I felt like writing in my blog today after a little blow up on social media last night pertaining to my weight and health issues. Normally I try to let stuff roll off my back like a duck in the water but as my channel has been growing I’ve noticed an up trend in the amount of people that are sending me both negative and encouraging emails, comments, replies, DM’s, etc commenting on my weight and health in general.
The problem I’ve been encountering is that each person thinks they are the only one sending me the encouraging messages like ‘You really should loose weight’ or ‘You’re not looking well Jerry, you should go on a diet or get exercise’ or the not so encouraging ones like ‘Hey you selfish fat fuck how about you put down the bag of chips and try to be around for your child, you’re a horrible father!’ or ‘You should just kill yourself so you son doesn’t have to grow up with such a bad example’.
I really don’t mind the encouraging comments all that much but they also become a problem as time goes on because each person thinks they are helping me by telling me some encouraging thing about losing weight or telling me why I need to lose weight. But what it actually does is just draw attention back to my weight constantly which brings me a great amount of stress and what do I do when I’m stressed??? You guessed it, dive into some food and try to calm down.
I really hate muting and banning people that are just trying to be positive and constructive but unfortunately I’ve come to the realization that I don’t handle constant bombardment of my weight and health well and I’m finding that I’m gaining more weight, getting more gray hair, sleeping less and it’s all because of the constant bombardment of comments on my weight and health especially when they are out of context. The sad thing is I know the majority of people mean well and think they are being inspirational and helpful by pointing out my flaws and encouraging me to eat kale or run on a tread mill, etc. But the problem is each person thinks they are the only ones sending messages but from my side I’m receiving hundreds of them a week filling my inbox and stressing me the #$%^ out.
Everyone says that the only reason something effects you is because their is truth in it. That is absolutely 100% true, if you’re a skinny person and some yells ‘Hey, fat fuck’ you’re gonna laugh and be like ‘Nice joke dude, I have a 1% BMI’. But when it gets yelled at an actual fat person they are going to take it to heart. The internet is honestly no different and no matter how much I try to deny that it bothers me, it absolutely does. So much in fact I’ve noticed in the last year I’ve gained more weight and my health has degraded because I’ve lost confidence in myself because this message just rings in my ears constantly and I no longer focus on the stuff that really matters.
So I’ve made the decision yesterday that I’m going to mute and block anyone that is fixated on my weight or health. I am here to entertain and have fun and that has been sucked out of the experience for me by the people that constantly fixate on my weight and health and not on the content I create. I realize in the past I’ve made some videos that talk about how I want to change and that is 100% still true! I do want to change but I need to do it on my terms in the way I feel it’s right for me and in my own time.
Now obviously I’m not going to ban and block someone for saying ‘Looking good Jerry’ or ‘You look like you lost weight’ but the second you bring my son into that statement or my wife you’re muted and the second you bring any hateful tone into the message or consequence you’re banned for life. The truth is I’m very connected to my audience and unlike many other big YouTubers I spend a huge amount of time on Social Media interacting with my followers because that is why I originally got into this business in the first place. I love the people, I love the conversations and the different points of view. It’s just become so contaminated with weight and health related issues over the last year that I’m starting to become negatively affected by it and admitting that right now, right here, is important!
I haven’t been making videos that often and the reason for that is I’m literally getting to the point where I tremble turning on the computer in the morning because I know it’s just going to be another barrage of people not caring about what I create but only about my weight and health. The one thing not many people take into account is my mental health and how that affects my physical health. I’ve been fat my whole life and while working at Microsoft I did snowboarding, hiking, mountain bike riding, etc all at about 250lb and every single physical I got had perfect numbers with “No recommendation to changes in diet or exercise at this time” written on the final page. Since I went full time YouTube and exposed myself more to a much larger audience of people that has changed and now I have gout in my foot, more gray hair, gained ~50lb and I went from a positive happy person to a negative and pessimistic person because I let all the hate in that flows through the internet.
Yesterday after a long talk with my wife I had an Epiphany! Every time I’m depressed, have no energy & have no drive the root problem I’m always talking about is the hate I receive online or the massive emails talking about how I’m going to die if I don’t change my ways, etc. My wife muttered the words “Why don’t you just block them?”. I immediately started defending the people that are both positive and negative saying that I don’t want to appear affected because they will just come at me harder and then she said “Can’t you just block them also?”. I was starting to wonder why I was defending the very people that are causing me the stress and are messing with my health so much and realized I’m doing it because I believe many of them are right. However there is a big ‘BUT’ that I needed to observer here and that is even though they are right they are actually pushing me in the wrong direction. A single observation from a single person isn’t problematic but thousands of the same message from thousands of people starts to take its toll.
