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Perspectives Project: PHIL

Today is the final installment of the Perspectives Project and I have saved one of the best until last!  I sat down with my dad, non blogger and pancake maker extraordinaire  to discuss weight, medical diagnoses, naked speedo spotting and how he feels about the whole question of body confidence.
This was a hard discussion for him to have, having struggled with his perspective on his own body throughout his life, but as he's the supportive dad type he sat down with me so he could be part of this project.

Name: Phil
Age: 50
Occupation: Hairy Arsed Trucker!
Height: 6'3
Weight At Heaviest: 25st 6lb
Weight Currently: 18st 0lb

Are you happy with the way you look?
No.  I'm fat, tall and hairy! I want to blend into a crowd but my height has always made me stick out like a sore thumb! If ever I wanted to go into the secret service they'd chuck me out - James Bond? More like Duck Pond!  I hate my hairy chest too. 
I've always hated my body, I have curvature of the spine when I was young meaning my chest stuck out like a puffin and made me really self aware of the way I looked to others.  I lost the weight to see my children grow and improve my quality of life, not to feel pretty.  Over time I realised I didn't want to look good and never aimed to be the handsome person on the street, my body became something practical and functional rather than something to celebrate.  It would get me through life.  I can understand others feeling good in their skin but it's never something I think I'll feel.

Do you have any body hang ups or things you don't like because of them?
I won't take my shirt off in public because of my hair and I won't run - my legs go at one speed whilst my fat wobbles go at another! Speedos are a complete no-no because I couldn't see them past my belly and I'd feel like I'm walking around the pool side naked! 
I won't wear trousers cut higher than a three quarter leg length unless I absolutely have to (like at the pool).  

Why did you decide to lose weight?
I was told by my GP to lose weight after being diagnosed as type 2 diabetic.  He recommended that it would seriously affect the length of my life span if I stayed at 25 stone and if I didn't change my eating habits then I would eventually move into type 1.  As I'm a driver this would mean I'd lose met license and ultimately my job, as the main income earner in my household this wasn't something I was willing to risk.

What's your best feature?
My sense of humour (son - yeah, but your jokes are really bad though!, Phil - Yeah? So's your face!).  Well, I find me funny!
If physical features then my eyes.  My wife tells me I talk and smile with my eyes, which is ironic because I'm losing my eyesight! Ha Ha!

Do you think the way women look at their bodies is healthy?
I don't look at mine so why would they look at theirs? Other than to clean it?
You are what you are, I'm changing my body for my reasons and my reasons are for no one else other than me.  If you're fat, you're fat - if you want to change that for you then do it.  Don't do it because someone else tells you to.

How do you think body image in the media is portrayed?
They sell sex, it's a two faced attitude.  You put a size 8 girl with big boobs on page 3 of a newspaper and it's great, but if you put a bloke with bigger boobs on there then it's embarrassing!
In all seriousness, what sells more? I'd be more inclined to picture of cars on there but y'know...

Is it acceptable to call someone too skinny or too fat?
I do - but it's about how you say and the context.  I like to have a laugh and a joke, but I would never intentionally hurt someone.  Ask me if your bum looks big in something though and I'm going to give you a truthful answer...

As a father of 3 women and a grandfather of a little girl, what would you say to them if they were concerned with their body image?
Be yourself.  I'd ask if they felt bad enough to do something about it and support them if they wanted to, like I did with my daughter when she wanted to lose weight.  We both went to the gym together and joined weight watchers, it was my way of showing her support.  But ultimately, I'd let them know that of course they are beautiful and always will be to me.

Have you ever felt good about yourself?
Yes, it was Tuesday...

Any final words?
Be yourself, we are what we are and we're stuck with it.  I'm happy just waking up each morning and living another day.

- Phil

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