BODDYBUILDING A BETTER SELF-ESTEEM
Growing up in a world where action figures, movie stars, and celebrities are advertised as individuals with nice bodies, and perfect physical attributes, I was very displeased with my physical appearance. All of my action figures had perfect bodies, all the wrestlers I enjoyed watching were in great shape, however, I was not. I was aware growing up I was out of shape, as people ensured they would always remind me.
I was always subject to names such as “fat ass, worthless, fatty, and wide load” it was such a common issue that I eventually accepted it, I started to believe I was worthless and fat. I grew up with the loitering fact that my body type was not accepted in society. I never had an image of me looking slim, or being in good shape. All the visions I had were consistent daily, I would never be accepted for my physical appearance.
One of the most used ammo with my bullies was my weight, it was a easy statement or attack. I remember this song in which most of us have probably heard “fatty fatty two by four, cannot fit through the bathroom or kitchen door.” I constantly had that song lingering through my mind daily, it was a thought that constantly haunted me daily.
Whenever people would sing the song to me I tried to make it less obvious it actually affected me, truly it always brought me to tears. To constantly be verbally attacked about my weight as a child was extremely effective in disallowing me any self-esteem.
How was I expected to lose weight as a young individual? I wasn’t involved in sports often, sure, I played soccer indoor and outdoor for a little while, I also was pretty active in play wrestling. However, never enough to lose weight and to keep the weight off.
I honestly was confused as to why I was being made fun of, and how I was going to be able to lose weight to stop the bullying. I couldn’t comprehend why I was so overweight until I realized how and what I was eating. Every weekend I would go to my best friends place and we would only eat pizza, and we would easily finish off a 24 pack of Cola in 2 days. However, I was only a child having fun and trying to enjoy the time I could smile.
You don’t think about weight issues when you’re a child, you only think of having fun. I can recall numerous nights dreaming of being in great shape so my bullies could leave me alone, however, the dreams only reminded me of reality. I was overweight.
It was in junior high where I realized just how overweight I was, I had a hard time enjoying gym class as my cardio was terrible. I would be out of breathe much faster than the average youth, thus allowing others more ammunition to use towards me. It was a vicious cycle, as the one way to lose weight I couldn’t even participate in without being made fun of. I literally didn’t know what to do accept to just accept it.
I would tell myself daily I was fat and wouldn’t ever amount to anything, as that’s truly how I felt. I have heard it so many times I was convinced it was true. I did not realize that soon enough I would find a solution to my issue.
When I began high school I was attracted to football, and figured I would sign up. I fell in love with football right off the bat, it became to be something I loved to do, and all while I was losing weight. I was able to let loose and use the physicality as a means to unleash some inner anger, it was the best of both worlds for me. I could have my cake and eat it too.
With the football season I lost some weight, and thus gained some self-esteem. I felt so great after football practice and games. I started to realize football was a huge positive in my life, and that I needed to try my hardest to get results. No matter how tired I was, I never gave up. Losing the weight and having fun meant so much to me, having self-confidence meant so much to me.
After the first season I noticed I lost a lot of weight, and the way I felt was amazing. To have some confidence after 11 years of having none, felt incredible. I noticed an immediate personality change in me. Sure, I was still bullied and still judged, however, I slowly stopped caring.
The second year of football wasn’t as great as the first, I suffered a dislocated shoulder in the jamboree game. My season was cut short, my game time was cut short, down to only playing two or three games. I didn’t know what to think as I knew I wasn’t going to be able to play, I was so scared I was going to gain the weight back.
After my shoulder injury I lost a lot of strength in it, I couldn’t even lift my sisters 8oz bottle without the shoulder dislocating. It sent me into a depression as I felt helpless. Thus allowing me reason to feel justified to return to bad eating habits. It wasn’t too long before I started to gain the weight back, and started to once again being aggressively bullied. The loss of football really upset me, and I couldn’t even workout at home due to how weak and damaged my shoulder was.
I was extremely upset daily and was once again lost. I knew the next season was upcoming and it would be my last football year. However, that thought just upset me more as I couldn’t even train for the following year.
