Saturday, November 17, 2012

Stepping out of my comfort zone

One of the things I wanted to get done today was to sign up for a new gym membership.  There's a local gym that costs just $10 a month for a membership and I had every intention of doing so, but something was leaving me stifled.  I used to belong to a bigger, more popular gym.  In fact, I used to work out there a lot before I bought my house.  I always ended up going with friends to work out.  Then I let my membership lapse.  However, after I bought the house, I thought it was time to rejoin at a center closer to me.  I did that, but hardly went, so I cancelled my membership.  I really believe part of the reason I didn't go much was that I was intimidated.  It's that stigma of thinking you'll be the biggest one there and people will judge you.  The truth is, I have always found that people really don't care and, if anything, they encourage you in your efforts in getting healthier.  However, I do feel uncomfortable at times because of both the men and women there.  Watching them work out sometimes makes me feel like I'm just not good enough.  I'm not a cute, petite little version of the women I see out in the world.  Even when I get down to my smallest size, I won't be that person.  Just my height alone - 5'9" - puts me in a different group of people.  I look at the women and compare myself to them.  Of course, there are all different body types and ages of people working out, but my mind goes to the younger ones, either at my age range or younger.  Every flaw I think I have gets magnified a million times in my mind when I compare.  Then I think of the men ... they definitely check out the women there, even if they do it in a casual way.  I know it's my own insecurity but I just don't feel like I measure up.  Yes, I know that health and fitness is not about that.  I get that, completely.  But there's that part of my brain that is wired wrong because we live in a society where we are definitely judged by how we look.  Given that I'm single and got my heart broken in my last relationship, I'm more aware of being judged.  Sure, I know I'm not joining a gym because of any of these dynamics, but I'm just being honest.  There's a part of me that still feels like I'm the ugliest and biggest one in the room.  That is going to take me time to move past.

The other side of this is why I want to join the gym.  I need to use the recumbent bike to build strength in my legs.  Given the osteoarthritis in both of them, I can't be running for exercise or other things that are unhealthy for me.  In addition, I want to work on the machines for my legs, as well as building muscle in my core to help with my back pain and fibromyalgia and to tone my arms.  I do walk 5-7 days a week, so the exercises I would do at the gym wouldn't be every day and certainly not as intense since I don't want to go crazy with overexercising.  But I need to do this for my overall continued progress towards good health.

This is not about other people, this is about me.   It's important for me to feel strong, both physically and mentally.  Once I go a couple of times, I know that the things that are intimidating me in my head will not be as important as they seem to be right now.  I saw a post on Twitter today where someone put a challenge out there to "list five things you like about your body".  Egads, that seems like an impossible list to make.  That's precisely why I need to get over myself and get my booty to the gym.  If it is something I'm avoiding, there's a reason and it's my responsibility to myself not to shy away from it. 


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