Man vs mirror

2011-11-05 15:41

Obsession with body size and image is not only the preserve of women.

I’ve been conscious of my weight ever since I can remember.

Growing up skinny, especially in an extended family where no one else was thin was not pleasant.

Elderly people would perpetually lecture me on the need to eat more food and put on a few kilos, or would ask if I was deliberately starving myself – which I wasn’t.

Paradoxically, as an adult it’s been a mission to keep fat at bay.

Although I generally eat healthily – and shun junk and high-fat foods like the plague – I can’t maintain an ideal weight range for too long if I don’t complement my diet with gym.

So I try to go to gym about four times a week. About 18 months ago I suffered a muscle injury to my shoulder that wouldn’t heal. Sessions with the physio proved futile.

Eventually, I quit gym and let time do the healing. It was a decision I regretted.

I started to pile on weight – 8kg to be exact – and my ever-expanding girth started to wreak havoc with my wardrobe.

Because I tend to gain weight around my waist, trousers were a particular challenge. I picked up four or five jean sizes – from 34 to 38, or even 40.

What made me even more self-conscious were people’s comments about my puffy cheeks and bulging tummy.

“Are you swollen or something?” some would say, staring at my face with a mixture of amazement and concern.

I eventually went back to gym in June and stuck to a low-calorie diet designed to speed up my metabolism.

The shock to my system worked wonders and in two months I’d lost 7kg.

My wardrobe hasn’t quite recovered though. Growing older means losing muscle tone, and there’s no cure for that.

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