19 Sep Is there a place for body positivity at the gym?
No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth, I am here and hopefully, I will be back again soon. We’re still waiting for Helkom to install our internet line (almost 3 weeks now!) but I had a minute and thought that I would chat more about an inner war that I have been fighting.
I haven’t been to gym in 3 weeks. In the beginning, I was trying to juggle Axl being ill, packing up our old house and then of course the actual move, which resulted in Darren ripping a tube in his nether regions. Shortly after that, we all came down with a heavy case of the flu and we’re still on the mend. I plan on going back to gym on Monday. It’s going to be like starting all over again as I need to build myself back up, and from my little experience of going to gym I have learnt that flu knocks you a lot harder than you expect, so it is important that you start off slow and make sure that your trainer is aware of you being ill.
Anyway, so the reason I am here is because my last gym session was not what I had expected it to be and it has made me think a lot about this journey and the #BMKBucketList, in general. I am often left wondering if there really is a place for body positivity in a gym or am I just fooling myself into thinking that I can change the natural course of things.
You see, during my last session I had to measure and weigh myself. I had finally started gymming well again, I was feeling really good, my energy was up and I was ready to conquer but when I saw the numbers, the wind was knocked from me and I was left feeling dizzy, emotional and defeated. I so badly wanted to quit – it would be easier that way. I was told to go back to Phase One of my eating plan (which is what they call the Attack Phase), to start using a food diary and mark down every meal, glass of water and anything else that touched these lips (and stayed on the hips – sorry, couldn’t help myself). I was feeling so good and then the harsh reality of numbers hit back and I felt like I had failed.
After about a 2 weeks of rebelling and eating uncontrollably, not caring about my step count or what I’d tell my coach when I go back to gym, I took a step back and realized that this is becoming a problem. This journey is a lifetime commitment and I am a fool if I think I can undo 16 years of diet culture in 12 short months. There are bound to be days that I feel low on confidence, and I hope that there will always be days that I am ready to shake my booty and live without limits but what I do know is that I was feeling great, confident and healthy right up until I saw the results of my last weigh in.
I am finally starting to feel well enough to attempt the gym environment again on Monday, but… I am scared. I have to keep reminding myself that this journey is not about weight loss and that it was never my goal. My goal was to prove that a fat girl can go to gym and enjoy it without being discriminated against or belittled, that I can challenge my body and see it work in ways I didn’t know it could. THAT IS MY GOAL!
So, how do we balance gym and body positivity?
I think it is important to have a good relationship with your trainer so that you’re able to tell him/her that you no longer want to submit to being weighed and measured. Remember, you should never feel forced or unwelcomed in the gymming environment and if you do, don’t be scared to find a new gym! That’s the one thing I am always so surprised by, Curves Walker Drive has an incredibly welcoming and understanding environment for all women.
A few months ago, I addressed these concerns with my trainer and she told me not to weigh in anymore, but I thought that I was being silly for not just doing what everyone else was doing when they came to the gym, I felt like I was silly for not wanting to measure myself, so I put on my big girl panties and ended up doing it. That was wrong. Everyone else is on their own journey to health and wellness and we choose our own paths. I know that it is best for my health both mentally and physically to not measure and weigh in.
Every day is a learning curve and this is just another one. I know that I will keep getting better at this body confidence thing but it takes time, so I should stop expecting to see results overnight.