Not Fitting The Stereotype

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As empowering as it can be to stand out from the crowd by being a unique individual, it can also be a hinderance in society in general. But do I really stand out from those around me, or is that just my own perception of myself?

I’ve always considered myself an ‘average’ gay man – average looks, average abilities, average personality. etc – but haven’t been able to correlate how I perceive myself physically (short, fat, hairy, bald, etc) with how others see me or what they’re looking for in a potential partner.

Obviously, when it comes to the bear community, there’s a different aesthetic sought after, which is great for those who are into that type of guy.  And physically I suppose I do have that stereotypcial ‘bear’ look.

Now here’s the kicker – despite that physical similarity, I don’t particularly feel part of the bear community.  Just like when I was younger and would hang out with my thinner (twinkier) friends at the bars they enjoyed, I still feel like I’m an outsider looking inside.

And to add to it, I’m an anomaly because I’m not a lesbian-bear  – a bear who’s attracted to other bears.  Instead, I like what would be called a ‘chaser’ or ‘admirer’  – generally fitter or thinner guys, somewhat masculine, good looking (to me), etc – who are into bigger guys.

And I definitely find the super fit, muscular guys in the magazines very attractive.. even if I consider them unattainable.

In the end, I still feel like the average queer that I’ve always considered myself, regardless of which subsect of the community I’m spending time with.  I don’t necessarily stand out compared to others, and my true personality only comes out for the rate few that take the time to get to know me.

I suppose I have never really empathised with the mindset of the bear community because I’ve never really seen myself as one, despite my outward appearance.

In my mind, I guess I see myself as being an average guy with an average body.. and I tend to get a nasty surprise whenever I see myself in the mirror.

I guess I’ve never fully embraced my size or bear-stature.  I do not enjoy being a bigger guy.  I don’t find my body generally attractive, regardless of what other guys have said to me.

I kind of feel like there’s a thinner, fitter version of myself screaming from the inside to get out.

No, I’m not delusional.  LOL

But most of all, I’ve spent most of my life feeling helpless about my body and it’s outward appearance.  My weight over the years has risen and risen, with a few fluctuations here and there.

I would ‘try’ to eat healthier but would end up either ‘treating myself’ too often for doing so well with my food, or I’d still overeat regardless of how healthy the food I was eating was.

Last summer, I was at my absolute heaviest (about 300lbs/136 kgs) and I was starting to have issues walking, breathing, and having regular back pain.  I would run out of breathe after maybe a 10 minute walk and would need to stop for a rest.

So… what is a chubby, lazy guy to do?

Initially I started taking a fat suppressant prescribed by an on-line pharmacy, which I definitely do NOT reccommend. It just made me feel sick and gave me really bad diarrhea on a daily basis.

Around the beginning of the year, I started to make myself walk part of all of the way home from work (45 minutes each way).  This helped, but walking the same route daily got boring fast.

So a couple of months ago I finally got off my ass and joined a gym.  This wasn’t easy as I’ve always felt very self-conscious about going to a gym.  Trying to work out whilst surrounded by fit, muscular guys just felt intimidating.

But I’ve been doing my best for the most part.  I haven’t been on a specific diet, but just trying to eat healthier where I can and cut out sugars, snacking, and all the rest of the yummy foods we’re not supposed to eat regularly.

I don’t have a specific weight goal in mind, but looking to just feel better in my skin.. and perhaps get back to around the weight I was a few years back.  But now I find myself down to about 260 lbs/118 kgs.  Most of that weight loss is since Christmas.

And I’m quite happy with my progress and I’m hoping to keep it going to see if I can lose some more weight.  But again, it’s not with a specific set goal, but instead an intermediate hopeful weight.

I know I’ll never be one of those super fit guys in the magazines, and I’m not hoping to be.  I just want to be comfortable in my own body and feel attractive to myself.. and others obviously.

And if it helps me meet some cute guy who likes me for me, and not my size, then all the better for it.

Photo with cast of ‘Drag Becomes Her’ – (L to R) Peaches Christ, Jinkx Monsoon, ME, BenDeLaCreme, and Major Scales.

Fat Shamed at the Gym

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I recently had a chance to read the below article about a guy who’s a bit over-weight who was made to feel bad about himself because of his weight.  Have a read:

http://www.gaypopbuzz.com/i-was-fat-shamed-by-a-gay-man-at-my-gym/

Now of course I have several things wrong with this article.. not the least the reaction of the muscle-bound narciscist who’d fat-shamed the author when he’d invited him to going him for a baseball game.

Not a date. Not sex. Not a romantic dinner for two.  A freakin’ baseball game.

Obviously, the author probably was hoping for more than just two ‘bros’ hanging out at the game, but that’s not the way it came across in his invitation.  He just seemed to be trying to be friendly.

And in my opinion, the author had every right to feel bad after the muscle guy tried to ‘fat-shame’ him.  And kudos to him for being able to shed about 100 lbs, and looking to work off a bit more.  It’s never an easy thing to do, and the older you get the harder it is to lose the weight.

Trust me on that one…

One thing I did have an issue with in the article is how the author seemed to buy into society’s view of what is healthy or fit or ‘fat’.  And from a chubby guy’s point of view, it’s like he’s ‘fat-shaming’ himself and anyone else who doesn’t have a trim waist.

