I’ve never been particularly concerned about my weight.

I say particularly because it’s hard to not have some degree of self-criticism, some degree of comparison with one’s own imperfect body and the ‘ideal’, whatever the latter may be. Many of the people I see on a daily basis in social media and advertising are at least a cut above average.

Good genes. Great upbringing. Happy childhood. Obsessive workout routine. Money. Whatever people attribute it to, there are some of us who fit the beauty standard of the day that little bit better than others.

It’s easy to focus on the minutiae. That model’s jawline is better than mine. That model has a flat stomach. They can grow a full beard, whatever it may be. I’m sure I don’t need to get started on the ridiculous standards set for women – boob, belly, bottom and so on ad nauseam . Everything becomes a point of comparison if humans are looked at too closely.

I can’t grow great facial hair. I don’t grow much hair at all, in fact. I generally only shave once a week, and if I maybe wanted to keep my facial hair neat and tidy, I could only bring that up to once every three days, if that. There’s just not enough to shave after a day or two.

In the end, all comparisons are relative. You can only say you’re more or less good-looking with reference to another person. At the end of the day, I feel that makes objective descriptors of physical beauty a little… dumb.

Recently I’ve realised that I’ve started gaining weight. Those who know me would say that it’s nothing to worry about. I’d agree with them.

I’ve been exercising a lot more in a bid for better mental and physical health, which has and will continue to lead to better overall emotional wellbeing. I’m 185cm and 89kg. From a BMI perspective, I’m overweight.

I don’t look remarkably muscly, either. This isn’t muscle on muscle. It’s new muscle. Fresh muscle. I look hardly different to 83kg, at my recent lightest.

Yes, 6kg is not a lot of difference, but the added weight has been a benefit. I don’t like my squishy belly or my overlarge thighs, perhaps, but this is the body I’ve been learning to live with for 25 years.

A bit of weight here, a little there – it’s all a nonsensical numbers game. In the end, how you feel is most important. If you’re healthy and happy, the way you look shouldn’t be a concern. I’m making progress there, but then – this is a truth we all know but struggle to really believe.

One day I’ll get there. For now, I’ll still curse at my belly from time to time as it sticks out a ways from my body. The way I feel, though, makes the lack of change in my belly okay. I can still be happy with how far I’ve come.

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay