If I were to write a letter to my teenage self, I would write, “Dear Andrew, Confidence has nothing to do with your outer appearance.”
I was a fat kid growing up. I don’t think I can deny that. In high school, I reached about 195 pounds. I honestly didn’t like what I saw. With social pressures that come with being a teenager, I had to make a change. I didn’t know where to start. In high school, I had a few overweight friends and we would laugh it off, creating parody songs about eating. When I graduated, those jolly feelings were just about gone.
My weight loss journey started when I received a Christmas gift from my dad. It was a gym membership. I told myself that I’d be focus on losing weight by just hitting the gym. I went to the gym every day. Sometimes twice a day. Losing weight was my only goal. Funny thing is I never changed by diet. I would go to the gym and then grab a burger at Carl’s Jr. The only way I knew how to lose the pounds was picking up the pounds.
Going to the gym soon turned into doing P90X workouts. It also turned into drinking a lot of protein shakes and taking weight loss pills. There was a time where I thought I couldn’t lose weight without either of those things. It was an unhealthy habit of eating like crap, but remedying with pills that I knew nothing about, pre-workout just about every day, and drinking synthetic protein.
Funny thing… it all worked. I went from 195 to 148 during my sophomore year of college. Nothing changed. I still felt insecure. Not that I was too fat, but I was too skinny. Now I had to bulk up. I wish back then that the pattern of getting small and getting big never lead me to become more confident. If anything it allowed me to be more insecure.
So I bulked up and I went back up to 180. Right at this time I felt fat, but it took some more years to realize that none of this really mattered. It took me a while to realize that confidence never started in the way I looked, but in the way I thought. If I took care of myself mentally and loved myself unconditionally, the way I look never really mattered. That came with maturation I guess.
Today, I’m still 180 pounds. I haven’t taken a sip of pre-workout in a few years. I don’t take any weight loss pills. My diet is so much better than it was before and I only go to the gym 3-4 times a week. I spend time meditating, doing yoga, or simply taking a walk. Sometimes doing nothing is productive. I’m getting older, which means I’m not as energetic as I used to. My hair is thinning. I basically just decided to shave my head 3 weeks ago.
With all this showing up in my outer exterior, I can basically say to you that I don’t care. I’m living now for longevity, health, and making my life and those around me better. I probably would have been better off if I chose this from the beginning. But that’s how you learn. This is how I learned to love myself.