Tag Archives: Fat

Scraped Clean / Scraped Bare

Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu my few readers,

I am writing this primarily for myself, few people come to this blog anymore, well even fewer than before and that’s okay, this is being written mostly for my own benefit, to get my thoughts in order, set them down so I can read this later in life and if I help others sort out the mess in their own heads that is a bonus.

It’s been over a year since I semi-retired from this blog,  as well as most of my da’wah activities and events and withdrew myself somewhat from life to reflect and think about where I am going, how I am moving forward or not in life.

Gingerbeardman - I’m Not Running Away But…
Gingerbeardman – I’m Not Running Away But…

I did at the time write a long ish post on the matter, linked in the pic here –>

Since then it’s been been dark but interesting times as I’ve gone through every section of my life, evaluated it and ruthlessly thrown out everything which was not True or didn’t bring any genuine benefit to me.

But on the truth, it’s so often the case that we’re all lies, deceptions, built upon half truths, built upon misconceptions and we rarely truly do anything of real value  because we are not willing to admit how much of that surface stuff and even a lot of the under surface stuff is just false facing for others and more often to ourselves.

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.
Quran translation, Surah An-Nisa, 4:135

So I’ve scrapped, pulled, cut and at times ripped mask after mask away to see the person within. Peeling back layer after layer to see new layers of lies underneath because Allah knows all this other stuff was not true and how much I was harming myself and being unable to help others around me because of the years of crap built up which just wasn’t me and wasn’t true.

It’s also been a painful time, lying is always wrong but I have found the hardest lies to admit to are the ones we tell ourselves. Some of them really didn’t want to go, they seemed a part of me and in a way they were, they’re comforting but anything not true had to go.

So I told myself I was a da’ee, a caller to Allah and that this may compensate for my shortcomings in other areas of the deen. Now when I look back, I’ve examined my actions truly and deeply so much of it was riya, showing off either at the time or I would destroy my deeds later by talking about them to draw attention to myself, or allow others to do so on my behalf and big me up in a way which was not at all justified.

These stories we tell ourselves and tell others are how we interact with the world, but that doesn’t make them true or useful and they can often be the barrier holding us back from doing anything meaningful.

I told myself I was morally a good man, but much of the good I did I did out of an expectation that others would behave likewise towards me, it was selfish and often self destructive emotionally when it was not reciprocated, causing me to lash out and hurt others which in turn I think showed people at times on some level my good deeds lacked sincerity.

How often can we say we truly do a good deed just for the sake of seeking the reward of Allah and not in seeking reward or praise from others? In that I would also include self-praise, self-deception, fooling ourselves, flattering and fattening up our egos which is one of the most long term damaging forms of showing off.

In failing to be a ‘good man’ I also admit I was also not much of a man, falling short in my obligations to myself, my family and my community. I am not a good man, or much of a man at all, and I am okay with that because acknowledging that is the first step to changing and learning what manhood really is again then living that.

I am having to slow things down for a time, I have to reexamine every deed I do now to see if I am genuine or not,  then correct my intention and if I cannot then don’t do it because there is no reward in this action.

 

Now for the last couple of months after what has seemed like an age of effort I finally feel I’ve hit bedrock, the real me below all the other crap and hitting rock bottom is actually not such a bad place to be if you’ve prepared for it and aimed for it deliberately and there is a purity of vision, a simplicity that has it’s own beauty and attraction.

I can also with out all the fluff in the way see the hurt and damaged parts of myself I need to fix, and more easily see negligence and even malice that caused or still causes me that hurt and I have become much less tolerant of it.

I am cold, naked and vulnerable, it’s kinda uncomfortable but it is the real me. Being uncomfortable is valuable, it tells us something is off, we shouldn’t be avoiding such feelings or smothering them down but embracing them, contemplating them and finding out how to change ourselves to make sure we’re not uncomfortable with that aspect of ourselves in the future because we’ll have achieved permanent change.

An easy example of this is my physical health, my body itself is not just a bit out as I would convince myself previously for many years. I am not just fat, I am technically in the obese range, I am a fat man’s fatty. I have to lean forward to see my toes.

I was gifted with a frame which allowed for physical strength, fought my way through school, played rugby but I have done nothing since, I am not strong or tough and the inner impression of who I was was off, way off with who I actually was in reality.

I absolutely should feel that is wrong, it’s uncomfortable knowing I’ve let things go so far, so do I allow myself to push such feelings down, go for good quick emotional highs with time with others, or food or escape in a book, documentary or computer game or do I get out walking, do some jogging on the spot or some weights?