However I still tried to workout from home, tried to do pushups and other at-home routines. No matter what I did it never worked out, my shoulder would either dislocate or just give out. I would lose all strength almost immediately. Once the shoulder would pop out it was a war of popping it back in. I would usually resort to banging it against a wall, as that was the most traditional way of popping it in. It always hurt more popping it back into place as opposed to popping out.
I gained the weight back as fast as I felt I lost it, it was such a heartbreaker. It was like I did a complete 180, to just do another 180 again back to square 1. I worked so hard to lose the weight, and it felt like in the end it didn’t even matter. It felt like a huge waste of time.
Throughout the summer leading into grade 12 I did absolutely nothing, no workouts, nothing. I just played video games and hung out with my one good friend. We just ate pizza and drank our cola. Just wasted time until the beginning of grade 12, waiting for the typical routine to begin.
I ended up joining the football team in grade 12 again as I just couldn’t resist. No matter how upset I was with the previous year my passion outweighed my hurt. I was hopeful for the last season, had plans to work as hard as I could. Something deep inside of me kicked me into full gear, I was revved up and ready to go.
My shoulder at this time didn’t feel 100%, and I knew it was messed up as I didn’t follow the physiotherapy I was instructed to complete. I didn’t care though, I went back onto the field in the Lacombe uniform. The first practice was rough, obviously as I did no cardio training since the last season over a year before.
My shoulder was painful as soon as I put on the shoulder pads, I didn’t care though. I just wanted to play football and lose the weight I foolishly gained over the year. We started practicing and I learned quickly how out of shape I truly was. I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me, I was determined nonetheless.
The first contact I made off the line with the offensive lineman absolutely reminded me of my shoulder injury, as it popped out immediately. I tried my hardest to hide what just happened, although how do you hide popping a shoulder back into place? My defensive coach immediately asked if I was ok, I foolishly said I was.
It was only three weeks in when I suffered a shoulder dislocation which called for emergency surgery in November. My entire arm went blue upon the dislocation, as I damaged nerves, ligaments, and tendons. As soon as my coach found this out I was put on the injured list for the rest of the year. My last year of football and I couldn’t even play half of it. It killed my self-esteem, once again I felt I was worthless, well, that word is very familiar.
Nonetheless I had surgery coming up, with that meant four months of recovery. Two months of which was in a sling, other two without. I remember I missed a month of school due to the medication I was prescribed. When I returned to school I was instructed to wear the sling for minimum two months. People were always asking me what happened, and I remember every time I had to answer I became very angered and irritable. The hardest part of the football year was our time in the locker room before our playoff game. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to play hurt me tremendously. Knowing I was only able to participate in the team chant and huddle, and not the game itself was extremely disheartening.
Grade 12 was a rough year for my weight issue, being my shoulder surgery and the reality I couldn’t even workout I gained weight back heavily. In grade 12 I easily weighed over 260lbs, I was a big guy some would say.
I once again had to struggle with my weight issue as I was medically unable to complete any exercises. I didn’t know how to lose weight unless I was working out. I tried to go for walks, runs, or bike rides, however the more depressed and angry I got, the more unmotivated I became. I was becoming someone I thought I would never be.
I struggled with my weight for years after high school, when I pursued my wrestling dream I was overweight, and I knew it would not be easy considering how physically demanding pro wrestling is. I pursued it when I was 19, before I headed down to Edmonton I hit the gym for a little while. I mostly did cardio due to my shoulder.
I was so excited to hit the ropes as my dream of wrestling was strong since I was four years old. It was a two day training course, I felt I was ready cardio wise. I was wrong. The training absolutely killed me, it was so strenuous and intense, even more so than football was.
The second day in (last day) I suffered a neck injury, which disallowed me further training in the gym or at home. I literally was unable to do anything. It put my wrestling on hold for a couple months. At this point in life I felt that as soon as I pursue a dream or a sport I get injured. It was apparent due to the pattern.
I took awhile off of wrestling and the gym to try and return later on, which was a foolish and illogical choice being I didn’t do any cardio training. I was in a rough spot, I physically couldn’t do workouts, however, at the same time I really wanted to wrestle. Therefore, I made the choice to hide behind a lie that I was ok and train anyway. Which in the long run proved to be of no assistance at all.
