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Have you ever realized to what extent you have body dysmorphia?

Here's my experience with dymsorphia.

I was a stocky kid. Not really fat but a thick build. I remained a bit chubby until I was a teenager and started using recreationals which got me down to around 160-170lbs.

When I got to college I let myself go badly. Lots of alcohol, weed, and late night junk food. One day my junior year of college I looked in the mirror shirtless and saw fresh stretch marks on my lower abs below my belly button. I was an overweight 230lbs. and I knew it was time to change.

That's when I started with the gym and healthy eating. In summer 2010 I dieted like a bodybuilder for the first time and ended up 166lbs. and maybe 10%. I've posted that picture here a few times.

That's when I started building myself back up. I very much had the same idea Ben Palulski had - first I want to be 180lbs. with abs, then 200lbs. with abs, then 220lbs. with abs. And it kept going and going.

Body dysmorphia has never been a huge deal for me. I don't see myself as the fat kid I used to be. For years I've been 100% happy with my physique. That doesn't mean satisfied - I'm always trying to improve it. But years ago I said if I never lose or gain any more muscle or fat I'm fine with that.

When I first became a legit huge bodybuilder, over 250lbs. lean, I got stares and comments in public all the time. Over the years I got to where I rarely noticed it - my girlfriend was alway the one to catch it. Things like that attention should keep dysmorphia at bay because it's literally other people acknowledging how great you look. It can go the opposite way - Iain Valliere said when he was at his peak that if he didn't get comments in public it really bothered him and made him think he looked bad.

Another ways to stave it off is to put things in perspective. If you're 250lbs. lean and can flat bench 315 x 1 you're literally in the top 1% of biggest and strongest men to ever walk the planet. That didn't hit me until about two years ago but it really put in perspective how far I've taken bodybuilding.

Here's the biggest thing that's probably prevented me from having severe dysmoprhia - I only bodybuild for me. I don't give a shit about the comments, stares, women, etc. Yeah it's very cool to get them and makes you feel good but if I never got any of that I'd still pursue bodybuilding just as hard because I like pushing myself to be better every day.

And another thing - hardcore bodybuilding should be a relatively short period of your life. I know I peaked a few years ago and I enjoyed all the spoils that came with it. I've been the biggest guy around. I've been the strongest guy in the gym. I don't need it forever. I think this is one of the things guys struggle with the most regarding dymsorphia - they can't let go of what they think they need to be.
The bold part. I personally hate when people compliment me in the gym or in public. I’m not an ass about it as I hope to inspire others, but I do this for nobody but myself. It’s the only way I could do it.

I’ve commented on others post, but going to the root of it all I was actually a fat kid growing up. I’m talking bad. I was picked on constantly and got in more fights than I can count through middle school over it. My parents just fed us garbage and told me I was “husky, just like my jeans” as if it was some sort of badge of honor.

My last year of middle school I got the chance to join the wrestling team at the highschool I was going to the next year. I spent that summer losing every pound I could. I would wake up at 4am and run until I puked (not kidding). I went from fat to a 119 pound freshman skinny as a rail wrestler.

I had to be careful as my mother to this day has bulimia and made my whole family be on edge about me. I bought my own food, made my own meals, began lifting and by sophomore year was varsity and took the state title as I have shared in my thread.

After graduating I just focused on bodybuilding and was hooked. Until my divorce in the middle of building my company in my mid 20’s. From there I burned myself out, drank too much and just did nothing but burn at both ends and shot up to 240 pounds. I was fat.

It took seeing a picture of me with my wife now to realize it as I had been avoiding mirrors and photos. I was pissed. So I started going to the gym twice a day, doing an hour of cardio a day and went on test again. I didn’t think that weight was ever going to come off. But it did. And then as most here know I decided to get into competing serious at 30 as I was so deep into the gym after losing all that weight again that I just had to go for it since I didn’t in my early 20’s (no regrets as I built my life and business).

But I say all that as I am driven by one thing- the ability to transform my body so drastically and quickly. After being so many extremes I stopped seeing myself as a fat kid or not big enough, etc.

Chasing the human potential and seeing what I’m really made of is addictive to me (in a good way). I would challenge anyone who struggles with their past to go through a hard prep or to truly push your potential to find out what you’re made of. It translates to every aspect of your life.
 
