This Melissa McCarthy Story Just Might (Maybe? Possibly?) Cheer You Up
Melissa McCarthy was hovering six feet above Los Angeles, in a glass tube, wearing a helmet and goggles.
Just when you thought you couldn’t adore her more.
There is no non-wanky way to sign off an email, study finds
THERE is no way to end an email that does not make you sound like a bit of a twat, it has been confirmed. The Institute for Studies found all email sign-offs suffered from problems such as being weirdly matey, passive-aggressive or sternly formal like a threatening letter from a bank.
Thanks. Sincerely, with regards.
The Denial Diaries: On #MeToo Men With No Self-Awareness
Dan Harmon had no plans to say anything about the way he had treated Megan Ganz. But then, in January, the writer who used to work for him on “Community” accused him of sexual harassment on Twitter.
My biggest bug-bear/pet peeve. Lack of self-awareness. Ugh.
Should I get a tattoo? You asked Google – here’s the answer
I got my first tattoo 14 months ago. I see it every day except when I am especially absentminded in washing myself. Yet, still, the sight of it takes me by surprise. Almost 20% of Britons aged 18 and over are estimated to have a tattoo. Among 25- to 39-year-olds it could be as high as 30%.
Yes. Life is too short. Just get the damn thing already.
The world’s longest and shortest flights, compared
A new record was set earlier this month with a flight that links Singapore with New York. Reviews suggest that traversing 10,400 miles (16,700 km) and 12 time zones in 19 hours is not all that bad.
19 hours on a plane. Double ugh. I’ll take the short trip every time thanks (whaddya mean, what about the planet?)
How Men Can Become Better Allies to Women
Women’s conferences and employee resource groups (ERGs) are increasingly inviting men to attend. By creating events aimed at men, they hope to include men in discussions around gender equity in the workplace, and make organizational diversity efforts more successful.
More talk is much needed. Presuming the men are listening.
Hong Kong-Zhuhai bridge: World’s longest sea bridge in pictures
The 55km bridge and tunnel linking Hong Kong to mainland China via Macau has opened, years late.
A bridge that is a tunnel that is a bridge, with man-made islands. Wow. Disaster movie waiting to happen?
Joachim Ronneberg: Norwegian who thwarted Nazi nuclear plan dies
Joachim Ronneberg, the Norwegian resistance fighter who sabotaged Nazi Germany’s nuclear weapons ambitions during World War Two, has died aged 99. In 1943, he led a top-secret raid on a heavily-guarded plant in Norway’s southern region of Telemark.
Proper legendary hero.
100 Websites That Shaped The Internet As We Know It
The World Wide Web is officially old enough for us judge what it’s produced. That’s right, it’s time for the world to start building a canon of the most significant websites of all time, and the Gizmodo staff has opinions. What does a spot on this list mean? It certainly doesn’t mean best.
Wow. I remember all of these. Christ, I’m old.
Thousands Of Swedes Are Inserting Microchips Under Their Skin
Technology continues to get closer and closer to our bodies, from the phones in our pockets to the smartwatches on our wrists. Now, for some people, it’s getting under their skin. In Sweden, a country rich with technological advancement, thousands have had microchips inserted into their hands.
Geek G says yes. Privacy G says no.
Superfoods Are a Marketing Ploy
Regardless of who issues them, guidelines for health promotion and disease prevention universally recommend diets that are largely plant-based, meaning those that include plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and nuts.
Once again, everything in moderation seems to be the key. Ignore the hype.
#MeToo Brought Down 201 Powerful Men. Nearly Half of Their Replacements Are Women.
They had often gotten away with it for years, and for those they harassed, it seemed as if the perpetrators would never pay any consequences. Then came the report that detailed Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assaults and harassment, and his fall from Hollywood’s heights.
Progress. Sort of. More needed!
Nasa photographs rectangular iceberg
Nasa has released a striking photo of a rectangular iceberg floating in the Weddell Sea off Antarctica. The US space agency said the object’s sharp angles and flat surface suggested it had recently broken away from an ice shelf.
Dear nature, stop showing off!
Doctors in Montreal will start prescribing visits to the art museum
Laughter may be the best medicine but culture works wonders for health as well. That’s the thinking driving a new initiative in Montreal, Canada, where doctors will be able to prescribe free art museum visits to patients with a range of ailments, from depression to diabetes to chronic illnesses.
