Mr Balloon Head

A few years ago I stood in line with a bunch of my surfing buddies and posed for a photograph.  At the time I didn't think very much of it and in fact I didn't even see it again for about 18 months or so, but when I did the shock of what I saw felt like it had slapped me straight in the face.  My friend had posted the picture on his Facebook page and I happened to stumble across it while flipping through his online album.  What I saw literally changed my life.


Five guys are standing on the beach wearing wetsuits and pulling their very best "surfer dude" poses.  At that time we surfed every weekend and sometimes during the week as well so all of that swimming and surfing had toned our muscles and we all had tans and hair bleached a shade lighter by the sun.  The picture was of a handsome and athletic group of young men, the kind of guys that drew admiring glances and invites to drinks in the local bar after the sun had set.  Only there was one problem - somebody had swapped out my picture and put some fat dude back in my place.  Who was that guy?  I didn't feel like I had ever seen him before in my life.


I had literally gained 40lbs without even realizing it had happened.  In my mind I was still toned and healthy but a photo never lies and suddenly I saw what I had become.  My body didn't shock me as much as my head did.  It looked like it had been inflated with a foot pump!  Having always been on the lean side I just didn't carry that much extra weight successfully and my face was grotesquely round and swollen.  I was a mess and the scary thing was that I had deluded myself into thinking I still looked pretty good.  Suddenly my stomach dropped as I remembered all the times I had walked around bare chested and feeling great.  People weren't looking at me because I was hot - they were looking at me with pity "Hey that guy thinks he still has an athletic physique.  What a dumbass!"


Over the next year I lost all of that extra weight.  I didn't follow any fad diets or exercise plans because I knew that the time for lying to myself about my achievements was over.  I gritted my teeth and got ready for a long haul and over time I started to eat more healthily and do a little structured exercise.  I finally feel good about myself again and enjoy my body, although with far more modesty and self reflection than I did before.  Ironically I don't concern myself with physical appearances anymore.  I feel that the most important thing is to respect and look after the body we have been blessed with, no matter what shape or size it may be.  As long as our goal is to be healthy and accept our natural shape that is all that matters.


I also like to think that my head no longer looks like a hot air balloon!

surfingsundays surfingsundays
31-35, M
Feb 11, 2010