I'm going to single out females and I apologize for not talking about males about this subject, but I can only speak for myself and the few female friends who confided in me over the years about this taboo subject.
Yes I'm talking about the dreaded subject of weight.
What's unfortunate about gaining weight and feeling horrible about it is, it's on our minds all the time. And so of course those self-crippling thoughts can interfere with our ability to play good pool.
I thought I'd start off with real-life situations/comments from friends. I think some of these admissions will surprise you:
- "Oh yes, I definitely played better the years that I was thinner. I hated myself heavy, and just didn't play well those years."
- "I really don't want to play on the stream table because I already look so fat. "
- "I really didn't want my picture taken because it would be printed in magazines, even though it was the first time I placed so high." (she placed 2nd!)
- "I really don't even want to go to this tournament, because I gained so much weight and I'm ashamed and fearful of what my friends will think."
- "I definitely feel more comfortable and play better when I'm thinner, because I'm happier about myself."
- "I know that I'm struggling right now with my game because I've gained so much weight and I'm embarrassed how I look."
Obviously, I'm not talking about ALL females, but a lot of women struggle with negative thoughts about their weight gain.
And let me share a little bit of inside information from my personal female body experience lol. My metabolism changed at ages 20, 30, 40, and 45. I don't know if this is normal for most females, I just know that this is what happened to me. That means as I get older it's more difficult to keep the weight off; it's more difficult to lose weight, etc. And at each of those "milestones" I gained weight. Further, we also go through situations in our lives that may cause depression or stress which unfortunately leads to emotional eating and less exercising.
I am proud of my female friends who make exercise a priority and eat well. But there are so many more of us who have gained weight and hate ourselves for it.
I am actually a "fluffy" girl (that's what I call it, lol) and I'm perfectly okay with not being skinny (luckily). Acceptance is actually one of those beautiful things that if you can truly, deeply understand and feel... it will make life that much better for you.
Back to the mental instability that weight gain causes: My friends have seriously debated going to a tournament or not because they think they are now fat (because they gained weight). Other friends feel so upset about their weight gain, they can't possible play good b/c they are more worried about what they think they look like to friends or how horrible they look in their clothes (nothing fits good or looks good). It's tough to play good pool while being unhappy, right?
.I'm not saying only skinny girls win tournaments.
.I'm not saying fluffy girls don't play well.
.I'm not saying all women are unhappy with weight gain.
What I am saying tho is some women let weight gain affect their happiness. Which in turn affects their mental attitude. Which in turn can affect us during competition.
We all play better when we feel better about ourselves, right? It's very normal and natural. The only problem is, sometimes the impact of weight gain can paralyze happiness, which can affect playing our best pool.
I am NOT saying that I played horrible when I was unhappy with my weight. I play pretty damn sporty because my fundamentals are solid and I have a lot of experience competing. But I am saying that when I feel REALLY good about myself/my weight, I just play so much better overall because I am so much happier.
I'm also not saying females sit in the corner of a pool room during a tourney with their head down, crying because of their weight gain. But they sure aren't skipping happily between tables, loving life like a bird with a french fry, either. Lol.
Ironically! Knowing big tournaments are on the horizon is actually a great motivator for many to exercise and eat well. I know a ton of female friends who set goals on losing a certain amount of weight before they go to State or Nationals. That's when they run into a lot of their friends from across the state or country and they want to look good for them. In return, they end up playing pretty good pool (b/c they are happy they lost weight and feel better about themselves).
You may be thinking - "they should just work out more and eat better if they are that consumed and it's affecting their play or attendance." Well, it's not that easy lol! Further, many of my friends DID work on their eating habits and exercise, to no significant avail.
You also may be thinking, "they should stop caring about what others think!" Yes, lol, we know we should, but we all care what we look like to a certain degree.
The point of this post is to share that women have low self esteem enough at times. Throw in weight gain, and it adds to it. And we can get embarrassed and ashamed. Who can play well under those conditions??
It's the players who accept who they are in their own bodies who can begin to overcome these crippling thoughts.
But it's so sad that many women are unhappy with themselves, which in turn affects their pool journey. Don't get my wrong - I've been there! I've thought the same, pathetic, sad way about myself before. So, not judging - just sharing. But I also know accepting who I am is a key to my happiness, which in turn helps my pool journey. It can help you, as well, in many aspects of life.