The title of this post (I wanna quit the gym!) is from Season 4, Episode 4 of FRIENDS, “The One with the Ballroom Dancing.” If you’ve never seen FRIENDS and you have no idea what I’m talking about, I honestly feel that your life is incomplete up to this point. If you’d like to fill this void you didn’t know you had, just shoot me a message and I will gladly share my sister’s Netflix account with you so you can get caught up. You’re welcome.
I hate the gym. I really do. I don’t enjoy being surrounded by people while I’m trying to give myself a pep talk, pretend I can sing and dance like Beyoncé, or count down the minutes I have left out loud. Also, I want to look ugly without worrying if the person next to me is judging my back acne or my form when I’m squatting. I know there is a whole category of people who hate girls who wear makeup to the gym. Well, SURPRISE I’m one of them. It’s not vanity it’s insecurity. I have red hair and blonde body hair; my eyelashes need mascara or I look like a lizard. If I want to slap on some lashes and conceal the pimple on my forehead I’m going to. I’m an adult and it in no way impedes anyone else’s workout. The gym is intimidating, especially now with social media and horrible people taking videos to mock someone using a machine wrong or bully those who are overweight. I know what it’s like for women, because I am a woman but I think it’s equally as hard for men. In modern America, society has this idea that men should already know how to workout, they should be born with this knowledge the way they are born with the ability to use any remote control or gaming system. Women are seen as “teachable” and if we just continually repeat the phrase “I really want to be toned” trainers will shake their heads, roll their eyes, and hand us pink 5lb weights. It’s a battle of the sexes and we’re both on the losing team.
Thankfully though, we have the wonderful world of home workouts we can do in the privacy of our living rooms. A few years ago I was a dedicated P90X-er. Tony Horton was my guru and I felt like I could do anything (except a pull-up). I really like home workouts so we’re gonna give it another go with the same Beach Body community. One of my friends is a Beach Body coach and recently told me that I can get this on-demand version for $100 for a whole year so that seems like a pretty good deal to me. (Disclaimer: I am not a Beach Body coach or trying to sell you anything or telling you what you should do, I’m just telling you what I’m doing.) I also want to point out that everyone, including myself, is a hypocrite and maybe a year from now I’ll be a gym rat. A few more months of therapy might reveal that I’ve hated the gym this whole time because I was insecure with my body and once I’m confident I will change my mind. Or it could be daddy issues, who knows.
I realize that if you’re reading my blog you probably already know this, but for the people in the back I would like to inform you that not every girl wants to be stick thin and not every guy wants to look like The Rock. My goal has never been and never will be to look like a runway model. I like my curves. I feel better about myself when I’m less jiggly but still thick. Someone else might think differently and only feel confident in a size zero. THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. Believe it or not (believe it) not everyone wants to conform to society’s perception of the “perfect body.” Across different cultures there are huge discrepancies about what kind of body is attractive. Also, it is constantly changing. For example, ever since puberty I’ve had a big butt and in high school one of my least favorite people and biggest bully in school used to call me “bubble butt” (it was not meant as a term of endearment). I would make sure all of my shirts or sweatshirts were long enough to cover my butt or my jeans were never too tight so he wouldn’t say anything. HOWEVER, fast forward to 2008-2018 and guess what? Big butts are back baby! Shout out to Kim Kardashian for pioneering the way for white women with substantial backsides to thrive. But, what if 10 years from now, big butts aren’t “in” anymore? Would I have to cut mine off or go back to wearing baggy jeans and over-sized sweatshirts? Here’s the thing though, I liked my butt in high school I just didn’t like being made fun of or being the butt of every joke (pun definitely intended). Someone else’s rude comments shouldn’t have an impact on how we feel about ourselves when we’re alone.
When I was coaching one of my best friends on weight loss she would grapple with whether or not she was losing weight for herself or because society told her she needed to look a certain way. One thing I said to her that I still believe is to think about how you feel when you’re alone with your significant other (if you are single, just pretend for a second). If you are going to squirm when they hug you and feel your back fat or if you always want to keep your shirt on during sex, that’s you, that’s not society. Sometimes even if they say “I love the way your stomach hangs over those jeans it took you 10 min to get into, or I think it’s sexy how your flabby arms keep waving after you’ve stopped” you still won’t feel good about yourself. Confidence comes from you, not from outside validation. What is most important is how we see ourselves, and I realize that it took me 29 years to come to this conclusion, but now that I’m here I ain’t going back.
Originally, I had the idea for Weight Loss In Real Life back in June but it took a couple of months of writing and deleting posts, asking everyone I know if they thought it was a good idea, and some soul searching to finally publish. During that time, I had planned to post videos and I filmed one at a particularly vulnerable moment in August. I had been wondering how people could have genuine emotion and thoughts on camera because unless your whole life is filmed do you just think to yourself “I’m about to cry, better get my phone out” and it turns out that’s exactly what I did. It’s really hard for me to post this video so please be kind. If you are someone who doesn’t like me and reads this blog maliciously then I guess this is the ammo you’ve been waiting for. But for everyone who is reading because they relate to the struggle, here is an honest account of how hard ordinary plans can be when you’re uncomfortable in your own skin.