169 Pounds. And Growing.

June 15, 2013 at 2:13 AM | Posted in (All Posts) | Leave a comment
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I used to be someone who was deeply concerned about their weight. Coming from a family with a history of diabetes and other health problems, my fear was that I would balloon up naturally when I became an adult. I probably hit my last growth spurt during my junior year of high school, and ironically at that time I was also my heaviest. I recall going to the doctor for a checkup once around December of 2004 and clocking in at 17o pounds. I played sports throughout my entire life — mostly soccer, but usually during the winter season I wasn’t too active. I’d like to tell you this was 170 pounds of lean muscle that I stacked on to prepare for soccer season — but that’s not true. Even now I would not call myself that overweight — even some people said I looked healthy — but I wasn’t comfortable with myself.

I remember during that time going to a restaurant for take out and I ran into a friend going to a different high school. She told me, “I heard you gained weight. But you look great.” Even with the second half of that comment, it still dug into my self conscious high school self like a dagger. “I was overweight? How did this happen?” Of course I wasn’t — but anytime someone’s weight changes (for better or worse) people tend to notice.

I slowly dropped the weight during soccer season the next year and kept it off — but it didn’t stop. I was so self conscious from that single comment. Being the impressionable teen I was, I can recall being at the beach with my family after graduating high school. We were in a book store and I noticed two pretty attractive teenage girls holding a magazine with the “new” Justin Timberlake, right around his “Bringing Sexy Back” phase. They were just gushing at how attractive he was, and all I could notice was his ultra thin frame and tightly fit suit.

I decided at that moment I had to keep losing weight. Looking back, it was almost a sickness. In the middle of 2008, I was at my lowest weight in my adult life — 125 pounds. I thought I looked great, but my family was concerned. Anytime someone tries to make a healthy choice in their life and loses weight, I feel like those closest to you can be concerned. It’s almost admitting, “I’m not comfortable with who I was so I have to change.” But the truth was, I wasn’t confident even at that point. Being that thin — being able to fit into shorts with a waist size of 28 — it didn’t make me any happier in the long run.

But I did a lot of research during that time when I put the weight off. I learned a lot about basic nutrition — the importance of hitting the daily nutritional values and watching calories. I cut out regular soda and made a choice to only stick with diet drinks and water. Slowly they became lifestyle choices.

Yet — people can always learn more. Now here we are in 2013, and for the past year of my life I’ve tried to go in the opposite direction. I’ve become obsessed with weight lifting.

For the past 3 years or so I’ve floated around 140 to 15o pounds — but since I really started lifting regularly last October, I started to weigh myself less and less. I knew I was eating better and excising regularly, so worrying about the scale seemed less important.

Last week I was at my girlfriend’s home helping her clean a bit, and she pulled out their weight scale randomly and said she wanted to see how much I weighed. Instinctively I felt worried. The self conscious feelings I had registered with “a number on a scale” never quite went away. I resisted at first saying, “I don’t care about that anymore.” She kept pushing a bit, just saying she was curious. She knows how often I go to the gym and has seen old pictures of me — always complimenting me on the muscle I’ve put on — so I knew her intentions were good. Finally — I agreed and stepped on the scale.

The number was in kilograms (as the rest of the world seems to use that), but I pulled out my phone to convert the number into pounds.

169.

Exactly 169 pounds was the number it came out to be. And I felt so happy. I looked down my shirt a bit, seeing the figure of my abdominal muscles. I had a flashback to that junior year of high school when I was in the doctor’s office. At that time, I just dreamed of having a lot of muscle mass. I dreamed of having abs. And yet here I stand at 25-years-old — weighing nearly the exact same weight and feeling healthier than ever.

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^ A progress shot from last December. It’s quite blurry. But I still like it.

I’m not trying to pat my own back (no pun intended). I just feel proud of myself. Of course I don’t want to be settled. I want to keep packing on muscle. I like the way I eat now. I like my increased appetite. I like training with weights 6 days a week. I love riding my bike every day and breaking up a sweat. I like the way I live my life now. But I want to keep growing — both literally (in a physical way) and growing with my understanding of health.

Everyone likes to be a critic. Just the other day I ran into a teacher on the street. He saw me carrying my grocery bag full of peanuts, a bag of apples, a bottle of Coke Zero, and a box of takeout chicken. In a passive aggressive tone (and in Korean of course) he said, “You shouldn’t eat chicken every day.” I smiled back and politely responded by saying I agree. I wished him a good weekend and walked on. But the more I thought about it, it irritated me a bit.

I have a bit of an inferiority complex as it is. I have issues with myself. Which is why I am always trying to learn about my health and take better care of myself. I am proud of my body — but I don’t always carry myself in the ultra confident way. I don’t want to put anyone off and treat anyone like an asshole. But it irritates me when others pretend to be “health experts” when they are nothing of the sort.

I will be studying physical education at Keimyung University after I pass my language test. I admittedly am learning more and more every day, but I don’t criticize other’s lifestyles. I worry about those I care about. If I see a friend constantly drinking or not exercising enough, I worry — but I would never outright give them my advice on how they should life their life. So I expect other’s to do the same to me. If I want your input I will ask for it. Especially if you are someone who leads a life that I admire — like those who take care of themselves physically and mentally.

I realize (as usual) this is a bit scatter-brained. By now you should just be used to this. But I guess my final point is — I am proud of where I am. If I am one step better than the person I was yesterday — whether that’s learning Korean or pushing myself farther in the gym — I’m proud. And I make mistakes. I have a beer every now and then. I buy a Snickers once in a while. And I regret it — but I learn from it and try to keep pushing forward.

And someday I hope I can help others with their health and lifestyle.

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Thanks for reading. I do sincerely mean that. This website is more of a benefit for me than anyone else, but if anyone finds the slightest bit of enjoyment — it makes me tremendously happy.

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