Come to Scotland! Our museums are free all the time!!
My daughter comes home from school at least once a week and announces to me that no one likes her. She has done something that is too weird, or bold, or has said a thing with which others disagree. She has had to sit alone during lunch or play alone during recess.
It’s a strange trait but one I recognise. Am I likeable? Are you?
Her words caught me from behind. She’d been there for a while—maybe three or four miles—tailing me at distance that violated every tenet of basic running etiquette. As my pace had slackened, hers had remained annoyingly constant, a light pitter-pat on the San Diego boardwalk.
You never know what other people are going through. Don’t presume.
The Embarrassing Private Languages of Couples
Welcome to It’s Complicated, stories on the sometimes frustrating, sometimes confusing, always engrossing subject of modern relationships.
Why embarassing? Embrace the silly people, EMBRACE THE SILLY!
Why you should give money directly and unconditionally to homeless people
Who are you to judge what they do with that cash?
Long been my opinion. A good articulation of why you should stop thinking beyond the act of helping another human being.
In Japan, the Kit Kat Isn’t Just a Chocolate. It’s an Obsession.
The seven-story Don Quijote megastore in the Shibuya district of Tokyo is open 24 hours a day, but it’s hard to say when it’s rush hour, because there’s always a rush.
Been lucky enough to try a few of these, wasabi Kit-Kat was surprisingly tasty!
Should a self-driving car kill the baby or the grandma? Depends on where you’re from
In 2014 researchers at the MIT Media Lab designed an experiment called Moral Machine. The idea was to create a game-like platform that would crowdsource people’s decisions on how self-driving cars should prioritize lives in different variations of the “trolley problem”.
As played out in an episode of The Good Place. Who would you choose to die?
Month: October 2018
If you’ve not heard of them, then sod off and give them a listen as a lot of what I’m about to write won’t make much sense if you haven’t heard their music and ideologies.
Done? OK good.
When you tell people you are off to a gig at the weekend, people always ask you to describe the band, ‘what are they like?’ they ask.It’s almost always something I answer with a series of comparisons; they are bit like x with a hint of Y and the attitude of Z. That kind of thing…
Yet the best description I can come up with to describe Idles isn’t based on comparing them to anyone as that would be selling them short. The simple description is that they produce ‘angry caring punk rock’ (I’d say their closest bedfellows at the moment are the Sleaford Mods) and ever since hearing Divide & Conquer from their first album earlier this year, they’ve slowly creeped further and further up my playlist. So, with a second album out and a tour announced that was stopping in Glasgow, I quite happily double booked myself and missed out on Superorganism (I’ll catch them again I hope) to head to the QMU for a night of loud, thumping, powerful music. Expectations were high.
From the punk rock side, Idles are a full-on, thrashing guitars, mosh-pit inducing force of nature, with so much energy coming from the stage that you can’t help but get carried along with everyone else – literally in many cases, as I’ve not seen that much crowd surfing for a long time – and get sucked in to the moment time and time again. It’s probably telling that there was very little chatting going on less you miss a second of the visual and sonic explosions that were continually fired from the stage. This band is TIGHT as well, and with a growling, punching, wound up singer up front, backed by two crowd surfing guitarists and a rhythm section that was on it from the second the stepped on stage, it’s safe to say that these geezers work damn hard to deliver.
Lyrically, Idles explore all topics with deep passion, ranging from anger at the dismantling of the NHS and the way immigrants are treated in this country, through to mourning for the loss of loved ones, the depressed, the stillborn and more. Yet it’s the passion and love that comes through at all times. Railing against the establishment is not new, but the confirmation of the strength of ‘us’, of how much better life would be if there was more compassion in the world is what comes across in droves.
At times we are right to be angry, and Idles encourage that anger, that rebellion against the big money that drives our world. The best way to scare a Tory is to read and get rich, they say, to a packed audience in a vocal student union venue, and with a united roar we all responded, and little by little, faith in the future of humanity was restored.
Expectations met, and then some.
The banana is dying. The race is on to reinvent it before it’s too late
During the summer of 1989, Randy Ploetz was in his laboratory just south of Miami, when he received a package from Taiwan.
