I don't know if "General" is still where stuff like this goes. It used to go here. I had to write this for my own sake.
They say "Write what you know". I haven't lived a long enough life to write the stories I want to tell. I haven't been to enough places, seen enough things, or suffered enough tragedies to write the stories I've always wanted to tell believably.
What I have lived though, hasn't always been peachy. This is a story about myself, and about what I did to myself.
When I was 16, I was 245 lbs(Give or take 5 lbs), overweight, unhappy, depressed. I knew my weight was my problem, and was bothering me. I understood what many prominent female voices have spoke about with sincerity, the culture I was around, that I was born into, made me hate myself. My weight made me feel outcast, ads, movies, television, even video games, all media that I was surrounded by, they never let me forget that number on the scale. Or what it meant about who I was. I was gluttonous, unable to marshal the control I needed over myself, my diet, and my body. I was weak. Pathetic. That's what I said every day.
I ran from exercise at the drop of a hat at that age. I ran into chocolate, sugar, food in general. It was a comfort to stuff my fat fucking face with something tasty and to feel like it was okay.
After a time, this process started to get worse. I struggled at the time, with drug use, and drug addiction, but I didn't struggle with my weight. I didn't struggle with it because I did my best to forget about it, to not think about it. To blame the rest of the world, my parents, my genetics, my school, whatever it was for that. In truth, I think I was just running from myself and from a truth I needed to admit to myself. It's not like I didn't know I was fat. I knew. I remarked on it constantly. I degraded myself for the sake of laughs with my friends or acquaintances. I didn't like myself, I didn't have any regard for my self esteem or value. It was easy to do dumb things that hurt me physically or emotionally because I just wanted out. Doing hard drugs, cutting myself, taking enough aspirin to nearly die, trying to literally drink myself to death, it didn't seem like something that was weird, or difficult. It was harder to just be around, than it was to bleed.
Self abuse was a norm for many years. I hid it from my best friends, from girlfriends, from everyone I could hide it from. Having a secret at least let me feel special in it's own right. Sharing that would shatter that feeling, so I was quiet for many years about what I did, who I was, and how hard I was trying to die. My father, who has since passed, would be absolutely heart broken to learn these things. One of the silver linings of his death, was that he died ignorant of the son of a bitch he'd raised with all good intentions. He deserved better than that.
I met a girl, after meeting many girls. This girl didn't radically change my life, or redefine anything in a moment that fixed me. What she did do, was be patient in a way that I have never experienced, and certainly one to this day, I question whether I deserved at all. It's still hard, all these years down the road, to be kind to myself. It's impossible for me to be kind to who I was. At least so far.
Like many people who suffer from depression, I was fairly self absorbed and didn't look outwards as much as I needed to. But as I can remember, looking outwards wasn't something I was ready to do at that time. All I had in my heart, for myself, was hatred. Pure, seething hatred. I spent every day of my life hating myself so severely that I don't know how I made it through that time, it wouldn't have been without her though. The next part of this journey was mine to undertake alone though.
By the time I'd reached 23 or so, this feeling of self destruction and self hatred was crushing and all consuming. I needed a distraction it turns out. Then my dad died. Suddenly I didn't have my north star anymore, I didn't have one of my biggest cheerleaders, I didn't have the man who could answer literally any question with an informed response. I felt lost. It was my time to get lost.
Grief gripped me hard, as it would with most anyone. I wrote my dad a eulogy, that helped me finalize, and understand many of the lessons he'd spent the last years of his life trying to desperately impart to his tone deaf son. It was hard to read aloud because I couldn't marshal my emotions, but it was something I felt I needed to do. I felt I needed to perform something for his sake. He'd never seen my band play, he'd never seen me do public speaking, not to my knowledge at least, but here I had the opportunity to pour that emotional pain directly into something that was for him. He gave me so much, the least I could do I felt, was give him the words he deserved. If I hadn't written, and read that eulogy, I don't think his lessons would have defined these last years of my life so much.
Not long after Dad passed, Mom and I moved in different directions. I'm not ashamed to say my Dad had worked hard as a lawyer for many years, and had left us with enough for us to find our own way forward without him. I'm not ashamed of that, because my Dad gave his money away like he didn't care about it. Because he didn't. He spent it on my mom, and on my brothers, and on myself. He spent it on the community, he took on pro bono cases and helped people pay their power bills out of his own pocket. He was the most charitable man I ever knew, or will know. There were times in my life, where giving to others, felt more important to him, than I did. In retrospect, this might have been true, but it was for the best. Selfishness comes naturally to me, selflessness is a work in progress and always will be. My mother ended up in a home too large for her, and I ended up in a small apartment that felt right. It felt like mine. It was, for all intents and purposes mine. I think this is where things really began to change for the better for me.