Imagine if you walked down the street with a mole on your face. You know that you have a mole on your face, everyone that looks at you see’s the mole on your face but you can still be happy and move about life and your business so long as everyone has a healthy respect for each-other and everyone realized that you have a mole on your face so there is no point in bringing it up. It’s no different with an overweight person. They obviously know they are overweight, they breath heavy going up a flight of stairs, they struggle to bend over to pick stuff up sometimes. But if you walk down the street and every person starts every single conversation with ‘Wow, it’s great you’re walking’ or ‘Wow, you lose that fat in no time’ or ‘Nice gut tubs…’ it sounds really positive right (except maybe the last one)? Wrong, it’s actually just drawing constant attention to their weight and making them super stressed out that their weight has become their defining characteristic and not their personality.
Once I realized that the problem isn’t just the trolls but also the nice people that are simply concerned I instantly relaxed and thought to myself, “Why am I just letting people bombard me about my weight when I have a ‘mute’ and ‘block’ button?”. The reason was because I didn’t disagree with what they were saying but more to the fact disagreed with the impact it was having on me collectively from multiple people hitting on the same things over and over again. It was like rubbing a scab until it falls off so the wound never heals.
I know it might sounds harsh that I’m going to be much more liberal with my ‘block’ and ‘mute’ buttons on social media and on YouTube but realize I’m doing it for my own personal health. I need to get my mental health and confidence back so I can move forward and get healthy on my own terms. I’ve done it several times throughout my life and it always happened when I was ready and I didn’t realize I was doing it because I did it in a way that was fun and I was passionate about. All the times I’ve failed to lose weight and keep it off were the times people just focused on my weight though the entire process and my weight quite literally defined me.
So in a nut shell I have muted about 15 people so far since yesterday and blocked 2 other people and just doing that gave me an insanely feeling of relief. The people I’m blocking are the people that are being negative and toxic. The people I’m muting are the nice people that just keep focusing on my weight and don’t seem to contribute anything beyond that. The goal here is to simply silence all of the people that stress me out so I can focus more time on the people that share my passions and like me for who I am and what I do rather then how gravity effects me and how many gray hairs I have.
Changing this way of thinking immediately gave me relief. I felt like I was released from a prison and immediately started smiling again. The truth is I’m here to entertain and share my experiences with you guys on my terms and if you don’t like those terms there are literally hundreds of thousands of other YouTube channels out there for you to watch. I don’t want to shut out my audience like other big YouTubers that just disable comments on their videos and have social media teams take over their feeds and interact with their audience becoming a buffer or proxy. I don’t want to do that so I need to be a little more strict and keep things on a level I enjoy so it doesn’t get out of hand like it has over the last year.
I finally realized that for me to be happy with myself I need to be in control of my life and that includes in control of the people that are allowed to communicate and interact with me. YouTube is kind of like having a bunch of apposing voices in your head constantly battling it out in a toxic way to establish dominance. I’ve decided to prescribe myself the medicine to silence those voices and stop defending them on he grounds they could be right. I’ve decided it doesn’t matter if they are right or not, they do not have the right to make me uncomfortable and if their cost to follow me involves me putting up with them being assholes or badgering me about something I’m uncomfortable with then I don’t really want that follower around. The followers I want are people that are passionate about the same things that I am and people that enjoy my sense of humor when it’s not being crushed by a mob on the internet. Those are the people I want in my audience, those are the people I want to see reflected in the lens of my camera when I’m sharing something awesome with the world.
Thanks for reading this and if you do end up being muted or blocked don’t take it personally. Just realized that I need to move forward with my life and focus on mental health first so I can then focus on physical health. This will allow me to continue to make the videos you love and support my family all while having actual fun and conveying that back to you.
TL;DR – I know I’m fat, ‘block’ & ‘mute’ are my new best friends, I’m taking back control of my life, If you can’t accept me for who I am then go find someone else, don’t be a dick, it’s not personal.
“It’s not an excuse to remain unhealthy, it’s a vow to restore mental health first so I can become healthy again.” – Barnacules
Questions & Answers
Q) Why not lose weight and focus on mental health at the same time?
A) For me personally my weight is dependent on my mental health so it must be established first. This is about what is RIGHT for me not what people think should work for me.
Q) It’s hard not to care about your weight when you make videos like this about it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82VBiz0Vt3o
A) The video was almost a year ago and I thought it was what I needed, but after being exposed to social media and YouTube every day as a full time job it’s started to become clear that the root problems depression, lost confidence, etc all stemmed from the constant awareness of my weight and health and not being free to follow my passions and relax and enjoy life. Things change, just to avoid confusion I did update the video description on that video to clarify things.
Q) We just care about you Jerry! Why not just ignore the negative stuff?
A) I understand that! But as I said, the constant focus on weight and health is actually harming my mental state and preventing me from being in a good place where I can get healthy again. Not many people seem to understand this but I’m 100% positive this is the right decision for me right now.
Q) Are you going to ban anyone that mentions your weight?
A) Depends on the context of the conversation, if they are posting things about my weight on non-weight related videos or in threads on social media that have nothing to do with weight or health then yes, I will block or mute them. The core problem here is everywhere I look I see stuff about my weight and fitness nested in completely unrelated topics, etc. People will do anything to get their ideas on weight loss and health or judgement’s in front of me. That is the core thing I will be fighting moving forward to keep things more on topic and stop being abused to this constantly.