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Journal Bill Dog's Journal: body image issues 6

First, some straight talk.

Women, you look like hell after your 30's. Sorry, but it's prolly biological. Men are visual creatures and Momma Nature doesn't want you having babies later.

And if you get work done on you, you look even worse. (And this goes for at any age, BTW. Both genders, too; "hair restoration" always looks horribly unnatural.)

I don't know what to tell you. An older coworker once said that she found bald men sexy. She is wrong about that, of course. What it really is is that she finds sexy men who are bald to be sexy.

Older women, don't get work done. Wrinkles are sexy. But only on certain kinds of women. Either you can pull off aging gracefully or you can't, but butchering your face always only makes it much, much worse.

The good news for you ladies is, as you get older you care less about your looks. For men, however:

As men and women reach older age, body image takes on a different meaning. [...] Women are reported to benefit from the ageing process, becoming more satisfied with their images, while men begin to develop more insecurities and issues. Women reach a certain stage where they are no longer subject to the social pressures that heavily emphasize the importance of appearance. Men from the same studies are reported as becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their physical appearance as they age.


More men worry about their body shape and appearance â" beer bellies, "man boobs" or going bald â" than women do about how they look, according to research.

So much for the "men look more 'distinguished' as they age" bullshit. We look like hell too. My body's going places I never dreamed of. (But then I'm also not one of the sexy ones.)

It looks like historically in Western culture women have been faced with body type comparisons for longer than men have. And because of biology women have it tougher in the first half of life. (Altho nowadays young men are apparently feeling a lot of such pressure.)

But apparently women tend to mentally leave that rat race behind, whereas older men want to hang on to their virile youth. Or at least are not as comfortable with accepting that it's slipping away.

So, onto my body.

I turn 46 this year. At the height of my unemployment depression I also peaked in lifetime weight, of 204 (I'm 5'7" and small-boned, BTW), but today I weigh 176 (thru no fault of my own or any exercise at all, but some kind of stomach and/or heart problem), so for example my face is a lot less fat that I had looked most of my post-college life so far.

I'm glad that I'm out of the 32-33 BMI range (30 and up is "obese") and in the 27-28 range (below 25 is "normal" (for which I'd have to get into the 150's!)). And I saw the study that you live longer if you'll a little high on the BMI. But I don't like the distribution/my new composition.

The last time I actually tried to lose weight, documented in JE's here several years ago, I got down to 182.5, and my stomach was noticeably slimmer then. Now, I don't know what's going on.

My cheeks are less fat. I lost one of my chins so now I'm down to only a double. My love handles have remarkably shrunk, down to practically nothing.

Now the downsides: My butt has shrunk. Seriously, every chair now is rock hard to me, and I sit for a living. Right now I'm sitting on a kitchen chair cushion stacked atop a bed pillow. And it's compressed over the last 2-3 years to rock hard. At work the last of the cushion of my chair gave up the ghost and I've been sitting on a bleacher cushion, until I could make time to get some kind of permanent replacement, but that's stopping working for me, so I gotta expedite this.

What I'm left with is two things: I've got a ring of fat across my chest and under my arms. Which is supposedly a bad place to be storing fat, up near your heart. So I've got fatty sagging man boobs, and my arms don't lie naturally down my sides, with blubber getting squeezed out front and back.

And I've got a huge pot belly. I don't even drink beer. I don't eat a lot; I've lost all my weight by simply cutting back on portion sizes. I haven't even noticeably lost muscle mass, but definitely all the hardness in them.

So what does this mean? Besides looking like a dork, my pants fall down when I'm standing/walking, and are too tight when I'm sitting. I've got no hips or butt to hold them up, but a big gut to squeeze out when I sit.

So nothing really fits me anymore. For work khakis I left the Dockers brand when I found some nifty Hagar's that have a hidden dual waist material setup that can retract and extend about 2 inches out of an extra faux belt loop or something on each side, that helps me a lot. But then my roomy Lee jeans that I had to switch to from the young man's 501's some years ago hang ridiculously low when I walk, and when I sit I really want to unbutton them.

It's pathetic. I won't even get into hair issues. But my body shape is starting to show signs of aging, and I don't like it one bit, nosiree.

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body image issues

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  • I can relate to a high percentage of what you are describing and I don't enjoy it myself.

  • Is that subconsciously I've never quite defeated my autistic desire to commit suicide- and this is the slowest, most enjoyable way to do it. In the mean time my 40 year old wife is losing weight and looking younger by the day- and me, I'm beginning, at 41, to have severe medical issues due to obesity so I MUST work on this regardless of what my body image is (truthfully, my body image got stuck in my mind in my teens, about 110 lbs ago, and I have not seen myself in the mirror since my mid 20s- only a stra

    • Similar here. Prolly because I haven't married, I still think of myself largely as I was as a college student. Which also makes accepting my new body more difficult.

      I complained here about my stomach/heart issue (if it's all just one), but it's also actually very much a blessing. I don't see how I would've/could've gotten to this weight without it. God provides me with terrifying kicks in the pants, but He's actually going easy on me, since He could just let me keep on going, and have the heart attack whene

      • Going on the CPAP seems to have reduced both my appetite and increased my metabolism (probably because I was, as the sleep doctor put it, running a marathon every night- and my metabolism had adjusted). I no longer want to eat constantly, and so I'm losing weight.

        Not fast enough though, my legs are going to sleep due to my beer belly when I sit. It's very painful.

      • ... stomach/heart issue ...

        What problem is that specifically? Regular chest pain/indigestion? If so, you may want to see your doctor about it. Esophageal cancer is the single biggest killer in cancer, because people just assume that it's indigestion and self-medicate with antacids, but they don't really work all that well, because the problem is in the esophagus. Then when they finally get it diagnosed, it's usually in Stage 4 or something ridiculous.

        So, yeah, if you're getting regular indigestion, or chest pain, have it looked at,

        • My (digestion-triggered, I believe) heart symptoms have to do with its beating, and not any pains in my chest. But thanks for the warning, as you've described my last living uncle, who was diagnosed less than a year ago and gone a few months later. My doctor doesn't know what the problem is, but I've been on a prescription antacid [I'm simplifying here], so I don't think it's that. And now since after the holiday I seem to have picked up a new stomach problem. Doh.

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