To whatever extent I have it normally, it doesnt interfere with my day to day in that I dont notice it but when I start putting the pedal down and doing everything right, I look in the mirror and see myself at my best and immediately start comparing myself to people who arent even there.

I "could" compare myself to everyone else in the gym and think "Hey Buddy, you're doing pretty good." but that would be too easy. Instead, my memory bank pulls up whichever bodybuilder is in his prime at his best show or during his best shoot and compares myself to that. Which is also just as absurd when you realize you should only ever compare yourself to yourself if you're being honest and not some random people whose names you dont know.

I will say, that is dumb af but yeah, guilty. "Memory, pull that MD shoot of Marcus Ruhl up. I need a reason to feel small."
 
Our aesthetic references are different from those of normal people, but that does not mean body dysmorphia.

We are programmed to look for fat deposits and every time we meet other people, whether they lift or not, we are evaluating them on whether they put on weight or lost weight since the last time we saw them.
That's a great point. Especially considering a sizeable portion of people don't view this subculture as "normal".
 
To whatever extent I have it normally, it doesnt interfere with my day to day in that I dont notice it but when I start putting the pedal down and doing everything right, I look in the mirror and see myself at my best and immediately start comparing myself to people who arent even there.

I "could" compare myself to everyone else in the gym and think "Hey Buddy, you're doing pretty good." but that would be too easy. Instead, my memory bank pulls up whichever bodybuilder is in his prime at his best show or during his best shoot and compares myself to that. Which is also just as absurd when you realize you should only ever compare yourself to yourself if you're being honest and not some random people whose names you dont know.

I will say, that is dumb af but yeah, guilty. "Memory, pull that MD shoot of Marcus Ruhl up. I need a reason to feel small."
This makes me think of something I forgot in my initial post.

For those of us who eat, sleep, and breathe this lifestyle, one of the biggest contributors to body dysmorphia is following professional bodybuilding.

Even if you don't consciously think it, when you watch the pros your subconscious is thinking 'that's what a good bodybuilder looks like'. No, it's not. It's what the top 1% of bodybuilders in the world look like. 99% of us won't look like that no matter what we do.

You have to compartmentalize and not compare yourself to pros or anyone else really, particularly if you're not competing. The only person you need to compare yourself to is your prior self.
 
This makes me think of something I forgot in my initial post.

For those of us who eat, sleep, and breathe this lifestyle, one of the biggest contributors to body dysmorphia is following professional bodybuilding.

Even if you don't consciously think it, when you watch the pros your subconscious is thinking 'that's what a good bodybuilder looks like'. No, it's not. It's what the top 1% of bodybuilders in the world look like. 99% of us won't look like that no matter what we do.

You have to compartmentalize and not compare yourself to pros or anyone else really, particularly if you're not competing. The only person you need to compare yourself to is your prior self.
This is so true. I've been fortunate enough to meet a hand full of pros, even a few Olympia class champs. Standing next to Jay, Regan Grimes, or Shawn Rhoden even off season is humbling. Even competitive national level competitors are outliers if you ask me. Its easy to get lost in that kind of comparison.
 
This is so true. I've been fortunate enough to meet a hand full of pros, even a few Olympia class champs. Standing next to Jay, Regan Grimes, or Shawn Rhoden even off season is humbling. Even competitive national level competitors are outliers if you ask me. Its easy to get lost in that kind of comparison.
I remember the first time I saw Steve Kuclo in person.

I was training at Desination Dallas doing rack rack deadlifts. There was a guy in the rack next to me doing pullups. He sat down to rest and seeing him from the back I thought, 'That's got to be a top level amateur or pro.' A little bit later we were both in another part of the gym. I saw him from the front and realized it was Kuclo. He was a few weeks out from the Indy Pro and with so much muscle, so much shape, and so little body fat he didn't look human.
 
This makes me think of something I forgot in my initial post.

For those of us who eat, sleep, and breathe this lifestyle, one of the biggest contributors to body dysmorphia is following professional bodybuilding.

Even if you don't consciously think it, when you watch the pros your subconscious is thinking 'that's what a good bodybuilder looks like'. No, it's not. It's what the top 1% of bodybuilders in the world look like. 99% of us won't look like that no matter what we do.

