I was reading a post written by Christine at A Deliberate Life on F.E.A.R. (how to kick it in the @ss) and well I got an uncomfortable wake up call. She talked about “If I had anxiety, I avoided the situation” and “I had created a safe circle from which I could scurry out, grab what would maintain a minimum existence, and then I would scurry back home.”. Ah Oh!! I often joke that I am Gollum from The Lord of the Rings. I drag what I need into my cave/home and guard my precious/recliner. Just like the ring my recliner is my reward and comfort but also my prison as is my house. I find I am very reluctant to participate in dinners and extra activities making the excuse that my hernia and food problems just make it too difficult. I wonder how bad my hernia flair ups would really be if I dealt with my anxiety better.
It’s time for one of those almost required articles for a web site like this. Gym Etiquette. This one will be taught by the person most likely to break the rules. Cindy “the slob” Fatchick! Maybe I should have a shirt made up for myself. Just as a warning for my unsuspecting adversaries. What you have to understand is although you may be sweating and grunting your way through your morning muscles wake up call. For some other people a visit to the gym is more of a gentle, spiritual awakening of the senses (or so I assume). They look at you and see a pig at the trough and you look at them and wonder who invited the Queen of England. So in an effort to provide some middle ground where we can all get along here is my take on the rules of gym etiquette.
At one time you were a 17 year old high school geek praying it wasn’t going to be square dancing day or yoga day or gymnastics day in gym class. You hoped you were not picked last for team sports and that you were invisible when changing in the locker room. Most people had the same experience in gym class. There was something you were not good at and the potential for embarrassing debacles was high. That’s right you have spent years erasing that 17 year old twit from your memory. You’re a responsible adult that others look to for guidance. You don’t stammer and stutter your way through a meeting. You are clear, concise and effective. So how come that 17 year old is the one making your decisions about fitness? I can’t join a health club! I won’t fit in! I won’t know what to do! People will look at me and laugh behind my back!
For many years there was one rule that could not be broken. Nobody is seeing me in a bathing suit ever! Well when I joined the gym 5 years ago at 446 Lbs there was not a lot of exercises or machines I could work out on. There was certainly no getting down on the floor for some crunches because there was no guarantee I would be able to get back up. It only made sense that the pool was the place I belonged. My first few months I wore a regular one piece bathing suit with bike shorts underneath and a bra. The bike shorts and even the bathing suit didn’t hold up too well to swimming and soaking in the spa every day. I probably looked more conspicuos with my extra layers than if I had just dressed in a regular swimsuit.
I am going to tell you the true tale about my first days at the gym. It may seem unlikely. I certainly was wondering what was going on at the time! The company I worked for offered all employees a free membership at any gym as long as you went to the gym at least 2 days a week. How could I say no? At 446 pounds we all knew that I needed to get to the gym more than any other employee. I visited the big chain gym that some of the other employees liked. I had an evaluation and during the evaluation I had a chance to see how the gym functioned. Even though they gave me a three month free membership I never went back. Nobody was mean to me, but I could see that these people were all in a hurry and anybody including me was in their way. I felt unwelcome.