists, but it’s kinda sad that the “mainstream” show doesn’t include different body types. Still, a small step forward is still progress.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Body Image Is A Joke?

A few weeks ago I saw a lot of stuff about American Eagle, a fashion company launching a video for their “Aerie Men” range, which seemed to be following the company’s steps towards using more diverse body types in their advertising and avoiding Photoshop. This was widely celebrated as the body positivity movement has thus far been largely geared towards female bodies.

This campaign, following shortly on the heels of Zach Miko being the first plus size male model signed to IMG was good news. It felt like finally different male bodies would be shown, and this would be an interesting new step towards body acceptance and a weakening of traditional beauty standards.

image

The men of the campaign

Unfortunately it all turned out to be an early April Fools gag and there was no new range for larger men. American Eagle tried to say they were still for body positivity and would stop retouching their models but it still felt like a massive kick in the teeth.

Female body positivity has been a growing and admirable trend, with women arguing that there is no one form of beauty and that all bodies are beautiful. It’s been a long road, with several wins along the way, but still far to go.

The group has benefitted from a large online movement spearheaded by bloggers like Bethany Rutter (Arched Eyebrow) who have shown that style has no size limit and models like Tess Holliday AKA Tess Munster, who is vocal in the “eff your beauty standards” campaign. As detailed in the show Plus Sized Wars (more here)  this can have a massively positive impact on women who finally have people like themselves to look at.

The other key is that plus sized brands treat their customers with respect. Their curves are never a joke, they are not the target of parody, they are shown to be beautiful, glamorous and sexy.

That’s what American Eagle got wrong, they made male body image a joke, suggesting that men don’t need it. That body image issues and positivity is something exclusively for women.

And that is bollocks. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that 18% of boys surveyed were “highly concerned” about their weight and physique (here). It showed that many young men were worried about losing weight and toning up.

Young men have the same pressures as young women. The images we see in the media are rather narrow and the implication is that the average Joe just isn’t good enough. It could be said that public attack and criticism of larger men lacks the intensity than that geared at female celebrities, but it is still there, and it still has a detrimental effect.

The problem is that men are traditionally less engaged in fashion and stuff than women, so while fashion bloggers have gained a toehold to fight for body diversity among women, a male blogger is unlikely to gain the same following as men are less likely to seek out a body image hero in the same way.

This is a shame, and tied in with the fact that for a guy to say another dude looks good is still considered shaky ground for many. Kelvin Davis, who featured in the Aerie Men campaign and who may have been unaware of the joke, is a blogger and Instagrammer, (his blog is Notoriously Dapper) but he is one of a small group and doesn’t really have the platform that his female counterparts have access to.

But while the men of the world need to raise their voice and push for change in the way that female body confidence campaigners have, some responsibility lies on the brands and the fashion industry. While Zach Miko’s signing is a step in the right direction it could be criticised in the manner some women voiced in Plus Sized Wars, he’s an improvement on the traditional male model but he isn’t exactly representative of the average larger bloke.

image

Zach Miko, who's hiring is a good beginning

Even brands that cater to larger men are guilty of sticking with the stereotypical slim and toned model. Take Jacamo, the online retailer who cater to up to size 5XL, but who use images like this to sell their goods.

image

I mean, the dude looks good in the hoodie but it’s hardly going to help the chubbier customer. Will that suit a larger body type? If I use myself as an example of what a Jacamo customer might look like, it’s not really a good fit is it?

image

Me

The male ideal of body and the body image issues men experience is a real concern and can cause serious problems for individuals. But it is still something that is not discussed or being addressed enough, because of old fashioned ideas of how a man should be and the toxic idea that discussing insecurities and fears is somehow a bad thing.

We need to encourage boys to talk about how they feel and we need to help change our idea of what is attractive. Men come in different shapes and sizes and there is beauty in them all.

It’s something that needs to be properly handled, not turned into a punchline. American Eagle really dropped the ball on this, and it was a very misjudged April Fool.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.