Wellbeing

I work out with pride

Justin Brown, 38, Lost 35 lb*

*People following the WW program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds/week. Justin lost weight on a prior program and is continuing on WW FreestyleTM.

“I’ve gained the confidence to say, ‘This is who I am. I don’t have the perfect physique. I don’t have a supertight chest. You’re going to have to like it or get over it.’”

I can still remember that moment in junior high very vividly: Our gym teacher was picking teams for a game of basketball. I knew that my fate could go either way: I could be chosen for the shirts team or the skins team. It was the skins. I began to sweat, knowing I had to take off my shirt and reveal my jiggly torso in front of all the other kids. That 30-minute gym class was torture, and I was counting down the seconds until I could run to the locker room and escape phys-ed class. That moment set the stage for insecurities that still haunt me. 

Today I have a great life with a loving wife and two children. I’m a chef, so I’m still surrounded by food, but I know how to control it. I try to go to the gym every day — if I don’t, I don’t feel like myself mentally. However, I still have these insecurities that have stuck with me and make me feel like I’ll never, ever be OK with who I am. 

Women aren’t the only ones plagued with body image issues. How do you think I feel when I pass by an impeccably dressed, slender guy on a billboard? Or when I see a men’s fitness magazine cover model? Or when I go to the gym feeling really confident — and then I walk into the weight section and see other muscleheads who have worked harder or trained longer than I have? I want to go home immediately and slip under the covers. But that’s where mind-set comes in to save the day. You have to realize that you’re in your own lane, and force yourself to do that workout, because you know those endorphins will kick in. You know how good you’ll feel. 

I’ve learned that it’s not about comparing yourself to others, but doing your personal best. I feel most handsome when I’ve been really mindful throughout the day; when I get home at night and I know I’ve done the best that I could do. I’ve learned to focus on my good qualities, to squash the negativity, to try to shoo away the fat-boy shadow that sometimes follows me. I know I’m a talented chef, I know I’m a great dad, I see opportunity ahead of me. I used to not be so optimistic, but now I’m in control, and life really is so great.