It’s a celebrity before and after with a crucial difference – and it’s kind of an obvious one.
I almost did something really shitty this morning.
I almost sent this photo to my partner:
You see, I got carried away on a tide of enthusiasm for the ridiculous hotness of LARRY. Yes, friends, Larry Emdur. A man who, until several months ago, had the bumbling, unthreatening appeal of a, well, a game-show host, but has suddenly emerged from some kind of gym-weights-skinless-chicken-filled crysalis to be, you know, HOT.
Woah, I thought, my man has a big birthday coming up. Maybe he’d like to be inspired by what you can still achieve if you commit yourself. Maybe he’d like to know it’s never too late to shake off the bad habits, to return to your youthful glory, to be the best you can be…
And as my finger hovered over my phone, I suddenly remembered myself.
Because what AM I? A monster?
Imagine, for a moment, what would happen if my partner had sent me this picture, for, you know, my own inspiration.
It’s hard to overstate how offended and hurt I would be if the man who’s supposed to love me the most – my safe space, if you like – was dropping celebrity-endorsed hints about how I could look so much better if I just applied myself a little.
That’s not what loving partners of either sex do, right? But it gave me pause for thought about the mass celebration of the unveiling of Larry 2.0.
I love Larry Emdur. The truth is, I kind of loved him before he became a serious contender for cover-man of Men’s Health. He buzzes and sparkles on air like a man who loves life and loves his job.
He didn’t need to get buff to convince me of that.
But get buff he did. He set himself a goal of trying to be Men’s Health Man of the Year cover star. And if he pulls it off (he’ll find out tonight), he’ll be their oldest ever “cover boy”.
Here’s his “transformation”:
I am deeply impressed by anyone who decides to overhaul their health, at any age. It’s incredibly difficult to pull yourself out of comfortable habits and decide to make positive changes. Many of us never do. The age that Larry did that, 49, is a critical one for men, who often carry too much weight around their middle at that stage of life, a signifier of impending problems like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
“I wanted to be 50 and fit, not 50 and f***ed,” says Larry. “My motivation was right, I wanted to do it for my family… It was bloody hard work.”
I bet it was, Larry, I’ve seen the pictures, and they make me want to reach for a coconut water (maybe with a splash of vodka).
But here’s the thing. In the same way I should feel no less shitty about sending out a pictorial “motivational” message about weight loss and fitness to my male partner than I would sending it to my female best friend, we should also be cautious about spreading our body insecurities around with quite such enthusiasm.