You have to compartmentalize and not compare yourself to pros or anyone else really, particularly if you're not competing. The only person you need to compare yourself to is your prior self.
I used to follow them quite a bit but not so much anymore as I’ve gotten older. Every time a thread pops up talking about a known body builder I have to google them. I know some of the bigger names but it wasn’t long ago I had to google Sam Sulek lol.

As of last summer I hadn’t even heard of Liver King until some chick said i remind her of him. It was at a big swimsuits type bar in Ocean City
 
I used to follow them quite a bit but not so much anymore as I’ve gotten older. Every time a thread pops up talking about a known body builder I have to google them. I know some of the bigger names but it wasn’t long ago I had to google Sam Sulek lol.

As of last summer I hadn’t even heard of Liver King until some chick said i remind her of him. It was at a big swimsuits type bar in Ocean City
I hadn't head of Liver King until young kids started telling me I looked like him with the muscles / hair / beard. One night we were at a Dallas Mavericks game walking through the concourse and I head someone yell 'LIVER KING!'. But I don't think people realize how short he is, I'm probably at least half a foot taller than him.
 
Yeah! My wife is the only one close to me that’s ever seen me without a shirt on..I don’t take pictures, and I only wear long sleeve shirts..the highest body fat % I’ve been in probably my whole adult life around 13%..don’t know where it’s came from
Bro what? You don’t go on beach vacations or spend any time at the pool? And why only long sleeve shirts?
 
I remember the first time I saw Steve Kuclo in person.

I was training at Desination Dallas doing rack rack deadlifts. There was a guy in the rack next to me doing pullups. He sat down to rest and seeing him from the back I thought, 'That's got to be a top level amateur or pro.' A little bit later we were both in another part of the gym. I saw him from the front and realized it was Kuclo. He was a few weeks out from the Indy Pro and with so much muscle, so much shape, and so little body fat he didn't look human.
The first pro I ever met was Derik Farnsworth. He had a hooded sweatshirt on at first and you could tell he was another level. Then he took the sweatshirt off and i saw was 6 weeks out for a pro show looked like... Not human is a good way to describe it. Haha
 
I remember the first time I saw Steve Kuclo in person.

I was training at Desination Dallas doing rack rack deadlifts. There was a guy in the rack next to me doing pullups. He sat down to rest and seeing him from the back I thought, 'That's got to be a top level amateur or pro.' A little bit later we were both in another part of the gym. I saw him from the front and realized it was Kuclo. He was a few weeks out from the Indy Pro and with so much muscle, so much shape, and so little body fat he didn't look human.

This just reminds me of a time I was meeting a Mr. O competitor for a workout. He was training me online and was the first time working out with him in person.

It was a small gym so I asked the girl at the front desk if she had seen "...." as I just expected she would know who he was.. she stared at me with a blank expression so I said "has the largest human being you've ever seen entered the gym yet".. as I said this the guy walked into the gym and she says "oh he's not the biggest guy I've seen."

I remember thinking to myself "ahh, so you're retarded. Ok"

I told him later and he laughed and said he was off cycle currently.

Fast forward a couple of months we met again to train and he was on cycle. That was an eye opener for sure.
 
I hadn't head of Liver King until young kids started telling me I looked like him with the muscles / hair / beard. One night we were at a Dallas Mavericks game walking through the concourse and I head someone yell 'LIVER KING!'. But I don't think people realize how short he is, I'm probably at least half a foot taller than him.
Well I’m kinda short plus beard was longer at the time and it’s fairly dark but yeah I’m sure you tower over him lol
 
Bro what? You don’t go on beach vacations or spend any time at the pool? And why only long sleeve shirts?
I’m closing in on 40 and have been surfing since I was 6…at the beach a lot..always wear a rash guard that I cut and him the sleeves mid forearms….therapist theorized it was because I just got only comfortable in body armor…but this has been going on since way before that shit started..and no, I don’t do pools.

I don’t know about the long sleeves either..don’t even own a short sleeve shirt..usually pull or if a button up roll them to mid forearm
 
I’m closing in on 40 and have been surfing since I was 6…at the beach a lot..always wear a rash guard that I cut and him the sleeves mid forearms….therapist theorized it was because I just got only comfortable in body armor…but this has been going on since way before that shit started..and no, I don’t do pools.