I was a 10 minute walk from work, I was now left to fend for myself in a way I had never been prepared for by parents who if I'm being honest, for all their best intentions had missed quite a few things. I was probably heavier than 245 by the time I moved into this place. I was 23, fresh from dealing with some of the most significant events in my adult life, and I was still overweight and I still hated myself more than I could dare vocalize to anyone.
My daily life became a monotony of walking to work, letting those 8 hours pass me by, and coming home to relax by playing video games or seeing my girlfriend, the same patient girl who had stuck around for, at this point, 6 years. A few days turned to a few weeks, to a few months, and before I knew it, I had been living in that home alone for a year. I had barely seen my family, my friends, or anyone in the year since my fathers death. I recoiled into myself, I wanted connection, but I wanted to be alone at the same time. It was a confusing time. Truth be told, I'm often still confused about this time of my life.
It was at this apartment that I made an unconscious decision one day. I don't know when I drew this line in the sand, I don't know how I mustered up the courage to tell myself to finally fuck off, but I did. I started to watch what I ate, I started to be careful about how much I ate. I'd long worked on the ability to just know how many calories were in a plate of food by looking at it, and now I was using this as a tool to define every meal that I ate. I still ate shitty from time to time, too often in my recollection of things. But I had to maintain some sanity, I tell myself now. Before that first year was up, I had lost in my estimation, 20-30 lbs. At this point, I was still "scale adverse" and the idea of seeing that horrible 245lbs number flash on the scale was more than I wanted to deal with, so I stayed away from scales. I noticed my clothes were loose, and baggy where they had never been before.
I'd cut my calories down from a standard diet of 2500 per day or so, to well under 1800. It would take some time, but I'd lose the weight. I never noticed. I was simply single minded in my adherence to "just not eating" for vast hours of the day. It wasn't until I would turn 25 that "Intermittent Fasting" would become a "fad" for lack of a better word. It turns out I was practicing this for some years before it was even popular enough for me to read about.
By my 26th birthday, 3 years and 3 months since my Dad had died of a surgical complication related to his smoking, his weight, and his eating habbits, I was hovering somewhere around 180lbs. Still terrified of scales, I never weighed myself at this time, but when a medium t-shirt from when you were 14 fits you better than it ever did in your entire life, you can kind of get an idea of where you stand. But I still wasn't happy. I was still miserable. I still hated myself and wanted to lose more weight, I thought I was obese when at this point, I was out of shape but no longer dramatically overweight. I didn't understand this. I didn't see it for what it was. I looked at myself in the mirror every day, and I hated what I saw so much my right eye would occasionally twitch uncontrollably. It only does this when I'm livid. It would happen just from looking at myself.
Around this time, some events were playing out in my life that added complication and stress to it all, but resulted in me and my long term girlfriend moving in together in a new place just 15 minutes or so away. I could no longer walk to work the same way I had, not that it would matter as life would throw me a professional curveball as well.
It was frankly wonderful to finally live with her. I've been a loner my whole life, intentionally avoiding a great deal of people out of personal desire to be alone, so to say I was afraid going into the whole situation would be putting it mildly. I was terrified, but I was resolute to make it work. It was around this time, that my girlfriend would start pointing out my weight loss routinely, noticing how thin I was or how none of my clothes fit, or how I was now smaller than her. The intervening years since we first started meeting hadn't been the kindest to her, she'd had family issue after family issue, but she dealt with it all with grace that I wish I possessed, even to this day.
In March of 2018, seeking to fix her own weight issues, my better half suggested a serious month long diet to help reset her mentality around food. She'd always been quite enamored with junk food, fast food, burgers, pizza, all sorts of crap that we both routinely ate before I started my whole spiral. For her, she realized "I can't deal with this anymore" and started to enact a change. We took up a stupid fad diet, Whole 30, for a month. To be honest, I didn't like it much, but I went from whatever my weight was, to 145 lbs. I had lost a full 100 lbs. How did I know this? I stood on a scale for the first time in 9 years. I cried when I read what it said. I had dreaded that moment for 9 fucking years. I had placed so much emphasis to myself on this goal, that if I hadn't made it, I don't know how I would have dealt with it. I'd like to think with the same grace that my better half would deal with her failures and tragedies. In reality, I probably would have put my fist through the tile wall that was in front of me at the time.