I can’t imagine NOT having bananas.
That Time Coca-Cola Released a New Soda Just to Spite Pepsi
Few companies have a rivalry as fierce and longstanding as PepsiCo and Coca-Cola and in their never ending battle for soda market dominance each company has gone to some spectacular lengths to screw over the other.
I find this all the more amusing given I mostly drink water these days (yeah, I’m on my high horse, what of it?!)
Nationalism Isn’t Patriotism
At a time when fascism & authoritarianism are creeping into the global politics of the developed world, it’s useful for us to reacquaint ourselves with the difference between nationalism and patriotism.
As the rise of nationalism increases, this is vital to know.
This Man Says the Mind Has No Depths
A whole lot of books on the brain are published these days and you can read yourself into a coma trying to make sense of their various messages. So it was with my usual low-burn curiosity that I starting reading The Mind Is Flat by British behavioral scientist Nick Chater.
The human mind is endlessly fascinating.
1) The one where Chequers proves unexpectedly workable. 2) The one where furiously redrafted technobabble saves the day. 3) The one where a digital workaround for frictionless trade solves everything.
It gets better/worse as it goes.
Sugar Boat shipwreck: The River Clyde’s unlikely landmark
For more than 40 years its rusting hulk has risen, whale-like, from the waters of the River Clyde. But what is the story of the “Sugar Boat”? On the night of 27 January 1974 fierce winds were battering Scotland’s west coast.
A local feature that I knew little about, love me some local history.
Surfing Life Force
“Going with the flow is responding to cues from the universe. When you go with the flow, you’re surfing life force. It’s about wakeful trust and total collaboration with what’s showing up for you.” – Danielle LaPorte
Go with the flow.
Living with Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton was one of two women I learned to admire growing up in East Tennessee. The other was Pat Summitt, head coach of the Lady Volunteers, the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team. One flamboyantly female, the other a masculine woman.
The Japanese Man Who Saved 6,000 Jews With His Handwriting
“Even a hunter cannot kill a bird that flies to him for refuge.” This Samurai maxim inspired one gifted and courageous man to save thousands of people in defiance of his government and at the cost of his career.
The lost art of concentration: being distracted in a digital world
It is difficult to imagine life before our personal and professional worlds were so dominated and “switched on” via smartphones and the other devices that make us accessible and, crucially, so easily distractible and interruptible every second of the day.
It’s possibly telling that I’m still struggling to get back into reading books, but can read articles about why that would be good for me….
Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch Puppeteer Caroll Spinney Retires After Nearly 50 Years on ‘Sesame Street’
Puppeteer Caroll Spinney is hanging up his feathers after bringing beloved “Sesame Street” character Big Bird to life for nearly 50 years. The cast member of the long-running children’s show is also the man behind Oscar the Grouch.
Without Oscar I think Sesame Street would’ve all been too twee. I do love a good grouch.
Social robots will become family members in the homes of the future
I first became fascinated by robots as a child while watching Star Wars. To me, R2D2 and C3PO were about so much more than just the novel, futuristic cool-factor—they were genuine friends and companions to the human characters, and even to each other.
The utopian future. Robot & Frank anyone? (great movie!)
This Is Your Brain on Nature
When you head out to the desert, David Strayer is the kind of man you want behind the wheel. He never texts or talks on the phone while driving. He doesn’t even approve of eating in the car.
“Everything is Waiting for You” by David Whyte
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The Rise of Netflix Competitors Has Pushed Consumers Back Toward Piracy
A new study shows that after years of declines, BitTorrent usage and piracy is on the rise again. The culprit: an increase in exclusivity deals that force subscribers to hunt and peck among a myriad of streaming services to actually find the content they’re looking for.
The 20 Best iPhone Apps Updated for iOS 12
Every year, Apple adds new and interesting developer features to iOS. And iOS 12 is no exception. In fact, the new iOS 12 features for third-party apps will make power users quite happy.
What These 6 Common Food Cravings Are Trying to Tell You
4 Craving Fried Foods? You May Need Essential Fatty Acids When it comes to craving greasy or fried food, a deficiency in EFAs (essential fatty acids) is usually the culprit, says naturopath Dr. Sally Warren.