He said he was 5’10” and about 200 lbs.. now while that isn’t what society considers as fit or standardly healthy, it isn’t obese either.  Or maybe he’s just going on what he feels is own ideal weight.

When I’d first opened this article, I was hoping for something a bit more enlightening surrounding the experience of being a bigger guy going to a gym.. but instead of being encouraging, the author just allowed himself to buy into the usual sterepotypes of gays in the gym – that they’re only there to hook up.

I’m sure a gym can be a very social place and a great way to meet new people, but if you’re there to focus on exercising, cruising the other guys isn’t going to help you meet your goals in the end.

But perhaps that’s my own insecurities surounding going to a gym getting the better of me.  I haven’t stepped inside a gym in about 3 years, and it had been a good decade before then…

I keep telling myself I’m going to join a gym to help boost my weight loss – especially as it’s ground to a halt after returning from holidays.  I have been trying to keep up my daily walking, with goals to hit 40 minutes or 6000 steps a day, whichever one comes first.

But that’s been a bit hit and miss most days, and my diet hasn’t exactly been the best either… but it’s not bad like it used to be, though I do have my days.  I seem to be alright throughout the day, especially at work, but at night the desire to snack kicks in.

It’s not like I don’t know what I need to do to lose the weight, or what foods I should or shouldn’t eat.  I think at times it’s more about will-power and the feeling like whatever I’m doing it isn’t making much of a difference.

It’s hard when you’re sitting there munching on celery and counting every calorie when the skinny people around you are chowing down on crisps or McDonalds with a care in the world.. and they never seem to gain a single pound.

(yes… I know it’s all about metabalisms and activity levels.. just venting my frustrations and how stressed it makes me.)

Before my holidays I’d lost about 25 lbs, and have surprisingly kept it off a month later which is fantastic.  My goal is to lose another 40 – 50 lbs, which would bring me back to the weight I was abpout 5 years ago.

Just wish there was an easier way to do it.. I hate going to a gym.

Damn, I’m lazy LOL

Taking the Plunge

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So.  After years of debating the idea, thinking it over, consulting my budget, and checking out websites, I have finally done it… I joined the gym.  😉

10-things-you-re-wasting-time-on-at-the-gym-1071855-OneByOneThe last time I’d had a gym membership was probably about 15 years ago back in a different time and a different place in my life.  I’d joined the gym down the street from the restaurant I was working at with a couple of friends, in the hope we’d motivate each other to go.  However, after a month I think I was the only one still going, and I only lasted a couple months myself before cancelling my membership.

So, now why have I suddenly got off my ass and joined the gym now after all of these years?

I’ve been telling myself for several years now that I was going to join the gym, especially when I was unemployed as that would give me something to do everyday, and would help increase my energy/endorphin levels.. and let’s be honest, probably would have helped me battle through the depression I’d gone through at the time.

And of course, my doctor has not-so-subtly suggested it on more than one occasion over the years as well.  Perhaps it was time I actually listened instead of trying to brush it off as something they say to anyone who’s a bit overweight.

I’ve decided that this is not about getting fit, though that would be great side effect.  It’s more about being and feeling healthier.  It has nothing to do with trying to change the way I look to find a boyfriend or more dates, or even to check out any cuties in the locker room (that’s a bonus, and possibly a story for another day hehehe).

Over the last six months or so, I’ve been regularly sick and feeling like crap despite trying to watch my diet (within reason) and making sure I eat my fruits and veggies.  I’ve gained even more weight (seems like that’s all I’ve done since moving to London..) and would like to lose it, but mostly I’m tired all the time and feel like I have no energy to do anything.  Which leads me to spending way too much time lazing on the sofa when I’m not at work…

sb10063469u-001I considered going to the budget gym near work as some of my coworkers go there, but instead chose to go to the Fitness First in Brixton, as a friend of mine goes there.  The hope is we’ll motivate each other to go more often since it’s on each of our ways home from work.

But at the same time, I need to make sure I motivate myself.

A couple weeks ago on Good Friday, I went with him as a guest to check the place out and see what it was like.  It’s not a huge gym by any means, but it seems clean enough, isn’t too crowded, and like I said, is part way between work and home (closer to work than home, but easy to get to from home).

So I tossed the idea around for a couple of weeks, and even went so far to look up whether my work’s health plan gives a discount (it does, but I found today it’s only for multi-site memberships.. which wasn’t mentioned on the website grrrr), and made a decision..

And off I went this afternoon to set up a membership.  I was initially thinking of just doing a 1 month membership to test out the waters, but in the end it was more expensive to do it that way.  So instead I went with a 4 month single-site membership (there’s no other locations nearby that I’d go to anyway), and had my first workout this afternoon.

Treadmills_at_gymOn both visits, I mostly stuck to the cardio machines – treadmill, stationary bike, and elliptical cross-trainer – and stayed clear of the weights area.. I don’t know why, but venturing into that part of the gym with all the muscle boys around kind of intimidates me for some reason.

I found out afterwards when chatting to my mate, I should have been given some kind of personal trainer session where they set a workout plan for me, but nothing was mentioned about it.  That could be because I paid the fees and wanted to go right in to work out.. maybe the next time I go they’ll do that.  And I’ll have to remember to ask as well.

And if it’s something I would have to pay extra for, then no bother.. I’m not looking to get ripped or defined in any sense, so just going to go and enjoy the facilities.

And maybe catch a little eye-candy in the locker room as well.  😉