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.
I realized that I was really going to have to buck up put on a bathing suit and go to a gym that had a pool. I was in a fair amount of physical pain as a result of my weight and some injuries and working out under my own weight was going to be more than I could manage.
The gym that had the best pool in my area was the YMCA. It took me 2 weeks to work up the courage to show myself in public in a bathing suit. I wore a regular one piece with bike shorts and a bra on underneath. First day it certainly appeared nobody noticed me other than the lifeguard. He said “Have a good day”. After a week the woman that always swam beside me started talking to me. She gave me some pointers and started to challenge me in the pool to do more. Within two weeks I had two friends and within four weeks I had more friends and a large crowd of people who said hi to me every time they saw me. Every one of these people encouraged me, befriended me and honestly cared about me. I felt like they had been waiting around for me to show up all this time and finally I had arrived and wasn’t it great! I know it makes me tear up too but it is absolutely true!!
I came to the gym just to change my body, and my life was turned from upside down to right side up! I have been going to the Y for almost 5 years now. I have not met all my fitness goals yet. I weigh 357 now and have abs of steel. I have met a large diverse group of people that I could not have met in my normal life and they are all amazing just like me!