What struck me about this, Tim, is how little the rest of the world understands two things about men: that they can have eating disorders in the first place (oh yes they can) and a body dysmorphia called Bigorexia, which is the all- consuming addition to look like The Incredible Hulk.
We are all of us so consumed by how we look we continue to gloss over how we feel. The body isn’t us. It is just an IT. It’s job- made up of trillions of cooperating microorganisms- is to give us vehicle. That’s ALL.
It took me decades of eating disorders to learn this. Decades. And my entire set of teeth. What a cost to us to get that lesson.
Far too many of us suffer from If ONLY. If only I could get big. If only I could be rich. If only if only if only. That’s fantasy thinking. Once we get there, as you found out, nuthin’ changes. That is, til we work on the only thing that matters: what’s inside. Here’s one way to think about it: https://medium.com/@jhubbel/if-only-the-seductive-power-of-fantasy-thinking-4e5526156d65
You have a lot of guts to put this out there, Tim, especially since the bro culture of OZ, where I lived for some four years, is so powerful. As a bodybuilder for my entire adult life and living with one, I get that pressure. However you learned to exercise in a way that fits Tim, not one that pleases your trainer. He doesn’t live in your body, or in your life. Your story about the compliment goes to the heart of how needy we can be for approval. The down side as you so aptly point out, is when it doesn’t come from the right source. Those things we do to extreme are usually indicative of pain we’re in. That’s feedback. You were wise to listen.