My name is Daniel Browne and I am a fat bastard. I say this not to shock or to gain sympathy from people telling me that I am not fat and should not put myself down. I say it because I have come to the realisation that this is how I am and I now accept it.
For years I loathed myself and the way I looked. I spent a large amount of time on diets and following weight loss plans with little results. Then one day something changed in my mind. I began to realise that the self-loathing did not come from within; it was external pressure that had caused it.
Flicking through various fag rags I was faced with page after page of so-called hot men with all their muscles and smooth bodies on show. I felt inferior. In the media we are fed gorgeous men. We are also told how to dress, what we should be eating, which exercises we should do, and it goes on and on. I used to lap it all up and dream of becoming an Adonis if only I could stick to what the media was telling me. Now I think it’s a load of rubbish.
I’m not alone in disliking the way I looked. Research carried out by The Gay UK has shown that 58% of gay men are not happy with their bodies. I believe the media has to take some of the blame for this. We are fed images of men with fantastic bodies, but it’s not the norm. The majority of people do not look like that.
Then there’s the scene… The gay scene has its pros and cons, but a massive down point to it is the focus on youth and having the perfect body. It’s grotesque and I believe it is causing harm to gay people. On the gay scene, I have faced abuse for being overweight and someone once told me that the only way I will lose weight is if I become bulimic. Also on one occasion, I was turned down by a guy for being “fat”. That same guy came on to me a couple of years later when I had lost three stone. That time I turned him down for being a “twat”.
I felt great for having done that but inside I was still suffering and continued to hate myself.
I was slim and had one of those fantastic bodies until the age of 19. At that point, I fell into a deep depression and one day went to bed for six months. The weight piled on and I went from being fit to morbidly obese in a short space of time. Since then I have struggled to lose the excess weight. I could write a whole list of reasons why I have not managed to restore my body to its former glory, but the truth is that I was unhappy and had no motivation.
Over time I have seen various therapists and then trained to become one myself. It was during the training that my mind-set began to change. During those three years I learnt so much about myself and human behaviour, and learnt that many of the issues I had were about what other people thought. I entertained people’s opinions and took them as the truth. I guess if you are told you’re fat and ugly enough times you start to believe it.
Ten years after falling into depression and putting on a considerable amount of weight, I am still fat, albeit now a couple of stone lighter. However, more importantly I am a much happier person. I know that my body isn’t perfect and I should probably do something about that. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But if I do it will be on my own terms and not because someone says I should look a certain way. And that is how to live life; on your own terms.
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you’d like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.