So, the other day I was thinking about my school days. I was thinking about how when I was just about to leave my Secondary School, this young lad in Year 8 (13ish) took a liking to me. His name was Jack. Jack liked me because I was a rock kid, with long hair and a "eclectic" music taste. Just before I left, I remember Jack saying "I wish I was leaving like you Sam, I get bullied so much here, I can't wait to leave."
This really hit home for me. Jack was essentially me at that age. Overweight, polite, a liking for things a bit different, oh, and he was constantly bullied.
I never did give Jack any advice. But I so wish I did. I wish I turned around and said to him, "it does get better Jack". Because it bloody well does. So, I thought I'd give people a bit of a glimpse of my story. A story of an overweight lad going through school, being bullied, and then coming out of the other end. Fit, confident, and in a stable relationship with a woman that he loves.
(I would like to point out, due to my insecurities at the time, I can't find many photo's off me at my biggest, so these will do.)
Okay. Being completely honest. Between the age of probably 8 and 16, I was overweight. Yes, my weight fluctuated slightly, as seen in the above pictures, but I was practically always overweight. It was simple, I just really liked food, and hated exercise. I didn't really go out cause I had no friends, and the few friends I did have ate so much, I was practically having a kebab or a bacon cob every lunch time.
I was bullied, plain and simple. Even in primary school I was picked on for my weight, but it didn't hurt until secondary school. At secondary school, people would go out of their way to make you feel like shit and call you fat. My first few years of secondary school, I just put up with it. In year 9/10 (14/15) I started to gain my own identity. I grew my hair out, made friends with similar people and started standing up to the bullies. I was a very sarcastic sod, and how I didn't get my head kicked in, I just don't know. But, standing up to the bullies half of the time, did put them in their place.
But, it didn't stop them completely. Even through my last year of secondary school I was still picked on. Heck, I hated the place so much, that on the last day, I simply up and left without saying goodbye to anyone, and never spoke to any of them again.
Around the time that I left secondary school, I knew something had to change. I spoke to my mum, asking how we could make my diet a bit healthier. I started eating a lot less. I started running round the block. Eating Weight Watchers meals. And doing like 800 push ups a day. I started to see progress after a few months.
(That's me 2 months into college on the left, about 6 months into college on the right.)
I was starting college about 4 months after I left school, and I had already changed a fair bit. I had lost a good stone and a half, and I was already feeling more confident. When I did start college though, I was still very much closeted. I didn't make many friends. People came up to me now to talk, but I was very anti sociable and just wanted to play video games.
To make that year a very short summary. The weight I lost, did make me more approachable to people, but there was still more work to do. I wanted to become slimmer, and more confident. I left the college, to start a new college, this time doing my favourite subject Journalism. I had another 3 months to slim down, which I did. When I started the college, I made it my goal to be sociable, confident, and to make as many friends as I could. Bloody hell, it worked!
By the end of my first week at this new college, I had brought together a circle of ten or so friends, and I was the herder. I spoke to each person individually and then brought them into the group. This was also where I met my beautiful girlfriend Sarah (more on her later). But. now something had to improve. My dress sense.
In my weight loss transformation, I had read one too many issues of Esquire, and started donning formal shirts, chino's and these horrible trainer boot things everywhere. The fashion wouldn't have looked so bad, if everything had not been two sizes too big. So, I took it upon myself to get measures up. Realized I now fit into size Small's (EGO BOOST!) and then something magical happened. I started to feel more confident, just by my body image and the clothes that I was wearing.
I started to get female attention. And I have now been with my wonderful girlfriend Sarah for a year, and I have truly had the best time of my life. She helped me come out of my shell. Loved me. And I owe a lot to her. It's amazing how one person can change your life. But she truly has. And, I'm sure one day you will find that someone too. I'm a bit of a sucker for a soppy rom-com.
So. Kids. If you are overweight. And you are getting bullied. Things do get better. I'm not saying that everyone should be thin. Your body image is your life choice, and everyone should respect that, but unfortunately they don't. I now believe in a healthy lifestyle, because it makes me feel good, and confident. However, you need to truly find yourself before other people can see the real you. It's hard to give any of you tips because I don't know your situation. But, just make sure you are willing to try new things. Life is made for exploring. Try something healthy. You don't have to like everything. Heck, I hate practically all vegetables! But, I love practically all kinds of meats. Swings and roundabouts.
Find who you are. Love who you are. Don't let anybody bring you down. If they try make sure you give them a massive uppercut to the face... metaphorically of course.
No one says it's easy, because it isn't. But it is worth it. Do it for yourself, and watch your world change.
Good luck. I wish you the best.
P.S Here's a bonus overweight Sam trying to look fly....