The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Monday, February 17, 2014

You're Fat.


We give a lot of power to this word. So much that we even are afraid to use it. When I was at my heaviest, not many people called me fat (out of fear!) but would usually call me "big" or perhaps even "heavy."

It was only when I was a chunky little kid (before I had a giant growth spurt in middle school that stretched all my weight into a 6'4" frame) that cruel, thoughtless kids would call me fat. And it hurt my feelings, there is no doubt about it. I did not like being called names or singled out and still don't to this day. However, now that I'm a thinner dude, I can't tell if the word specifically hurt or just the idea of being singled out, made to feel like I was different and wrong for being so. 

Adults have more tact. Or at least we act as much professionally and socially in more civilized circles. The wave of political correctness that has swept our society has insured that those who are "fat" won't have to feel the burn of overweight humor without the sins of their enemies being punished. However, I wonder if it's this fear or hesitation of the word that gives it so much power. Or is it the thoughtless branding that we hand out to people. Frankly, we're all shades of fat. 

The Theory of Fat Relativity.

Now, before you lose your cool and start lambasting me, hear me out. You will always have fat on your body. If you didn't you would be dead. It takes professional body builders months to get their body fat percentages to 3-4%. So that means that if a body builder is 200 lbs, 6lbs of his body is composed of fat. (The horror.) And those guys are nearly walking skeletons. (The first time I heard the term "skinless" I nearly threw up in my mouth.)

Rob Riches, professional body builder and fitness model.

This is an extreme example, but relative to these bros, we're all fat. Being fat comes from comparison to others, ourselves or can often just be a state of mind. The term "I feel fat" really just stems from being bloated, lethargic and self conscious when your appearance is hardly that much different. Body builders cut down to 3% body fat then bulk back up to at most 15% body fat in the off season so they can push more weight in their workouts, recruit more muscle fiber so that when they cut down again they will be even more aesthetic. They look at pictures of themselves in the off season and think "Man, I'm fat." And, relative to the holocaust victim status they were before, yeah, they are fat.

Matt Ogus, natural body builder. Left is competition/photo shoot leanness, the right is bulking.

Still, people get upset (like reaaaally upset) if you say that you're fat or that you feel fat or remark that you're not 100% pleased with your appearance. (As if you have to be morbidly obese in order to use this term.) You should listen to your feelings. Your inner thoughts will tell you when you aren't pleased with your appearance. Now, before you starting making yourself puke, take a moment and understand why you feel this way and analyze a real plan that doesn't involve bodily harm to get you out of this mental funk. Sometimes its just as easy as not eating taco bell at 2am to make a person feel healthier, smarter, more powerful and thus "skinnier," even though they probably didn't lose that much weight. Sometimes it's more than just one pattern, sometimes its in your head, and sometimes you've got to undergo a transformation like Ol' Yeargain.

We give that word so much power over us and our feelings. Fat. I know, I know. We can't help the way we feel, but we can help the way we react. Making it a personal vendetta to remove all hate from the world by demonizing people who use derogatory terms is both exhausting and unhealthy to yourself and will only fuel the fire ugly people (emotionally and personality wise) live off of. The only person you can control is yourself, and the only people you can influence is those willing to listen to your sermon. (Remember "how to change others?)

There is no universal standard for being fat or even being unhealthy. One persons healthy is another persons sickly. What we need to do is decide to not let society tell us what "being fat" is and go by our own standards. Not the standards of your friends, family, loved ones, or what T.V and movies tell you. Find the weight and physical activity level you feel the most comfortable in and live it.

Now, that's for the standard person living average everyday life...If you're a performer, the standard has been set for you, and unfortunately, you often have to bend outside of your comfort level to meet those standards.

Expectations of Entertainment.

At one point it didn't matter how an actor looked without his shirt on, but those days are long gone. Today, you have to be the aesthetic of your type. If you can't match it, you've got to either change your body, change your type, or quit. The idea is to get your body to operate at a level where you can maintain that physique, but that's not always in the cards. In order to obtain these physiques some people choose to suffer a great deal for short periods of time to get the fast result, while others like to suffer just a little every day to maintain.

A compilation of Hollywood bros.

The issue comes when we blur the lines between entertainment and reality, creating unrealistic standards for ourselves and others. Most people aren't genetically gifted enough to maintain incredible (fitness model) physiques year round without the aid of drugs. That's the reality of it. Most people can obtain incredible physiques, but the difficulty of training and the pressures of diet combined with real world temptations make it very implausible to maintain. (That's honestly half the fun for me, though. Transforming and becoming another human being. Its sick, I know.)

Your industry will set standards that you have to live up to. Its unfair, and it sucks, and sometimes its down right mean, but that's the career you have chosen. Lots of kids want to grow up to be basketball stars, but so few of them are genetically inclined to be successful enough to do it successfully that it makes me sad. But what can you do? Lower the standards? Why should you? There are people that are capable of doing it all. Call them lucky, call them gifted, undersell their success all you want, but they are where they are for a reason. The minute you know that reason, the better you'll be and the sooner you'll understand how you can get yourself there.

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