You’re Only As Old As You Feel: The Research of Harvard Psychologist Ellen Langer Shows Why Age May Be a Mindset
You’re only as old as you feel, right? The platitude may be true. In a scientifically verifiable sense, “feeling”—a state of mind—may not only determine psychological well-being but physical health as well, including the natural aging processes of the body.
People Who Are Good For You
“When you connect with people who are good for you, you feel it.This is a big deal. Don’t forget to acknowledge how great it is to be around someone who lights you up. Tell them, even if you feel a little weird. Your people love your weirdness.” From here.
- 20+ Badass Trees That Refuse To Die No Matter What
- Horror Movies
Fashion & Sustainability: my mindful manifesto
Sustainability can seem like such a huge subject, that it’s easy to become overwhelmed and wonder what on earth you can do that will possibly make a difference.
The Dad-Joke Doctrine
Every time we drive through farm country in my dad’s home state of Indiana, we know it’s coming.
4 big takeaways from the UN’s alarming climate change report
The new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, is out.
How self-love got out of control
Once upon a time, Love Island contestant Adam Collard would simply have been called a player.
Why you have (probably) already bought your last car
I’m guessing you are scoffing in disbelief at the very suggestion of this article, but bear with me.
26 Paper Engineers From Around the World Turned the Alphabet Into a Limited Edition Book
The Movable Books Society, a non-profit organization of pop-up book professionals and enthusiasts, recently released a collection of pop-up cards dedicated to the alphabet.
Kurt Vile Abides
Follow a long strip of one-lane blacktop through the woods off New York State Route 28 and you’ll find a spooky old estate called Big Indian Springs.
Why It’s Essential To Find Humor During Your Darkest Hours
“A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing.” ~Laura Ingalls Wilder During my pregnancy with my second daughter, Grace, a routine scan showed that the baby had a rare and serious heart defect.
Kitchen machismo off the menu as female chefs blaze a trail in Scotland
Julie Lin MacLeod worked in male-led kitchens for years, and her experiences there – inappropriate sexual advances among them – served as motivation to open her own place, one that would be run by women.
Some of the best eateries in Glasgow on this list.
5 Psychological Strategies to Ease the Stress of Perfectionism
The last three months I’ve been trying an experiment. It’s something that I’ve never done before, and in a certain way, it’s been a huge challenge. However, in other ways, it’s been an enormous stress relief, and I would say a largely successful effort.
Read for myself, sharing for others.
‘I have an appetite for transgressive women’
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is sitting in an upmarket restaurant, asking me to teach her how to burp at will. “I can’t armpit fart and I can’t fake burp, and I think that’s a tragedy,” she says. We met about five minutes ago; I’m not quite sure how we reached this point.
Killing Eve was superb. Prompted another rewatch of Fleabag which still delivers.
Why You Should Surround Yourself With More Books Than You’ll Ever Have Time to Read
Not sure I fully agree but I get the sentiment.
Why we don’t have to attend every drama we are invited to
This week I lost my purse. It had all the stuff your purse usually has in it – bank cards, credit card, driving licence, loyalty cards, stamps (how retro), photos and £50 cash. I was gutted. Gutted I’d have to cancel all my cards. Gutted that I had cash on me when I rarely do.
Step away from the drama! (life rule 592)
One Small Step for the Web…
I’ve always believed the web is for everyone. That’s why I and others fight fiercely to protect it. The changes we’ve managed to bring have created a better and more connected world.
Will be following this with a lot of interest. Everything has to start small.
You Should Be Eating Pie for Breakfast
From the moment it opens at 8 a.m. every day, customers flood Chicago’s Bang Bang Pie shop, drawn in by the smell of browned butter and toasted sugar. On a recent morning, peach raspberry was moving fast, as were slices of apple spiked with a slash of cider and baked in a graham flour crust.
Not actually read this one, just going with the headline!!
Students raise money to send a janitor on the first vacation he’s had in almost a decade
Custodian Herman Gordon has been spreading kindness at Bristol University for more than 11 years. This summer, students of the UK university decided it was time to return the favor.
The Joy of Experiencing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody for the Very First Time: Watch Three Reaction Videos
Remember when you first encountered Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”? I suspect many of us don’t. It’s not the Kennedy assassination.
Wow. I’d love to be able to go back and do something like this.