It's cliche, but it's true. A weight had been lifted off of my shoulders(and everywhere else) and for the first time in years, literally years, I looked at my body and I didn't want to hurt myself for what I saw. I wasn't happy, by any means at this point, and as I write this I still struggle with my own acceptance of my body. But I had rounded a corner, I had made progress that I was never, ever going to let go of. I would cling to that with everything I had, because it had meant so much to me for so many years.
I had never vocalized that I had a goal at 16. Not in any way that I think I would have acknowledged. I knew I hated myself, and wanted to change, but I never set out on a course of action at 16. I would like to say it was simply my Dads passing that gave me that final push, and it would be poetic for that to be true, but I don't feel it is. I didn't do this for my girlfriend, soon to be my wife, because she didn't care. She loved me, all 245 lbs of me. She was good with who I was because she saw a different person than I did every day we were together.
She saw a kind person who would help others, who couldn't ask for help, who couldn't accept himself. And she loved that person with everything she had. As far as I know, she still does.
I saw a monster. Not just an overweight person, not just someone who lacked will power or control or whatever terms we throw around now a days. My weight brought out the worst in me, it twisted whatever kindness I applied outwards into pure cruelty to myself. I judged myself harshly, and that's one of the lasting scars of all this. Old habits die hard. What I saw, when I looked in the mirror, was a ruthless reflection of the worst aspects of myself. I manifested my mental state into my own reality, and suffered for it.
I would love to say "but not anymore" but this isn't one of those kinds of stories. It's not a happy ending, because there's still things ahead that will challenge and confront my demons in direct ways as I age further. It's not a sad ending, because I got something I wanted, that I worked for and suffered for. It's not even really an ending, is it? The sad truth is that even though I work on myself every day, from physically eating well, to working out, and to trying to shed some light on my demons so I can cast them out at last, I still can't be kind to myself about any of this. I still struggle to utter even a simple kindness to myself.
They say write what you know. So here's what I know. Don't treat yourself like you're a monster. Don't beat yourself up for so many years, that it becomes ingrained in who you are, and what you do. Don't be your own monster. I got what I wanted but it came at a cost that I'm afraid I will pay forever more. Don't be like me. You can do better.
Thanks for sharing this dude, It takes a strong person to be this transparent over the internet. Keep on the good fight man and keep your head up and you can take on any obstacle.
Thanks for sharing, and we appreciate you being brave and vulnerable enough to be candid like this. Even if you aren't completely out of the woods, it's sometimes just taking the first few steps that can help yourself out, and you seem to have already done a great job so far. Even if you aren't full-on happy, perhaps just continuing to try your best to be happier can be something of a good goal to work towards in the short term.
There's an article I read a while back, and although it talks mostly about literal "loss" in terms of relationships/death/etc, I think reading and interpreting it in the context of metaphorical loss (aka, in terms of you coping with the changes to your own personal identity) might be worth thinking on, if you want to read someone smarter than I articulate some interesting comments on this.
I think the importance of self-worth needs to be highlighted. Lots of that looking in the mirror and feeling like a monster is so relatable to so many people but for different reasons, but it really eats away at you. I'm really glad you're keeping your head high is all I can say - and you should really look at yourself at the end of the day and remind yourself how strong you are. Thats the sort of thing that makes you continue to feel strong, when you know what you're capable of.
Stay strong, man
Thanks for sharing this. I can relate a lot to all of this and am so happy you were able to to get to a weight you were happy with!
I went through something similar when I was around the same age and I thought I would add somethings that helped me though my weight loss.
I think people who enjoy games have an inbuilt competitiveness that can be leveraged to lose weight. I lost close to 100lb by turning my weight into a game and using games to exercise.
By the very fact that your weight/progress can be represented by a number, I found it quite fun treating it like a "score" and trying to reduce it as much as possible. Trying to see how much I could lose every week. Trying to cut out as much junk as I could to max out my weight loss. It probably wont work for everybody but treating it like a game really did help me for some reason. It made it fun.
I would take pictures of the scale every day and save them to an album. It was awesome to see even small changes, looking back at when I was just over 200lb and then seeing how much my weight had reduced really motivated me.