I am not who I should be. I know now given I’m in my early forties I will never be the man I could have been but now I must concentrate on being the best man I can be from here on out.

For those who know me personally I may seem withdrawn but that is because all the other stuff I did or said was not me and now I am ready to start growing again in a more productive way.

This time without all the lies, to others and to myself.

I am going to try to write more, on this blog and elsewhere to document my growth and it is this potential growth that allows me to see my failures, my product of past lies and see a way forward, that I am going to be able to choose a different path this time if I keep myself spiritually, emotionally and mentally strong.

Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

Gingerbeardman

ALREADY NOTICING THE DIFFERENCE

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Umar ibn Al Khattab (radiallahu anhu) saw a man with a huge belly and said: “What is this?” He said, “A blessing from Allah.” He said, “Rather it is a punishment from Allah.”

Manaaqib Ameer al-Mu’mineen, p.200

Assalaamu Alaykum brothers and sisters,

Those who have known me for a while know I occasionally go on a diet regime, it lasts for a short time, somewhere between weeks to months, I lose some weight, I do walk a lot anyway, so I do a little bit more exercise, eat healthily ish but soon enough I slack off and my big fat reserves and and overly large waistline comes back again within a few months or at most a year.

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“So I keep eating this green stuff and it makes me healthy right?”

I’m overweight and terrible at dieting and worse at getting around to exercise, it’s not good, and it’s certainly not Islamic to be so badly out of shape but it is what it is and it’s my burden to be dealing with.

The main issue is that this has been my lifestyle for the past two decades since prior to accepting Islam and all the way through my life as a Muslim and not having done any serious exercise for so long means my body needs a lot of work on it. I’ve always until now used this as an excuse to go easy on the hardcore work outs thinking if they are necessary I can always do them later on.

I was always into rugby at school, always relied on my size and natural strength to get me through but I’ve noticed over the years this natural strength has seeped away and in reality given I’m creeping up on 40 that if I don’t turn things around soon I am really asking for a middle age and later of bad health and a likely early death.

orangutan2
“I’m always trying to lose weight, but weight just keeps finding me.”

THINGS ARE GOING TO BE DIFFERENT

This latest attempt is going to be different, it definitely feels different in my head and Allah willing it will be different. I don’t know, I just feel more determined rather than just going through the usual motions.

I started eating a little more sensibly again just before Eid as I usually do, though I admit to partaking in too much cake and lots of big servings of lovely curries with the family over that time but now I’m back to sensible eating again rather than going back to bad habits and this time I’ve decided to actually listen to the experts on exercise and not go so easy on myself and my overweight, muscle puny body.

The main thing all these fitness people advised me was I need to do more of the sweaty hard stuff, one brother as well as the usual advise on making sure I do cardio also told me I need to do lots of big weights, to help burn the fat, little weights are good for toning but no good for weight loss and quickly getting my health back again.

york-weightsSo my little weights that I used every time I went on a health kick… they’ve had a makeover and now weigh approx 3x as much, gone are the long lightweight reps which seem to take forever to get results, in comes some heavy duty work with the Mr’s weights and brothers I can tell you I am already feeling and seeing the difference after just a week.

It’s only a 15 minute daily workout of tummy crushers, sit-ups and heavy weights and already I’ve lost 4lbs and I can feel my atrophied muscles coming back in a little way, but the results are enough to firm up my commitment to the new healthy gingerbeardman regime, to try to break the bad habits built up over the past 20 years and Insha’Allaah this time actually stick to a healthy lifestyle for good.

So lets see how we go this time. I don’t know why I feel different, but I do, maybe the last fried chicken burger was the one which broke the camels back… to totally mash up that metaphor.

I want to be fit and healthy within two years, tops. Insha’Allaah long before then but a little encouragement wouldn’t hurt so feel free to throw in suggestions along the way, and I’ll keep doing regular updates.

I am hoping keeping it semi-public will help motivate me more for the hard-times when the sugar and fat cravings are making me paw at the door like a junkie going cold turkey (Turkey and cranberry sandwich!), that knowing others who know me, either online or in person and know of my struggle can help keep me on the straight and narrow path to a healthy lifestyle so it will become much harder to chicken out (ummm fried chicken) when it’s no longer just a private battle of the bulge.

Before I go, here is one final Orangutan picture for good measure, it has absolutely nothing to do with me or my health kick other than I googled words around being overweight and ginger and up popped some images of my overweight ape friends here.

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