Hip Hop Fan Freaks Out When He Hears Rage Against the Machine’s Debut Album for the Very First Time
I consider myself lucky to have been a child of the nineties. As you know from Portlandia’s tribute to the decade of slack, it was a time when “people were content to be unambitious and sleep to 11 and just hang out with their friends.
As per above. This is why I keep going to gigs, why I seek out new music. I want THOSE moments.
For the last 5 months or so, I have been doing some long hard thinking about who I am, something that I probably should have confronted years ago, but somehow managed to bury deep until this year.
Feelings. All of them!
An In-Depth Explanation of Computational Photography on the iPhone XS
Outside of Apple employees, one of the people most knowledgeable about the iPhone’s camera is Sebastiaan de With, designer of the manual camera app Halide. It is fitting, then, that Sebastiaan would publish what I believe is the best explanation of the iPhone XS camera system to date.
Geek time. I’ve not yet stretched the XS camera but planning to this very weekend.
Raised by YouTube
The platform’s entertainment for children is weirder—and more globalized—than adults could have expected. ChuChu TV, the company responsible for some of the most widely viewed toddler content on YouTube, has a suitably cute origin story.
Good that it’s global and multi-culture based. Bad in terms of extended ‘screentime’.
Britons Among First to Try Out Carlsberg With Much Less Plastic
In its effort to use less plastic in its products, Carlsberg A/S will start gluing together the beer cans it sells in six-packs around the world.
Great idea. Probably not the best lager in the world though, eh.
Comedian Shares Stories Of All The Times She Didn’t Encounter A Rapist
The investigation into sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have been really hard to watch.
More men need to read this. Strike that, more men need to UNDERSTAND this.
This is insane. Amazing. But insane.
Why are Apple Watch faces such a mess?
The state of the Apple Watch is good. Tim Cook continues to hail its popularity, albeit without any hard sales figures. Most pundits felt it outshined the iPhone at last month’s Apple media event. The new Apple Watch Series 4 seems to have been received well by reviewers.
Could not agree more. Hopefully it’s only a matter of time but, given their track record, I’m not holding my breath (this would be an entire OS upgrade I reckon.
Neal Preston’s best photograph: Robert Plant catches a dove
As far as I know, I’m the only person ever to be Led Zeppelin’s tour photographer. I was just 22 and knew a plum job when it landed on my lap.
I stepped out of the shower the other morning, dried myself off, wrapped the towel round my waist and turned to face the sink. I reached up to retrieve my electric toothbrush from it’s charging point and caught my reflection in the mirror.
I don’t really look at myself all that often, I’m not exactly my greatest fan in that respect; I’m all too aware and disapproving of my shape so I don’t tend to dwell on my appearance as all I ever really see is a fat man staring back at me. I know I’m not as fat as I think I am, but there’s one part of my body that I struggle with, all the more now that I’m seeing the difference that a year at the gym has brought to the rest of my body.
So let’s focus on that for a minute, the good stuff, if you’ll excuse the vanity (and believe me, this is more of an effort for me to write than it is for you to skim-read).
For one thing, my arms have definition; my forearms actually have visible muscles, and my neck and shoulders have some new lumps and bumps. I can see the difference in my back and my legs, that walking challenge earlier in the year has definitely helped with the latter (1 million steps in two months, boom!).
Mind you, I’ve always been happy with my legs and still have fond memories of being complimented on them when I was at school (I can’t remember who said it but I’m sure it really did happen). It’s perhaps telling that the last compliment on my physique that I have stored is from when I wasn’t even aware of the term body dysmorphia. No doubt there have been other compliments, but they’ve never ‘landed’ with me which is an issue and part of my problem.
A few years ago I was at a charity burlesque/cabaret show. I knew many of the people there, both performing and attending, and felt comfortable in that company. As it was for charity there was a raffle and I won a prize. A pair of sequinned nipple tassles no less! As I walked up to graciously accept them, someone shouted that I should put them on, specifically that I should take my shirt off and put them on. The terror that gripped me was immediate. The thought of taking my shirt off was too much, I tried my best to laugh it off but it ended up ruining the rest of the evening for me and I left early.