January 22nd, 2006 I had to walk away from the ring due to a serious concussion which had serious affects. Once again I felt I pursued a dream and suffered an injury. This was a permanent decision, where I knew I couldn’t pursue wrestling again. This sent me into a serious depression and suicidal thoughts for months.
I gained even more weight, and didn’t even see a reason to bother losing the weight. I was not in the mindset to even consider options to lose weight. To be honest I couldn’t care less. I was at such a low in my life that I didn’t care about my weight or how I looked. I ate what I wanted, drank what I wanted, I did what I felt I wanted to do.
I was so far down that I started to think of reasons and excuses to why I couldn’t work out, or make an attempt to workout. I was seriously depressed. I kept my feelings hidden deep inside, and whenever I was questioned to my weight I just ignored the person, and would become very ignorant and brash.
My attitude from 2006 on was negative, rough, juvenile, and very selfish. I didn’t have anything nice to say to anyone, I didn’t see a reason to be in a good mood, and very rarely would make any attempts to hangout with friends.
I was at this time in pursuit of my security career, which one would assume would be motivation enough to lose weight due to the job requirements at times, but not for me, I simply didn’t care. I had dreams at this time still, however, saw no real reason to why they would be reachable, or even remotely logical.
The mood I was in was terrible, looking back on it its very hard to believe I even allowed myself to get so low. However, that’s the thing with depression, you allow yourself to be easily convinced by yourself. No matter what others say it don’t matter, no matter what you say to yourself, it doesn’t matter. Due to your hurt and pain you have sabotaged yourself from ever thinking positive. No matter what you cannot seem to see any positive reason to care.
At this point I felt suicide was the only option to better my life, ironically. Then came the announcement I was going to be a father. Once I heard that I was very scared, as I still was going through adjusting to all my losses in life, that the reality knowing I was going to be a father worried me a little. Oddly enough that eventually went away as I began to become very excited.
The thought of being a father was awesome to me, I started to see a reason to feel happy and be positive, to be a good dad. It was a kick in the rear end I needed. Who knows where I would be today without that announcement.
I slowly started to return to the gym with my best friend. I started to go aggressively after a short while. I started to realize my love for the gym again. It was awesome, after years of pain and injury, and not knowing if I wanted to live or die, I was able to go to the gym.
Until the time I suffered another concussion, then another, and then another, finishing at fifteen in total. Every concussion I suffered it prolonged my recovery, thus further disallowing me gym time. I gained all my weight back again, and as of March 2011 I was well over 320lbs.
My last concussion resulted in mechanical migraines, dizzy spells, memory issues, vision issues, and the inability to stand balanced. To see I was over 320lbs was very painful, I was so embarrassed and so upset. With the events that were happening in my life at this time, I fell back into depression and once again considered suicidal thoughts. For about four months I was suicidal and depressed, everyone knew about my depression, however, none knew of my suicidal thoughts until after my rehab.
I was sent to rehab with amazing therapists at CNS, they assisted me with budgeting, dieting, and everyday living with my symptoms. I remember my first day in the gym, I was doing shoulder presses, and the therapist told me to start at 20lbs. I was seriously upset and angry, I remember I told her “20lbs? Are you serious? When I was wrestling I was easily pressing over 180lbs!”
She then told me I had to start fresh, start at the lowest weight possible, which was logically 20lbs. I went home and I cried due to how angry I was. I told myself I am done allowing my pain, injury, and depression take me over. I knew I was worth more, I knew I was stronger, and I knew I could be better. I was done with it all, I had enough, after years of depression and feeling weak I was fed up.
I remember my therapists were so frustrated with me, as I found it so hard to follow their requests in the gym. I was focused, I was driven, and I wasn’t going to allow myself to fail. If they told me only to lift 40lbs, I would bump it to 60lbs. It was a constant argument, until I told her I wont stop until I hit my goals that I set. She could either support those goals or let me be, as I am no longer waiting or wasting my time. I knew where I wanted to be, I knew how much weight I wanted to lose, and no one was slowing me down.
I was told the average recovery time for the stage of concussion I suffered was 6-9 months. I asked to be discharged at the five month mark. I hit all my goals, all of them. I started only being able to lift 20lbs, and finished lifting at over 100lbs. I doubled all their goals, and I did it as I told myself I could do better, I didn’t allow myself to accept less than what I wanted.
