When we think of weight issues, generally what comes to mind is overweight issues. Unfortunately in our body image obsessed culture, anything that is not Goldilocks-style “just right” is an issue. Thus, being too skinny can also be an issue.
My oldest son has had “weight issues” for most of his life, but on the too skinny side of the scale. He became more and more self conscious of his skinny-ness as his friends went through puberty and developed muscles. Unfortunately, Zack was also a late bloomer, causing him further distress.
As a guy and a late bloomer, it was hard to keep up, especially in sports. And it didn’t’ help that his peers loved to make fun of the fact that he was so skinny. As we know, kids can be cruel and Zack’s self esteem suffered.
Recently, in his junior year in college, Zack discovered the benefits of supplements as part of his weight training program. To which he has seen amazing results. He is excited about the changes he sees in his muscles, his body, his weight, and his confidence about how he looks and feels is improving.
Where he used to spend all his free time behind the controller of the lastest video game, he now spends his free time in the gym, or online, researching the programs of trainers and bodybuilders.
I was feeling proud of Zack until I started getting far too many comments from well meaning friends about why I am letting Zack use supplements to enhance his workouts. “Don’t I know how dangerous they can be? “ And “you need to tell him to give that up, diet and exercise alone is enough.”
Really? Tell him to give up the thing that has allowed him to change the body image that he hates? Tell him to give up the thing that makes him feel good about how he looks and feels? Tell him to give up the thing that is finally allowing him to grow in confidence?
Sorry, I can’t and I won’t. Because I know that as much as I preach to my kids about liking people for who they are and not what they look like, that is not what society says, its not the messages they get from peers. In fact, it’s not the message he has gotten from me.
My son, who I have tried to convince that body image doesn’t matter, even as I try every fad diet, and workout like crazy, and primp and preen and fuss about my own appearance. To whom I preach that what matters most is who you are as a person, even as I schedule another appointment to cover my dark roots and my even more rapidly multiplying gray hairs.
My son is approaching 21, certainly capable of making his own decisions. He has done his research, shared with me his program and I have looked into it as well, and you know what Zack? I think I’ll join you…can you pass me a scoop of Jack3d?