I always knew my weight was an issue, a burden on my mental health, but that was probably the most visceral example of how much it preyed on my mind. And looking back from that point I realised that it’s ALWAYS been ‘a thing’, even as a kid I knew I was fat, or at the very least chubby. Other boys in gym class had flat chests and stomachs, some had definition in the arms and chest. I had neither, I was always a little heavy around the middle. Yet looking back at photos suggest I was pretty average size wise but my (self sabotaging) memory suggests I was, and always have been, fat.
With a father who was a PE teacher I had plenty of resources available to try and understand why my body looked a little different to so many of my friends. In one school of thought my body is a classic Endomorph; “Big, high body fat, often pear-shaped, with a high tendency to store body fat.”
And where does my body store all that fat? Around my belly. No getting away from it, no matter how I try and hide it, I have a classic ‘beer belly’. I am fat. I am fat and no matter what I try and do, how I try and shy away from it, how I try to cover it up, it’s immediately what I think of when anyone asks me to describe my body… right before I change the subject completely.
My self-image has been present so long that I barely even register it as something I can change. It’s who I am, after all, right? I’m fat, always have been, always will be? Yet I go to the gym, I try and eat better, I know that more calories out than in will help me lose weight, I know the benefits of building muscle, the benefits of cardio, the best way to perform exercise x, the proper technique for exercise y (regardless of whether I can actually do it or not), but always, ALWAYS, in the back of my brain I’m just that fat kid that got picked on (ohhh did I not mention that bit?).
Having this as a constant state of thought permeates everything, every single day. From the clothes I wear (shirts that bulge open mean I’m more frequently found in shirts that are a size too big or t-shirts), to what I eat (look at that fat guy eating THAT, no wonder he’s so fat!), to how I hold myself when I walk (if I stand tall maybe people will notice my height first?).
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not debilitating, it’s not stopping me living my life but it is always, ALWAYS there.
And believe me, intellectually, I’m aware my entire body image is skewed. Take, as an example, this question Lynsay poses at the end of her post “what is your favourite body part?”. My first answer, the one that popped straight into my head was ‘my legs’. Which is a great answer, until you ask me why.
“Because they aren’t fat”
Walking home through the parks of Glasgow this past summer, I saw plenty of men employing the now popular vernacular ‘taps aff’ approach to the sunshine. I envy them their freedom and ease, their glib disregard of what others think as they are safe in the knowledge (presumably) that they conform, that they are the “right shape”; there is no shame in their smooth hairless stomachs.
That’s another thing, hair. I don’t really care that I’m balding, nor that I have a hairy chest, but a hairy back seems to be a bad thing and whilst it doesn’t bother me day to day, I wonder how much of my dislike of that aspect of myself is borne from hearing and seeing reactions to it on TV or social media.
But hey, I could shave my back, right?
Equally I could just lose some weight, right? It’s not like I don’t know HOW but in the litany of failures that make up my life, it’s the one that has remained for the longest time. I don’t mind that I’ve failed at many things in the past as I’ve learned a lot about myself by doing so, but being fat is a permanent state, a futile exercise (pun intended).
And so it starts to self-perpetuate. I get upset and annoyed that I’m fat and turn to food for solace. What harm is a bar or two of chocolate, or a share bag of Doritos… and is it really bad if I have pizza for a dinner twice a week?
And there you have it, my body confidence is low all the time, not because I’m bald, not because my beard is more grey than any other colour these days, not because I’m getting an inordinate amount of hair growing out of my ears (why!), not because I’m unfit and can’t touch my toes, but because I am and always have been fat.
It doesn’t seem to matter that I go to the gym three times a week and push myself hard, it doesn’t seem to matter that I can see the progress I’ve made there, that I can lift more, do more, push myself further than before.
All I have to do is look down at my stomach. I am fat.
Body positivity is a wonderful WONDERFUL thing, and some days I will say that I don’t care I’m fat and almost mean it, but not quite, not completely. No matter how many calories I burn at the gym, no matter how many compliments are given, none of that will really matter until I’m happy with me. I’d love not to care, but I do.
My body is weird but I’m not quite able to admit that it’s cool.
But that’s changing.
Ultimately I want to learn to be comfortable with my body, I want to get to a place where I can look at myself in the mirror and be happy with what I see and for me, that means losing some weight. I’m never gonna be the type of guy who is ‘ripped’ with a well chiselled 6-pack, but I’m pretty sure I can at least be a guy who isn’t ‘fat’ (for my own interpretation of ‘fat’ obvs).