It wasn’t easy to get to the goals I wanted to hit, but I knew it wasn’t impossible. I worked hard, I always gave it all I could. I never would allow anyone to tell me “No, you cannot do that, no, you’re not allowed to do that.”
I became very focused and stubborn, and I didn’t let others try to deter me from my goals. There were times I was rude and very blunt, however, I did it as I wasn’t going to allow others to determine my success. I knew that was all on me, it was on me to either fail or succeed, and I sure as hell was not going to fail. Success was my only option. I was discharged from the rehab in September of 2011. As soon as I was discharged I began working. My therapists told me to take a easy part time job, I refused. I needed to be back to work full time, all I know is working. I am a worker, it is what I have always done.
Therefore, I started working at Totem lifting wood, drywall, concrete, roofing shingles, etc. A very physical job, I knew it was a risk, but a risk I needed to take. My shoulder was killing me, however, I trained myself to not allow the pain to control me, I now controlled my pain.
I quit Totem after two months due to schedule issues and some physical issues with my shoulder. I then began working where I am still, Future Shop. Shortly after starting working there I registered myself back into the gym.
I knew my weight was over 320lbs when I began rehab, when I finished I was around 290-300lbs. I then made the goal to drop weight down to 240lbs, that was my goal. I then researched on the internet and designed my own workout plan, a workout plan I shared with my cousin, sister-in-law, and girlfriend.
After roughly only three months into the workout I designed I saw great results. I dropped from between 290-300lbs down to around 270lbs. I was so happy with the results that I then used the workout in the gym along with weights.
The workout regiment I resorted to was extremely intense, basically at then end if I wasn’t sweating I wasn’t working hard enough. My shoulder was killing me as my arthritis and tendonitis would kick in, I just fought through it. To this day my shoulder still acts up, however, my will and focus is stronger than the pain.
I live by a saying my sensai taught me “pain is only weakness leaving the body”. I follow that saying to my death, as its such a powerful and true statement. Through changing my eating habits, and working very hard in the gym I hit my goal after nine months.
I dropped down from 320lbs to 235lbs within nine months! After all my depression, suicidal thoughts, bullying, and serious injuries I was finally able to say I did it, that I saw the mountain and finally choose to climb it. I learned through my life that our success is based upon our own work ethic. I learned that the only way to achieve any dreams or goals in life, it is on you to make the first move.
Through my life I went through all the bad so I can appreciate the good, I at first didn’t know if I would ever amount to anything, however, soon enough I learned my worth, as did all those who doubted me. When you set the goal, that’s the first step, the next step is actually pursuing it, the final step is achieving it. All three steps can only be done by YOU, no one else can do the step for you.
Someone might be able to help tie your shoes, however, you are the one who has to walk in them. The moment you realize your worth, is the moment you will own your life and who you want to be. Never let someone tell you no, or that you cannot do something. Look them in the eyes, smile, and then say “remember those words, as you’ll soon enough have to swallow them.”
You can hit your goals, this is why you set them. If you can close your eyes and see your dream, you can live it. The only difference between a dream and reality is how hard you are willing to work to get it. I knew I had to work hard, and I did. I had to work through arthritis, dizzy spells, migraines, sleep deprivation, and depression, but I did it. I know you can, and I know you will.
The only thing, the only person who can and will hold you back from your accomplishments is YOU. The moment you stop pointing fingers at everyone else, is the moment you will allow yourself motivation to move on. You can do it, and you will.
Positive results only come from positive thinking, negative results come from negative thinking. If you want positive change, then you need to put in positive work and mindset. The world isn’t going to just give you what you want, you are foolish to even assume it will. You get what you give in this world, if you want the best for you, then you have to give yourself the best. You must never settle for less of what you know you deserve, as the moment you do, is the moment where you’ll always accept the short straw.
You want success? You want happiness? You want positive results? Then you need to earn it, success never comes easy in this world. If you honestly feel you’ll wake up and all your dreams will be given to you, you’ll never achieve anything. You cannot catch a dream standing still, you can never hit top gear staying in neutral, and you can never climb that mountain staying on the ground.
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