I have joined a gym to ensure my body receives the exercise and respect it deserves. This wasn’t something I’d planned to do, but it’s where I was led and so, I am going with it.
I was previously a member at Curves and, for various reasons, I stopped going. As I was about to cancel my membership, I received a call telling me that the location was closing at the end of the month. “Bonus” I thought, “I can cancel immediately without the requisite 30 days’ notice.” And cancel, I did.
The woman I spoke to didn’t implement the cancellation. I learned this when I received both an email and a phone call telling me that a near-by fitness centre was willing to transition members to their club at a reduced monthly rate with a few special offers. I also learned that a friend of mine and her daughter were members of this club and loved it. I went to the fitness centre’s website and liked what I saw; a pool with Aquafit classes, Yoga, and a variety of cardio-aerobic classes in addition to the equipment you’d expect.
I chose to go for a tour.
The place looked great, lots of equipment, a co-ed area and also a ‘ladies only’ area, onsite Trainers, Nutritionists and more, classes at reasonable times (for working people) and a relatively low monthly rate in spite of the abundance of choice.
I signed up.
My entry package included a free fitness assessment (weigh-in, BMI, goals, etc.). To see the ratio of fat to muscle in my body was shocking. To hear that I am in the Risk category for heart attack, diabetes and stroke was unnerving. To know that with exercise and more mindful eating I can change my body composition is empowering; at least it will be when I completely move through the humiliation and shame that rose up within me.
One week later, I attended my fitness appraisal with one of the gym’s Trainers. I’m not sure what was worse – my heart threatening to explode, my lungs struggling to intake and output breath, my muscles screaming for me to stop, or the burning embarrassment and shame at how very difficult this was for me; from behind my own eyes and also from the way I imagined I was being perceived by the young, male Trainer pushing me to ‘be my best’.
Many times over the last two weeks I’ve asked myself, “what am I doing here?” And then, I give thanks for this opportunity to work toward improved health and lifestyle before anything serious has happened to me.
I’m also grateful for this opportunity to confront Shame and Humiliation; I’ve never been good at that and decades of carrying the weighted ideal of perfection and being impressive has taken its toll.
I am proud of the
fat woman who huffed, puffed and sweated through an unbearable assessment, in public.
I am impressed with the
bewildered woman who is planning meals in new ways, eliminating foods that don’t serve me right now, and committing to my healthy Self.
And I am starting to feel compassion for the
sad, hurting and fearful woman who is finding it difficult right now to move without muscular protest, yet smiles with every wince; each aching step honours my new flight path, my willpower, me – Gentle RiSing.