*This is only applicable to countries that use metric but something that helped me here was weighing myself in pounds not kilograms. It sounds silly but I found that If i could see numbers moving quicker it felt better and kept me motivated*
The next big thing that helped me were games themselves. I have always been a fan of music rhythm games (specifically DDR) so I thought that would be a fun way to get some cardio in. I bought a dance mat, downloaded every song I could find and made it a habit. No matter what, when I got home from work I tried to do an hour straight of songs in DDR. The best thing about it was that because it was a game and you were ranked on how well you did It never felt like I was really exercising. I looked forward to getting home, popping on the mat and trying to get a higher rank, a higher score. Trying to best myself and get better at the game.
I'm sure there are a ton of other anecdotes of people using DDR to lose weight but it really really does work if you can get into it.
It doesn't have to be DDR either, it can be ANY game that gets you sweating like Rock Band drums or Beat Saber (Both of which I still use to this day for cardio).
The last thing that helped a ton (And I see people on this site mention it a bunch but I will say it again) is cutting out soda. It was TOUGH at first but really did become quite easy after a few weeks. It cuts out SO much sugar and really speeds everything up.
I too was a big fat fuck in high school. I spent the whole time feeling like shit, pushing people away and lashing out at people. In 2015 i lost so much weight i was unrecognizable. The start of 2016 i was down to 86kg, healthy for my tall height, down from 120kg. In that time i learnt to love myself despite what i viewed as flaws.
Since then ive gone up and down, going back up to 110kgs theough 2016 and dropping back down to 90kg. But i dont feel bad about being overweight anymore and often i go on healthly phases with proper eating and exercise. Im currently in the process of moving houses as ive got a baby girl due in april and work brings my spirits down so i havent been motivated to do much recently but im going to try once we finish with the move and i find a new job.
thanks for writing this, it's important for some people to see that stuff like this is possible. I know I could learn from you. self-hatred is a trap, and it feeds itself if allowed to. I haven't begun to deal with mine and it's gotten to the point where I find myself lashing out and driving my friends away because a part of me is so infuriated, so enraged by anybody daring to treat me with the kindness that I don't feel like I deserve.
please be nice to yourself. neural pathways are built faster than you'd think. habitually hating yourself, even in a joking or non-serious ways, builds those pathways and slowly but all at once, self-hatred becomes your default reaction to any situation. that's when it starts snowballing really badly. you really want to avoid ending up in this state.
i haven't begun to figure out how to combat it
My weight has always been a huge deal to me and I can definitely relate to parts of your story. At my heaviest, I weighed 102.5kg which I guess isn't too bad but my classmates around me years prior thought it was so I found it bad too. I ended up in a real deep pit in 2013 when I cut out everyone in my life and got stuck to my computer for a full year, only leaving it to use the toilet, eat or the few times I managed to sleep. My self worth was completely shot. Eventually I was hospitalized due to my mental health in 2014 where all sorts of stuff happened. I got better, but I also had my first psychotic break which developed into chronic depersonalization that I still suffer from today. I also introduced myself to drugs during this time and ended up getting thrown out because of it in the end of 2015.
It was scary, but also relieving to be out again. I felt lost but ready. Somewhere during all of this, I made the same subconscious decision to finally do something about it. I started tracking my calories, I started going to the gym, I got myself a small social network and things were awesome. I went from 102.5kg to 75kg, I felt great about myself. 2016 must've been the best year of my life.
Unfortunately, that chapter of my life didn't end on that and I'm back to my old patterns. I gained weight until I hit 95kg, I was completely alone other than my SO, I had stopped using drugs because they were fun but because they made me forget and so on. Now I find myself in a depressingly similar situation to what I found myself in back in 2013 and 2014. I'm stuck in a cycle of self loathing and frustration with no clear exit. I've lost weight again from 95kg to 80kg, but this time I can't find any motivation or joy in it. I try to keep myself clean and tidy, I'm trying to learn topics I'm interested in and I try to take care of myself but in the end, I'm still miserable and alone.
Having solved this mess before and not understanding what I did then that I don't do now feels like a huge "fuck you" from life. 2 years of this and I'm still not any wiser, only more confused. I'll keep on searching and hope for the best. Thanks for writing this thread, it feels less lonely to read experiences like these, a small reminder that I'm not alone with problems like this.
Good shit man.
I know all too much about being bitter and hating yourself.
Honestly, I think I needed to read that.
Got me a bit of motivation I haven't felt in years.
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