“Fuck,” I said in a frustrated tone as I watch my breath freeze in the cold weather. Before I could drive myself to my usual coffee shop to kick-start my work day, I had to brush 2 inches of snow off my car. I came out wearing a thin layer of jacket since the forecast last night said the weather will be on the plus side. I guess Mother Nature decided otherwise. There are many things in life that are outside of our control; the weather, our ethnic background, the family we’re born into and how the future is going to pan out.
I immigrated to Canada almost a decade ago. At the age of 17, I tipped the scale at nearly 200 pounds. My doctor diagnosed me to be obese and is encouraging me to lose weight really fast. With an acne-prone skin and a bulging stomach, I found it very difficult to feel good about myself.
In a desperate attempt to gain some self-esteem, there was an urgent need to drop some pounds. Confused on how to get started, I took the easy way out which immediately lead to an eating disorder. I stuck my middle and ring finger down my throat and forced myself to throw up every time I ate something that I knew I shouldn’t have. The feeling of self-condemnation and guilt developed to bulimia for a period in my life.
There were moments when I would be in tears while on my knees in front of the toilet; I felt like my life was outside of my control. I had a lot of self-defeating thoughts which lead to a mild depression in my younger years. This was something that up to this day, my parents and siblings never knew. I was too ashamed to admit it.
There were countless moments of observation, where I would stand shirtless in front of my mirror. Instead of wearing my clothes to hide the sight, I wore a look of disgust, which took years for me to discard. I had grabbed my belly with both hands and wished I could just rip it right off.
Fast-forward a decade. Nowadays, I carry myself a lot differently. After toiling for ten years — which involved an endless supply of determination, a lot of self-help books, hours of internet research and enough coffee to fill up a swimming pool — I was able to reinvent myself; both externally and internally. I was once an insecure, introverted teenager but now things are different.
I’m a firm believer of taking action and doing the things that makes sense now that’s within your control. If I had the option of manifesting my positive intent to an obscure place in the universe or taking steps toward something that I could do immediately, I’d always pick the latter first. Motivation and inspiration come from winning; when we feel competent and in control of the task at hand.
Today, as I write this article, I feel great about my physical appearance. I’m happy with how I look with or without clothes. On top of that, I’ve developed a growth mindset, which allowed me to be creative and a lot more flexible with how I do things.
Your mind and body are intertwined; change one and the other will follow. Taking control of your body and appearance is the easiest and fastest way to gain real confidence. It’s something tangible; it’s something that you see, feel and experience right now. Change is a process, it’s not an event. Most people think that for a real change to happen, it’s as simple as thinking and analyzing the problem at hand. Will-power is an exhaustible resource and we only have so much at any given day. Knowing doesn’t solve the problem, taking action does.
The fastest way to build real confidence is to change your perception of yourself and then do something about it. How do you feel when you see your reflection in the mirror? It’s either one or the other; pain or pleasure. Do you like what you see? Your self-esteem will determine whatever you achieve and you will only go for things that you think you deserve. It will affect what kind of jobs you apply for, the kind of girls you approach and the quality of life that you’ll live.
If you think about it, for a little over a dollar a day and a small time commitment per week, you can go to the gym and kick your own ass. Working out and eating better is the cheapest and most efficient way to take control of your life; it’s something you can do immediately.
Besides the obvious health benefits, the real advantage of fitness is a renewed sense of well-being. It’s beyond getting abs and a powerful looking physique; it’s an improvement on your self-esteem and self-integrity. Knowing that you’ve set a goal and you were able to achieve it. Fitness also has a spill over effect into your social, emotional and spiritual health; the primary benefits beyond looking and feeling better.
By being completely content and happy with your physical condition, you’re not worried about how you look anymore when you interact with other people on a daily basis. You can allow your real personality to shine through without the fear of being judged with your external appearance. It’s a huge time saver. People are already insecure and uncomfortable as it is meeting new people; the last thing that should be on their mind is how they’re being perceived.
Having the body that you want, you feel admired and motivated which are important things to fuel your journey; compliments affirm you’re doing something right. Gone are the worries, doubts and insecurities. You can focus on other things that matter more since the itch has already been scratched.
My experience with fitness is that it is a means towards self-improvement. The same principles you use to build a head turning physique will have a direct carry over in other pillars of your life.
Here are the principles I’ve used from fitness that I now apply towards other endeavours:
- Set clear, specific goals
- Take action
- Notice what’s working and not working
- Change your approach
- Keep doing what works
Now that one area has been taken care of, you can take the lessons that you’ve learned and apply them to better yourself to become a more complete person. Fitness is the first step to grooming yourself to be the perfect man; an idea of our best self that we could only aspire to be.
Being a bachelor of 7 years, I’ve been on some dates where I wish I didn’t go to. I’ve seen some movies that I thought was a complete waste of my time but there was never a day when I didn’t feel like I got no value from working out. I know for a fact, as sure as my next breath, the most important relationship I could ever build is the one with myself.
If, and only if, you felt compelled by this article and feel like your fitness is preventing you from getting the most out of life send me a message and let’s connect. Give yourself a chance to live life to the fullest because if you know better, you’d do better.