I don’t know about the long sleeves either..don’t even own a short sleeve shirt..usually pull or if a button up roll them to mid forearm
Wild
 
And another thing - hardcore bodybuilding should be a relatively short period of your life. I know I peaked a few years ago and I enjoyed all the spoils that came with it. I've been the biggest guy around. I've been the strongest guy in the gym. I don't need it forever. I think this is one of the things guys struggle with the most regarding dymsorphia - they can't let go of what they think they need to be.

This is actually what we do as humans, strive for things and then want to perpetuate those achievements for all eternity because we think over time, into the future. The reality of the nature of existence is that whatever we strive to achieve, time and attrition, or our own mortality, is going to take it away from us.

Rationality has only added to the physical suffering of mammals, psychological suffering. Reason or advanced consciousness is not even necessary for life, the existence of millions of species proves it. Reason is only a slave of the will to live, of instinct, it has no other purpose. Reason can only be victorious if it decides to free itself from instincts through self-sacrifice, suicide, or the asceticism of those who deny life, which is nothing more than a slow suicide.

Worldviews have been invented to "flow with life", such as Buddhism, Thaoism and Stoicism, but they are still ways of accepting resignation and the loss of everything. And in reality they go against the nature of our ego, that is why it is so difficult to put these teachings into practice. They may alleviate suffering but they do not suppress it. In fact, Seneca, one of the greatest exponents of Stoicism, ended up committing suicide because he could no longer bear the pain, which in his case was caused by a political situation. We have also seen Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire.

It is inevitable to suffer when you see that everything ages, decays and disappears. Or that your culture, customs... are destroyed by foreign forces.

When you grow old you realize that life itself is nothing but losses until there is nothing left to lose except your life. Buddha and other sages discovered this before anyone else, so they despised the material world and went in search of the spirit, of nothingness.
 
I remember the first time I saw Steve Kuclo in person.

I was training at Desination Dallas doing rack rack deadlifts. There was a guy in the rack next to me doing pullups. He sat down to rest and seeing him from the back I thought, 'That's got to be a top level amateur or pro.' A little bit later we were both in another part of the gym. I saw him from the front and realized it was Kuclo. He was a few weeks out from the Indy Pro and with so much muscle, so much shape, and so little body fat he didn't look human.
When i was a young kid i went to a BB show where i live, the guest poser at the show was a full blown Dennis Wolf, i was sitting at the front row and when he jumped of the stage to pose among the audience he choose to jump up on the 2 empty chairs next to me... dude it was like watching a fuckin real life monster... he was so fuckin big.. Mind insta fried... i new then what i for ever would strive for and never achieve...
 
My dysmorphia is just a pain in the ass. Feel small and fat all the time. Ok, sure, I'm fat and I'd like to have bigger arms, but occasionally I'll see a photo of me that I don't know is me and think "Fuck, dude is huge." Scared the shit out of myself in a bar recently (ok, hyperbole but it was surprising) when I walked past a mirror and thought "Jesus Christ how'd that fucker get his shoulders through the door". Then realized it was me and it went from admiration to "fat fuck, you look like a tick that skipped leg day"

Weird shit.
 
I remember the first time I saw Steve Kuclo in person.

I was training at Desination Dallas doing rack rack deadlifts. There was a guy in the rack next to me doing pullups. He sat down to rest and seeing him from the back I thought, 'That's got to be a top level amateur or pro.' A little bit later we were both in another part of the gym. I saw him from the front and realized it was Kuclo. He was a few weeks out from the Indy Pro and with so much muscle, so much shape, and so little body fat he didn't look human.

I met luke sandoe around 2015. He had a stringer on and i remember looking at his shoulders thinking wtf. Looked like basket balls. Really nice guy.. humble. I took a pic with him , he's like don't make me look bad brother 😅

RIP
 
For me it’s always the clothes. If you need confirmation look there.

It’s annoying as hell. I went to an event last night and had zero dress pants that fit. So athletic tailored jeans it was.

If you ever second guess how big or small you are look to your clothes. They never lie.
A gnarly way I know I'm growing in the right places is stretch marks on the skin.

A lot of us formerly skinny guys have our initial stretch marks where our pec ties into the front delt and then later on come the Lat stretch marks close to back of the arm pit then they fade off. I actually dont know if most guys get the latter but I remember when I got my back to really grow I finally got them.

When I'm growing they get brighter and deeper.
Also the weightlifting belt. I notch mine really tight for Squats. If I'm bloated I can still squeeze it past the bloat. Cant squeeze it as tight when its fat 😅
 

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