In April I decided to get a gym membership for the facility that's part of our area hospital. I had a reason for it. Next month I'm off to New Hampshire to a six week long writing workshop. Goals are always good and it seemed like one worth investing in. And there was a deal going on.
Years ago, I joined a gym and went perhaps twice as I felt completely out of place with the model-like women there. Women that made me wonder why were they even there? I had thought, ironically, that going to a women's only gym I'd feel safe and secure in my own skin. However, that wasn't the case. After two times, I never went back.
From that point on, I've amassed a large collection of DVDs. Yoga, abs, belly dancing, ballet workouts, the craziness of Jillian Michaels. Also, I've hordes a good many books on diet, which I have yet to read. While the reading of those tomes doesn't bother me in particular, the DVDs did. I was utterly convinced that:
1. I could do this every day without distraction.
2. I'd be safe and secure at home without people looking at me and wondering what the fat girl was doing.
3. That this time (with whatever new DVD caught my interest)it would really work.
What I found out was that I had a ton of excuses as to why I couldn't get in a workout. Even Jillian Michael's twenty minute sort were just so hard to fit in. Really, it was laziness. And, I think, under that (like the fat under my skin) I was scared. Scared to change, scared that I couldn't change, scared of people knowing. Which is silly, but so it was.
For most of my life I've been one of the pretty fat girls. You know the kind you see and say, Oh, she'd be beautiful if she dropped a few pounds. The sort that sits on the side as her friends find boyfriends and get married and have lives.
So, needless to say, I was scared to go to the gym. Mostly because I feared the judgement of others. Not what they would say to me, but what they were thinking. I stressed over what might be thought about me in yoga pants and a fitted t-shirt. I worried, but I still went.
And there I discovered just how wrong I was.
No one judged me. More importantly, I didn't feel judged. I don't feel that I'm better or worse than anyone else there. Better still, I don't feel ashamed of myself when I get out of my car in workout clothes like I have in the past. A boost of that sort of self-esteem wasn't something I expected.
I also discovered that I really enjoy working out. I look forward to it. Particularly strength training days for whatever reason. But the cardio doesn't daunt me. I've learned that I can push myself out of my comfort zone to reach the goal I want and that it's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
I've found out that I can change. Not only that I can, but that now I really want to. I don't feel guilty if I miss a day. I don't need to beat myself up about how awful that was.
Like with food when it feels like that yummy piece of chocolate cake has not just ruined the evening, but the rest of the week, so why not eat everything else that I'm trying to avoid? It's not like that unless I decide to make it into an issue.
I have to admit the writing workshop had a lot to do with the change. Not just for a goal to drop a few pounds. Only sixteen people are accepted into the program, which is very intensive. That I got in proved to me that I am good enough and I can do anything.
As a side note, I haven't yet made comments to others' blogs, but I do read them. And I would like to thank all of you for sharing your stories and struggles and insights. It's a beautiful thing.
And now, I must go to the gym.