Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Weight-ing Game

In the grand scheme of things, how much does one’s appearance matter? Not much. After all, the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7). I believe this with all my heart.

That said, how much does my own appearance matter to me at this stage of my life? It matters a great deal. Allow me to explain.

My 20th high school reunion was held just a couple of weeks ago. The former extrovert in me wanted to go. After all, I was one of the most popular kids in my class. I don’t say that to brag. But I made a concerted effort to get to know everyone back in the day. I had a passion for getting involved, making meaningful friendships, etc. Being reunited with my fellow Royals should’ve been the source of joy, nostalgia and sentimentality.

Instead, as the reunion approached, I felt anxiety, sadness, some depression and overall, I felt withdrawn. Was it because I was voted “Most Likely to Have Ten Kids” back then and there I was, a single, gay 38 year old man who only recently decided it was okay to give dating a try? Meh…maybe that was a small part of it. I didn't want to have to provide an explanation or make it okay for everyone. But I could've managed that just fine. Were there other sources of nervousness and trepidation that a lot of my other classmates felt? Of course there were. I think we all wonder if we’ve met the expectations our peers had/have of us. But that was fairly easy to put aside.

Ultimately, I didn’t go to my 20th high school reunion for one reason: Because of the way that I look.

Upon reflection, I’ve come to realize that I’ve said “No” to many things in my life because of my weight gain. In many ways, I’m still the same, confident Student Body Officer from high school who could strike up a conversation with anyone for any reason. But these days, when it comes to my approach on social things, I step back, I resist, I hide, I avoid, I make excuses, I say no.

I’ve never smoked, done drugs or been drunk. But I KNOW what it is to have an addiction, to “use”. As a teenager turning into an adult, I started turning to food to deal with some pretty intense sadness I was facing at the time. It altered the way I felt immediately. Instant gratification. Problem solved. Over a period of time, this has taken a toll on my body. I may not be morbidly obese, but still, I feel some level of shame. I acknowledge that this is one area of my life in which I’ve lost complete control. I gave up. I let life just happen. I didn’t take the reins. This is the source of some of my deepest pain and regret.

I promise I don’t have delusions of grandeur, but I fear that I let people down when they see me. I didn’t become who they wanted me to be. I didn’t meet their expectations. I'm not the shining light they once knew and admired. At the end of the day, I can put these feelings aside, but it still affects my ability to form new relationships even now. I’ve had guys want to meet or go on a date, and I’ve said no because I'm not more confident about my appearance. The biggest source of my pain in this area is inward. How I feel about myself.

As a gay Mormon dude who has recently decided to start dating men, this is a scary thing. I’m sure there are guys who could find me attractive just as I am, in my current state. After all, I can be physically attracted to men with a variety of builds and physiques. All in all, I think I’m a decent looking guy with a great smile, a deep capacity to love and understand and a fun personality and sense of humor. But, I realize and accept that there are other men who simply won’t give me a chance, based on the extra pounds I’m carrying. I don’t worry too much about that because those kinds of guys either need a partner with similar interests and priorities (no judgment), or they’re focused on things that don’t matter as much to me.

When it comes to dating and eventually finding a great guy to build a life with, I’m not so much paralyzed by whether my appearance is good enough for other guys. My debilitation in this area is more about not being comfortable in my own skin.

Being able to put my best self forward, projecting a positive self-image, not hiding anymore, being able to take off my shirt confidently, these things matter to me. Some people can exude such confidence at any weight. For me, I’ll admit, before I can become someone’s special someone, I need to love myself more and feel better about myself physically. Otherwise, I won’t be able to fully give myself to someone else. It’s not a shallow thing. This isn’t about caving in to the demands of society. This is all internal. I love who I am as a person, but this one area continues to haunt me and block me from achieving and having what I want most in life.

I’ve decided to do something about it. Today is the start of a 100-day countdown to Thanksgiving. I weighed myself this morning and I will weigh in again on November 26th, Thanksgiving Day. My start weight as of this morning is 225 lbs. In 100 days, I’d like to weigh 185 lbs. This is a loss of 40 lbs in 100 days. I think it’s a realistic goal. I’ll provide before and after pics at that time.

By the way, this isn't my top weight. I used to weigh 235, so I'm approaching that number. My larger goal is to get down to 155 lbs, but I’ll focus on that goal after the first 40 lbs goes away. The summary would be "I used to weigh 235, now I weigh 155." That's an 80-pound difference, so this current goal of 225 to 185 is a halfway goal of sorts.

I should be careful and state this: To all of my plus-size friends, I love you just the way you are. This is not a call to action to change who you are or to send a message that you’re not good enough. I’m not asking anyone else to change their appearance or subscribe to my approach. I'm also not suggesting that anyone who is overweight should have the same self-image issues I have.

This is all about my journey. Putting it out there for all of you to read will serve as a huge source of motivation for me. I’ve made goals before and haven’t accomplished them. But I've never been this open and honest before. This next-level approach is about being open, vulnerable and accountable. I’m asking for your support. 

It’s not just about the weight loss. It’s about addressing some long-standing self-image issues and facing the demons that led to my weight gain. I’m asking you to be a part of my journey as I strive to become the best “me” I can become.

Don’t worry. I’m all about improving myself spiritually, emotionally and mentally as well. Those areas will not be neglected. But I strongly feel that as I take control of my physical well-being, these other areas will improve drastically.


  1. Nate, to me you will always be the Nate we all love! If you loose a few or gain a few it doesn't change the awesome guy you already are. Maybe Ill jump on the weight loosing ban wagon. But Im not willing to do before and after pictures, sorry!

    1. Love you, Julie! Let's get a mini reunion set up around Christmas time!

  2. I think I can understand your thoughts on the subject. You want to have confidence, which is a trait your future partner should appreciate. But realistically, that's a lot to lose on that timeframe. You may be setting yourself up for failure if you make your goal to be number related. Focus on your behaviors. My work pays me a bonus to learn about health, so I've researched and implemented my findings. It's hard to do, and if you aren't making the progress you want, you may lose motivation and then get back to where you were. So, just be patient with the process. Be informed. If you are going to lift weights for your exercise, keep in mind muscle weighs more than fat. I am not trying to lecture, or take away your excitement. I want you to be happy and I hope these tips help.
    I think a man who is working on his goals is sexier than a man who is obsessed with something. So stay well balanced with this too.

    1. Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it! Will keep it in mind. Do I get to know who you are?

  3. Marianne, I just don't have an account lol