When I started exercising in a gym many years ago, I fell into the trap that almost all exercisers fall into. So, I began trying some protein shakes. I was thin and lean (skinny, I’d rather say), and advertisements and people around me had brainwashed me into believing I could not build a great body without supplements. I did gain some muscle mass with weight training and the help of simple protein supplements, but nothing significant as I thought. To remind you, to see the considerable changes in the body that we are all used to seeing around us, you have to take “stronger” supplements. Unfortunately, those often contain harmful and, in some cases, even life-threatening ingredients. It took me some time to understand that my body type allows me to gain muscles up to a certain point. Finally, I came to terms with that, and my whole life changed.
However, when I quit those supplements, I experienced some of the most challenging moments in my life. The reason for those tough moments was that I had to get used to a thinner self, with less muscle mass and, according to some, less handsome. Who wants that? Who can withstand that? That is a hard pill to swallow. It needs strength, much strength to fight it. But, ultimately, I have crowned the winner. I often thought of returning to some protein supplements to regain the lost muscles. It was tempting, very tempting. But then, I decided I wanted to be my authentic self, live in the real world, and not in the fake one many choose to live. It was then that I found my true self. It was then when, for the first time, I felt that I loved my natural self. I no longer had to worry about carrying my protein powder at the gym, eating specific food right after my workout, and sleeping for certain hours. For the first time in my training years, I felt free. Of course, I continued to work out and eat healthily, but I loved myself for what it was. I continued to improve my body naturally, and I built a nice body, symmetrical and strong, with as big muscles as my genes allowed. I loved myself even though it was a delayed love. But it was real love.
Have you ever considered whether you are leading a real or fake life? Do you love yourself for what it is, or do you always try to live behind a mask? I have been thinking more about it in recent years when bullying has been discussed worldwide. That is not a post to discuss that matter, but I use that issue to point out something completely different. How many people, women and men, have you seen being advocates for standing up for yourself or others when bullied? I have seen numerous encouraging those bullied to speak out and be proud of themselves. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that. Instead, it is a great act, and I take it for granted that we all support such movements. But the irony is that the same people who support anti-bullying movements forget something essential. At the same time that they support the above, they themselves are imprisoned in their own insecurities and vanity and somehow are bullied by themselves! They undergo multiple cosmetic surgeries without needing them, don’t move from their houses if they don’t put tons of makeup on, or use lots of steroids and dangerous fat-burning substances to be something beyond themselves. Wouldn’t it be better if they loved themselves first and then advocated for others’ insecurities and flaws?
At the same time, people praise the really “brave” steps of some women who decide to post a photo of themselves without any makeup. Unfortunately, in the years we have lived, the normal is considered abnormal and vice versa. The normal for women would be to go out daily without that heavy makeup that masks their natural beauty. But the opposite is happening. They show up with different faces daily, and people praise them when they appear without makeup. “Wow! You are brave to show up without makeup on.” How can you be considered the best advocate for standing up for yourself or being yourself if you don’t love yourself first?
If you manage to love yourself, you don’t need heavy makeup. If you improve yourself and realize that you are beautiful within, you may understand that you need no fake eyelashes, no lipstick all the time, no heavy makeup…
It needs strength to love yourself, to look in the mirror and say, “I love you for what you are,” without any fancy clothes, heavy makeup, fake hair, fake… But, on the other hand, discreet makeup that does not change your features is lovely. Simply know where to draw the line, literally and metaphorically…
Likewise, every day, we all witness people expressing their love and sympathy for others with disabilities. They encourage them to love themselves and make the most out of their lives, even those with disabilities. But at the same time, those loving people cannot stand themselves with a minor flaw in their bodies. They undergo numerous cosmetic surgeries to have a flawless body, put up ten pounds of makeup to feel confident, or, as mentioned above, use steroids and other dangerous substances to enjoy the applause of others for something that is anything but themselves.
Nowadays, it is hard to find a naturally built body. Too many bodies of men and women that people admire in the gyms, on TV, and in movies are made using supplements and surgeries. Worse yet, people don’t know about it… For sure, they don’t know about the supplements. They think that all those bodies are natural and mistakenly believe that only some extreme bodies of bodybuilders are unnatural. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. I am tired of seeing all the guys always carrying a protein shake or other supplements in gyms and rushing to consume them right after their workout. Yes, I did it, too, years ago. I was wrong. But it has been more than 30 years since then, and today, we all should know the risks that may be lurking. The knowledge about all those supplements at that time was limited. Today, we should all know what is healthy and what is not… I am also tired of hearing comments like, “Are you a trainer? Why aren’t you muscled and more…pumped?” It is sad that people do not know that so many bodies we see everywhere, from commercials to movies and fashion events, are not always made naturally.
From this post, I would like to ask all of you for a favor. Sit for a moment and think about what life you want to live. A fake or a real one? Every day, you are bombarded by fake role models you try to emulate. If you choose real life, you should take steps toward it from today. But, on the other hand, if you decide to love those fake role models, you should never complain again about the hypocrisy you see everywhere in this world. Your decision will affect every aspect of your life: the body you want to enjoy, the heavy makeup you want to use, the plastic surgeries you would like, etc.
Everyone should be free to do what brings them joy (as long as they don’t harm others). If a body built with supplements and cosmetic surgeries is what you love, go for it. Just think twice before being an advocate for being proud of who you are and how you look because there will be a conflict. Also, always find a balance between ways you use to improve your looks and your good health. Some ways may damage your health. I decided long ago to exercise and improve my body with good exercises and healthy food, not to depend on a protein shake. I found that natural way better. Otherwise, I had to consume more protein than recommended to see better results or find a “stronger” one with ingredients that were not good for my health. Let alone that I did not want to exercise if I had not taken my protein shake with me. It was an addiction. If you like using protein shakes, it is not a problem. Protein is needed for the muscles, but you can also take it from food. If you prefer a protein powder, know where to draw the line to avoid issues with your health. Stick to a protein powder that contains pure protein, nothing else, and always remember that you can also take it from real food.
It needs strength to love yourself and to be authentic, not only on the inside but also on the outside. If you achieve that, you feel free, and that freedom emits a magic power that affects everyone around you. This freedom makes miracles. It is never too late. It is beautiful to love yourself, even if that love is a… delayed love.