Managing My Weight: The Self-Loathing Complex
Anyone who knows me likely wouldn’t guess just by looking that I have a self-loathing complex. I try to be confident, able-bodied and take pride in my appearance online and in real life. However, I have a self-loathing complex and have had one for as long as I can remember.
But rather than comb over all the issues I have with myself, I especially want to deal with the most physical one I’ve struggled with for years: weight. While I don’t feel like my appearance, regarding my weight, ever became a problem, it’s become more of a health issue for me. That includes both my physical ability to handle basic tasks as well as fit into clothes below a 3XL.
For most of my 20s, I weighed between 200–215 lbs. When I met my girlfriend, I indulged in buying her desserts and drinking her Coke at restaurants. This in turn ended up with me picking up those indulgent habits. “Fat and happy,” they say. Well, less than a year later, I ballooned to 296 lbs. and hovered around there for around 3 years.
I never really paid much attention to it. No one ever bothered me about my weight and I feel like my height (6'1) hid it. That didn’t change the fact that I was starting to slowly grow out of my 4XL clothes which I had to buy due to my weight gain.
But I feel the problem came full circle when I was helping Stephanie move from her apartment. After only a simple task of heading downstairs with a few items, I found myself winded and completely out of stamina. Not exercising, it plainly showed that I was struggling with my health. It goes without saying I could barely run a mile in under 12 minutes.
Plus all of my retail jobs I struggled with standing for minutes at a time as well as not being able to keep the speed as a busser at my first job. All the back pain, feet pain, and stamina issues I had came to light when I realized I could not help the person I loved most help move items, forcing both her and my dad to do most of the work.
I started going to the gym around a month after that. This was in late 2019. Sadly, the COVID pandemic ruined any consistency I had and gave me an excuse to duck out of going to the gym. Even with a copy of Ring Fit Adventure and Fitness Boxing 2 still largely unplayed on my Nintendo Switch, I scarcely found myself willing to exercise at home.
I can’t remember what triggered me to go back to the gym in March of this year. Was it my snoring and sleep apnea? Or was I disappointed in myself for not being able to buy clothes from the WWE Shop that fit me? Or perhaps, in conjunction with my weight loss, I was tired of being a weakling with little energy and struggling to do household chores.
I wanted more and eventually set foot in my local Planet Fitness. Thanks to several routines from people working there, I started going consistently to build muscle and lose weight. Coupled with going to 5-Star Nutrition and talking to the people working there for supplements and consultation, I’ve had good people help answer my questions and set me on the right path. Since March, I’ve lost over 40 lbs., bringing me down to 254 lbs.
Unfortunately, it’s been a struggle due to a number of reasons. While I’ve used My Fitness Pal to count my calories, that doesn’t mean I adhered to it all the time. It’s been a long process of optimizing how much I can eat without going overboard. Learning that I can have a Frisco Breakfast Sandwich at Hardee’s but not a Chicken Biscuit makes for the difference of several hundred calories. Yet I have the chicken biscuit anyway.
Despite drinking Slimfast to replace meals, sometimes I still feel hungry. I’ll fast on water or have small snacks and end up somehow eating one of my frozen meals. Despite being well portioned in calories, I, unfortunately, end up doing so after going overboard.
But I think one of the worst killers I’ve dealt with is a mysterious disorder I’ve had since I was a teenager. I’m not sure what it is and my doctors have been completely baffled. I’ll try my best to explain the symptoms.
I feel completely weak and exhausted. Not sleepy, but drained. It’s a feeling that starts from around my upper stomach area like some kind of weakness just radiating from it. Sometimes it causes my blood pressure to spike and sometimes I end up sweating from it. The best way I can get rid of it is to eat or drink something sweet, like orange juice and cookies, and rehydrate.
To this day, I’m still not entirely sure what triggers it. I can’t tell if it’s sugar, caffeine, or if I’m lacking something. I’ve always called it the “low blood sugar feeling” even though my A1Cs have come back normal every time my doctors have taken blood tests. On several occasions, this has killed one of my workouts and stopped it dead in its tracks. I’ll start with cardio, then the feeling will come on, and I’ll barely make it through before having to leave. I don’t even get to pick up a single weight before I’m out of the gym since I barely have the energy to walk.
Unfortunately, I committed the sin of going to Wendy’s right after and ended up indulging in over 1,000 calories, effectively killing my workout and setting me back for the second day in a row. Even in spite of my best intentions, my body weakens and my discipline follows. It’s an all-too-tiring cycle of having to start over the next day because my plans fall through the shitter and I give in to my indulgences.
And that’s where the self-loathing complex comes in. Knowing I could go to bed with barely 100 calories over my limit, yet being so hungry I somehow need to have a frozen meal, a bag of Cheetos, and four Pepperidge Farm cookies to tally myself up past 1,000 calories. Why? I do not know. I feel terrible afterward like some kind of monster. I realize it but I end up doing it anyway.
One thing I’ve learned is that weight loss is never a linear path. I’ve chosen the slow route and avoid fad diets. I also somehow manage to avoid my gym days when I’m just not physically feeling it or my mind gets absorbed into practicing for Smash Ultimate esports tournaments.
Some mornings I’ll get this iron will resolve to go into the gym, do well, and manage my calorie count throughout the day. Some of those days, I feel like crap and can’t complete the workout. Still others, I opt out of going to the gym and end up going out to eat instead. You probably know how that ends.
I honestly don’t know why I felt like writing all of this. Maybe it’s to give some of my fellow obese friends and readers a glimpse of hope. We’re human beings and you’re not alone. Gatekeepers and critics - especially the self-critic voice in your mind - will tell you awful things. It will tell you you’re making excuses and condemn you because you give into indulgences. It’s an unhelpful voice in your head that serves no purpose to push you forward. It’s there to make you feel bad, worthless, and echo any number of comments you’ve read on the internet bashing people for their weight.
I feel fortunate knowing I’ve never had people mock me for my weight. But I also feel for my friends who have. Moreover, my fight has always been internal as I’ve fought to break my snoring habit, wear reasonably sized clothes, and feel like a normal human being who’s strong enough to complete basic household tasks and work.
If you can relate, remember that you’re not alone in this. I hope this might light some guidance your way. Even if I did write this for myself to get it out there, maybe you can take something from this.