On the flipside, why is being ripped and toned with hardly any body fat the image I have of a ‘healthy’ me? I know it’s not realistic for me, but that is the image being pushed and peddled by Mens Health and the myriad of health based adverts thrust into my social media feeds – ever seen an exercise app advertised by someone who clearly already spends most of their life working out? Show me a fat man doing the exercises suggested please. ‘Now bend and touch your toes’… I can’t my belly gets in the way, gahhhh!!!
When I first started going to the gym it was to lose weight and to ‘get fit’ (whatever that means), I set out a long-term goal to hit my target weight and a short-term goal to be able to do 10 push ups as I couldn’t even do 1. Pretty good goals, right? Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and loosely time based.
Well perhaps not as, over a year later, that long-term goal is still there I’m still not getting close to it. I’ve gotten close before, just by reducing my calories and I’ll be the first to admit I could be better with my diet but my weight remains roughly where it is despite all that effort at the gym, and generally being way more active this year over last. Mind you, I can now do 10 push ups, so that’s good!
Let’s look at the facts. I currently weigh about 107kgs (16st 8lb). That target was 95kg (just under 15st). The lightest I’ve ever been is 96.6kg for reference. Looking at the trend of my weight over the past two years is pretty much a flat line. So clearly focussing on my weight isn’t working, so maybe it’s time for a new long-term goal.
Ultimately I want to look in a mirror and be happy with what I see. And truth be told, aside from that fat beer belly, I can see that my body is changing. I can see the muscles developing on my arms, shoulders and neck, I can see my face is less chubby, my man boobs are now starting to look more like pectoral muscles than A-cups.
Additionally I know my overall fitness is improving. Sure I still get out of breath climbing the stairs but I recover a LOT faster. 10 push ups? Easy! I can deadlift and squat more than my bodyweight, and my bench press is getting close to that ‘bodyweight’ goal as well.
On top of that I feel healthier, I don’t really get ill too much, I’m more flexible and I’m generally starting to feel a lot more positive about this weird body of mine, starting to accept it a little more, starting to appreciate it.
AND – hold the front page – I’m getting the odd compliment here and there so I guess I must be doing something right.
Yet that fat belly remains but it is going. Slowly, for sure, but it’s going.
I’d love to be able to accept my body as it is today, and I think that time is getting closer but it’s not quite here yet. Somewhere there is a graph that charts my changing physique to my acceptance of my body as part of who I am but I can’t quite see where those points cross so, until they do, I’ll just continue to keep on working on it.
Perhaps it is those little changes and the work I’m putting that is actually what is important, perhaps the fact I’m still going to the gym, and still working on ‘me’ is actually more important than the end result itself. I’d like to be the case but it isn’t yet, not quite. But that’s ultimately the goal, to get to a point where I accept my weird body, to get to a point where the end result isn’t what matters, where I’m looking after myself well, eating well, exercising enough and enjoying life to the fullest.
The good part is that it finally feels like that time is getting closer. I don’t think it’s anywhere near. Realistically that target weight is still in my head so until I get to that I won’t be able to know if it’s enough, or not. Yet the signs are there that things are changing.
I’ve not been at the gym this past couple of weeks as I injured my back, nothing too serious but it needs rest. I’m annoyed and frustrated that I can’t work out. That is not the Gordon of a few years ago. Equally in the past I’d have reverted to my comfort eating habits but that doesn’t seem to be happening this time. I’m far more conscious of eating healthily whilst I recuperate, which is not something that would have happened in the past.
Baby steps perhaps but it makes me believe that one day I won’t see myself as just that fat guy in the mirror. One day I’ll see myself without quite so many flaws.
There is one final thing, one final realisation I’ve had recently, that suggests that my own internal thinking may be changing, that I might be starting to feel more confident about my body, that I might be making my peace with it. It’s something I know has helped me with other things in the past, helped me process them. I do a lot of it, but not all of it is shared here; the simple act of writing down your thoughts and confronting them is one thing, sharing those thoughts with others is quite another. So the fact I feel comfortable doing the latter means, hopefully, things are changing.
Thank you for reading.