The journey to self-love and acceptance is long and different for everyone, but it’s a goal that’s achievable as long as you put in the work.
Social worker and model Kevin Ceekman knows this all too well. He has been overweight ever since he was little, that by the age of 10, he already got stretchmarks.
Kevin reached his heaviest when he turned 18, weighing more than 335 pounds. Although he had tried several diets, none of them worked.
At the time, Kevin got bullied a lot and didn’t have much of a life. All he had as friends were junk foods and video games.
“I never had a girlfriend. I never was out partying,” he recalled. “I was a pretty addicted World of Warcraft player. My whole life was just spinning around this video game.”
When Kevin ballooned to 335 pounds, he realized he had to change.
“I started to lose a lot of weight because I didn’t want to die alone… I didn’t do any sports, so I figured the key was nutrition to lose weight, basically,” he said.
Kevin eventually dropped 180 pounds and transformed his body. However, this achievement also came with new insecurities—lots of excess skin, which he carried around for many years.
Although he had lost a tremendous amount of weight, having a skinny body with a lot of loose skin kept him from being confident.
“My loose skin got in the way of feeling like I could say goodbye to my fat kid self in the past,” he said.
Kevin eventually went through two surgeries to have the extra skin removed, but the scars left him feeling insecure still. He said he “felt like Frankenstein,” so he never took off his top.
He wanted to be able to remove his shirt without having to always tell people about his weight loss story, so he thought of getting tattoos.
“To start a new life, I felt I need to cover my scars and hide my past. To be free in my skin, without thinking about what other people could see or think about me, that is related to my past,” he said.
Kevin covered his scars with custom tattoos and quickly fell in love with the art. The tattoos became his source of confidence and the “last puzzle piece” for him to feel freer in his skin.
Kevin now has large tattoos all over his body, which he got from many different artists. Some had a personal significance, while others served purely as decoration for his skin.
His appearance earned him work as a model and Instagram influencer.
But Kevin is more than just a pretty face; he also works as a social worker in Cologne, Germany, helping refugees learn in German schools. He’s also a musician, actor, personal trainer, tattoo artist, and blogger!
Kevin hopes that his story inspires other people to love and accept themselves.
“I believe that everything is achievable,” he said. “You just need to find what you really want and who you really want to be in life. Everything between you and your dream is just willpower and discipline.”
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