Why I Love My Body

Where do my ideas come from? My brain, body, and muscles. My mind is simply an external manifestation of my body.

Am I the only one?

I believe most people don’t love their bodies, or they have poor body image issues.

Where does this arise from? And also — why do I love my body so much?

Selfie

You are your body. Your head, face, limbs, muscles, bones, sinews, blood, skin, etc. Why are we taught to hate or despise or bodies?

Christianity is anti-body

Christianity as we know it (Catholic and Protestant) is anti-body. We are taught to despise our bodies. Sexual matters are seen as a sin. Anything sensual or related to the bodily pleasures is seen as a sin. Thus, we are trained to be ashamed of our bodies.

The mortal body

Shadow silhouette

Also, we are taught that the body is mortal, but the soul is immortal. Thus to “waste” any of your time on your body (not your spirit-soul) is bad and evil.

Essentially the body is seen as the enemy. But the soul to be the supreme good.

But what if the soul was mortal, and the soul and body were effectively the same thing?

Who teaches us to despise our bodies?

Skeletons

Of course in culture and media, there are certain ideal body types. Are there superior body types? I think so. For example, I would rather be a muscular 170 pound individual with 10% bodyfat than be a flabby 170 pound individual with 40% bodyfat. Body composition is insanely essential.

From Legion. I prefer around a 10% bodyfat range for aesthetics

For women, it seems around 18-20% bodyfat is ideal:

Now, the question is:

SHOULD you be 10% bodyfat (men) or 18% bodyfat (women)?

Of course you don’t need to. Your life is up to you.

I believe if you want to maximize your physiological power and strength, happiness, mood, and metabolism, the 10% range for men and 18% for women is ideal.

If you’re a man or woman with 50% or more bodyfat, you’re not going to like the way your body looks. I think this is more of a physiological and evolutionary biology fact than anything.

But what if you’re in the 30% range for men? And around 30% bodyfat percentage for women? Then your personal body image is up to you.

My experiences

Selfie. Hanoi, 2016
Vietnam, 2017. Low bodyfat percentage

First my story.

I was a fat kid and bullied for being fat. I then started to lift weights, run, stopped drinking soda, and as a consequence got stronger, put on muscle, and lowered my bodyfat percentage. And I can say with absolute certainty:

Lowering your bodyfat percentage and increasing muscle mass will increase your mood, self esteem, metabolism, energy, and courage in life.

In praise of powerlifting

Deadlifting 420 pounds (four 45-plates on each side, with a 2.5+5 pounder)

I would say that focusing on “bodybuilding” is bad. I prefer the notion of “weight-lifting”, or “powerlifting”.

Why is bodybuilding bad? I think it is bad because the ideal bodytype becomes a monstrosity. From an aesthetics percentage, men with 5% (or less) look quite horrendous. And also the “look” isn’t possible without steroids, human growth hormones, or other things bad for your health. Then there becomes too much obsession with protein powder, supplements, and this existential angst that you’re not getting muscular “gains” fast enough. In essence, it seems bodybuilding is a net negative for your body image, even though you might objectively be massive. And you’re also always comparing yourself with others, which isn’t a good telos in life.

Closeup my hand and calluses

Powerlifting is better because as you strive to increase your “one rep max”, you naturally put on muscle mass. Also going for an epic new one rep max and “pr” (personal record) is far more exciting, thrilling, and fun than mindless and endless “reps” (repetitions) in the gym. To train like a bodybuilder (many reps until failure) is less fun.

What do you do once you have the ideal body image?

I love the way my body looks. Now what?

At this point, perhaps this is the benefit:

I can admire my body as my own sculpture, than having to go out and buy a Lamborghini.

Isn’t it more effective and interesting in life to transform your own body into a Lamborghini, instead of striving to buy a Lambo?

Indifference

Now that I love how my body looks, now what?

This is the funny thing— now I’ve become more indifferent to my body. How so? I continue to attempt new PR’s at the gym, and give it my 500% effort. If I fail, it ain’t that big of a deal. I’m actually not discouraged after failing. In fact, I feel MORE EMPOWERED after failing. Why? I’m no longer afraid after failing! To fail isn’t a big deal! You just discover new information (that you’re not strong enough, yet), and you just go back to training!

Deadlift weights bar

Also, as time goes on, I naturally get stronger and bigger (muscular wise). I don’t even “try” to become more muscular. I just keep training for fun, and I get bigger! It seems like the Taoist notion of “wu-wei” (action without action).

Squat rack

Respect for my body as the source of all my ideas, innovations, and artworks

Where do my ideas come from? My brain, body, and muscles. My mind is simply an external manifestation of my body.

Obviously ultimately my body shall perish. But so will my mind and soul.

Then comes the question:

How shall we live a meaningful and virtuous life, given our mind/body/soul will perish?

ERIC

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