A few years ago, when I was almost at my goal weight. I wrote a blog about visiting friends.
It talked about how I enjoyed being able to keep up with the activities that they and their kids were involved in. On the flip side I also talked about how when my friends decided to go to the local swimming pool, I not so gracefully bowed out. Really didn't want to go bare-chested in swim trunks.
I decided this year to strive for a huge vacation involving the beach next year and have started training to do so. The goal is to build muscle and tone up. I blogged about it and asked for destination recommendations.
A dear SparkFriend, all of whom I love very much, politely and respectfully asked me a really tough question. One whose answer has always been part of my life, but that I've never really addressed and put on the table for discussion. I really appreciate my friend for asking. So here it is.
Q: " So I ask this - with love and affection and NO judgment - are you working on the mental side of this issue? Yup, 10 lbs CAN/WILL make a difference in your physical appearance but I have to wonder, is there something else going on that's stopping you from really enjoying beach time now? "
A: My thoughts:
I'm not really a beach person.
I live near a few "beaches". These are ponds or rivers with little areas of sand where local moms would bring their kids. Single people are allowed but not really welcomed. There's nothing really there for me. When I go to them it's in the evening after everyone has gone home and I can exercise, walk or just sit on the beach and reflect.
The real beaches are a few hours away clustered near the city. They have huge populations of single people. Lots of great restaurants within walking distance. I enjoy going there and people watching and taking in the shops and restaurants. At the same time, most young single people there are in way, way Way WAY better shape than I am. Those who go shirtless have the body to back up doing so.
40-45 year old husbands and wives with a couple of kids get a pass in this regard. Single people around my age, both male and female absolutely don't. No one will make comments or snicker. Yes, there are young single people who look worse than I do. At the same time...
**Metaphorically, when I'm at these beaches I feel like the guy who showed up to the black tie affair wearing a nice pair of slacks, a blazer and a tie. I don't look bad, but I certainly don't fit in. I don't take solace that others also don't make the grade**
For me, being on the beach itself doesn't offer a lot besides sun-bathing and walking. I can walk with cargoes and a t-shirt and a tanned body doesn't do me much good if I look flabby and have a paunch.
I don't have that group of friends whose center of activity is the beach. My friends aren't physically active so a game of ultimate Frisbee or volleyball on a beach trip wouldn't be a big enough deal to make the trip to play.
If I go to the actual beach itself it's to see and be seen. My sense is if I lived or grew up closer to the beach, it would be more part of the fabric of my life. My friends and I would go there enough so that it either wouldn't bother me to be in a pair of swim trunks in public or I would have put in the time at the weight room to make the point moot.
I would either be at peace with my physical appearance or have fixed it.
There are malls and parks near where I live. Walking around in jeans and a t-shirt, I am proud of my appearance. I am very proud of my weight loss. I look a lot better than I did 4-5 years ago. From a see and be seen perspective, I am proud enough to show up at the beach itself (even if I don't lose the t-shirt).
By next year, I will own the black tux.
- TD Out!
p.s. Again, thanks to the friend who asked the tough question. I really appreciate it.