Normally when you hear about someone losing 160 pounds, that's the end of the story. You might see a blurb a year or two later if they've gained the weight back, but usually the narrative goes something like, "Man or woman is overweight, loses half their body weight through diet and exercise, and now they have a perfect body!" However, fitness blogger John David Glaude, aka Obese to Beast, challenged that assumption with a video documenting his biggest insecurity: loose skin.John David Glaude has amassed a solid Internet following by chronicling his weight loss journey on YouTube and Instagram. It's a pretty amazing story: he went from 360 to 200 pounds through diet and exercise, and now he posts videos about anything from protein powder reviews to emotional eating to recipes for the "world's best oats." He's pretty freakin' adorable and not afraid to talk about the emotional aspect of losing weight, so it's easy to see how he got so many followers in such a short time — he joined YouTube just a few months ago, in July of this year. However, with more than two million hits, one of his newest videos is receiving the most attention by far.
In the video, Glaude strips down to boxers to display the loose skin left over as a result of his weight loss. It's incredibly brave of him to display his insecurities to the world like this, especially since it would be easy to keep instagramming and posting videos without ever revealing his imperfections to his followers.
"I'm comfortable clothed," he says, then adds, "I decided since I'm not that comfortable unclothed, I should show you guys me... unclothed." Throughout the video, he's clearly uncomfortable, but he sticks to his plan. Though he describes his stomach as "just a mess," he keeps his shirt off after the big reveal because it's "already off at this point." If he hadn't done this video, the idea that weight loss always ends in a perfect body would have gone unchallenged. As Refinery 29 pointed out, every once in a while you'll see someone like Brooke Birmingham, whose photo was rejected by Shape magazine because of loose skin on her stomach, but generally, the most you'll hear about this subject is how to disguise it.
Glaude's video is also refreshing because — shocker! — it reminds us that men have body image issues too. Amid all the videos like the recent "50 People, 1 Question," where a mixture of overwhelmingly female adults and children were asked what they would change about their body, it's easy to focus solely on women's body insecurities. This is harmful to men and women, because it simultaneously dismisses men's insecurities while emphasizing that in society, a woman's worth is tied inextricably to her body.
So serious props to Glaude for making such an open and honest video. I hope all the support has helped him be more comfortable with himself, and I'm sure that he's made other people feel a little better about their bodies too, loose skin and all.Image: bark/Flickr