I’ve hated myself for a long time.
Wait, let me rephrase that.
I’ve hated my body for as long as I can remember.
I can remember hating the start of football as a kid because the pants never fit right. I’ve hated shopping my entire life because trying on clothes would give me anxiety and leave me in a depressed state.
I’ve had stretch marks on my stomach since high school.
Then college happened. People talked about “the freshman 15”, but my body misheard that and went after the freshman 50.
Since college, I have battled with my weight constantly. Losing some, gaining more back. A decade ago I lost 60 pounds and gained it all back (and some).
I got to a point where I justified it.
The worst part of my day was getting out of the shower and being forced to see myself. I told myself, “this is just who you are.” The echoes of people calling me “big guy” and other names pointed out the fact that not only was I big, but everyone knew it.
I even got my Covid vaccine early because I was obese. Talk about bitter-sweet.
I have pretended to be confident in myself and how I look every day.
Fake it ‘til you make it. Right?
Then, on April 12th as I was sitting down to eat a plate full of air-fried popcorn shrimp and mozzarella sticks, I saw an ad for Noom.
It advertised a psychological approach to weight loss. Something that piqued my interest as a guy with a Psychology degree.
One of the first questions was, “what is your goal weight?”
A lot less than my weight now, I thought.
They wanted a specific number. I knew that if it was going to work, I needed to be specific in a meaningful way. Something that was special to me.
The neat thing about my birthday, October 8th. Is that is the day that I nervously asked my wife to go out with me when we were in Junior High.
Now I can’t be certain about this, but my educated guess was that I have not weighed less than 200 pounds since my freshman year of high school in 1999. And since college, I have essentially been pregnant on and off like an Irish Catholic woman.
I am going to weigh 199.8 pounds on my birthday.
That meant that the task in front of me was to lose 64 pounds in 179 days.
What was the first thing I did?
I ate the mozzarella sticks and popcorn shrimp, duh.
A last meal of sorts. I’ve got to say it was almost a sexual experience. I dream about that “meal” sometimes.
I got obsessed with my weight loss goal. If you saw me walking (yes, I walk 2 miles every day at lunch) or on my stationary bike, it would look like I was talking to myself.
I repeat two things over and over and over.
“One ninety-nine” and, my mantra, “I can. I will. End of story.”
The weight melted off in the first month and a half.
This gave birth to “Hot Timmy Summer”.
If you saw me this summer, you may have heard me promoting Hot Timmy Summer.
From the outside, it probably sounded stupid or self-indulgent, but it was about me embracing myself and being confident in myself as a human, not just faking it.
If people asked if they should do something, my answer was, “go for it! It’s Hot Timmy Summer, celebrate your power.”
In the beginning, I held on to anger inside me. I’d hear the people making jokes about my weight over the course of my life. I’d see their faces and hold on to it through a difficult workout or when I really wanted a piece of pizza but didn’t want to mess up my progress.
Hot Timmy Summer changed all that.
It started when I was going to my brother’s house and going swimming in the pool. The pool that was put in when I lived there in 1998. I have had a routine since the first day I swam in it.
I would put a towel close to the stairs. I would pick a time when people weren’t paying close attention to me, quickly take off my shirt, and jump in. Then, when it was time to get out, I’d go straight to the towel and cover up as quickly as possible.
I would do this even if it was just my family around the pool. I just figured they had to be at least as disgusted as I was in how I looked without a shirt on.
This summer, I realized how ridiculous that is.
I decided that I was out of fucks to give when it came to what people thought about me. Thus, Hot Timmy Summer was born.
So, how’d it go?
Well, today is my birthday and the official end of Hot Timmy Summer.
I stepped on the scale this morning and it showed 198.4 pounds.
I am down just over 65 pounds in 179 days.
I am not done yet, I have adjusted the goal and will lose another 14 pounds, just so I can say I am at the normal weight (according to the BMI charts).
This morning, I took a moment to pat myself on the back and enjoy it.
First and foremost, I did it for my wife and my children. They deserve a husband/dad that loves himself enough to take care of himself.
I did it for previous versions of myself that would look in the mirror and cry. The guy that would look in the mirror and say terrible things to the reflection. For the teenage Tim who cried in a Hollister dressing room because nothing fit.
I did it because life is too short not to love yourself.
It took me 36 years to learn that lesson.
Maybe you’re reading this and have had some of the same thoughts or feelings.
It’s never too late to work on and improved yourself in whatever way you want.
Fuck what other people may say or think about you.
You can. You will. End of story.