This is a blog post written by student staff member, Carrie Cleveland.
This post is reflective of my own journey in trying to embrace who I am while trying to work on improving my overall health. I chose to write about what I am doing because it is an important part of who I am right now. Everyone has their own path, this just happens to be mine.
So I joined a gym. Not just a regular gym with a bunch of treadmills and elliptical machines. I joined Conquest Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA gym. I mean, what middle aged, overweight woman decides that this is the way that she’s going to lose weight? At least, I didn’t think it would be my personal path. But, it went something like this…
I saw a post on Facebook for a weight loss challenge that said that for $100 I’d receive 10 weeks of classes and nutritional coaching. There are classes specifically for women called Fight Fit. They are like Crossfit mixed with some punches and kicking. I also get access to their yoga classes. I love me some yoga! I thought “what the hell?!” and I signed up.
The first day that I walked in to the gym, I was measured and my weight was taken. I knew the woman who was doing this for me, and when I stepped up on the scale, I cried. I was so upset with myself that my weight was as high as it was. I immediately felt a sense of shame, but I did not want to let that shame stop me from taking the next step on this journey.
After the traumatic weigh in, I walked in and started my class. Everyone looked super fit and healthy and in shape. I mean, professional MMA fighters train at this gym. Come on! I definitely thought my fat ass did not belong there (this warrants an entire post on its own but this blog sort of sums it up) but I got through that first workout with some modifications. I was surprised though that all these people that I just met were amazingly supportive. I think I had a preconceived idea that everyone would be super judgy and think I did not belong. The instructors all were willing to meet me where I am at and help me modify some things so I could get through the workouts. I was not expecting the huge levels of support I would receive from all of them and truly, it is priceless.
The next day I woke up and could barely move. My entire body hurt. Every muscle was sore. By the end of that day I basically crawled into bed and just curled up in a ball because I felt like I could no longer function. Then Monday came and I did something I thought I would not do.
I went back.
I took another class, and I was so surprised because it was hard and the workout SUCKED, but I did it. I got through it and I was so proud of myself. The other women in the class were cheering me on and encouraging me. I mean who does not want that?!?!
For the past five weeks I have gone to classes almost regularly. I have made modifications to my diet like eliminating sugar and alcohol, and it is making a difference. I have noticed small changes in myself and I am shocked. My pants are looser. I am less sore after a workout. My wedding rings fit again after what feels like forever. Today, one of my friends stopped me and told me I looked good. It was such a great affirmation of my hard work and even though I know my value is not determined in how I look or how much I weigh, I do appreciate someone noticing that I am working on me.
I have five weeks to go and I think I have a real chance of winning the challenge. After these first few weeks though I realize it is not about the potential prize at the end, it is about me. Many women, myself included, spend so much time taking care of other people that we put ourselves last on our own list. I am so guilty of this and I need to do better. I need to make myself a priority and that is what I am doing right now. I stepped out of my little box of fear and I tried something new. When I did that I found a gym that met me where I am at and embraced the person I am. The trainers, yoga instructor, and the other students have been nothing but encouraging and helpful.
Daniel recently wrote this blog about how important it is that we treat ourselves with love. His words ring so true to my own journey in valuing myself and my body. Although our paths are different, I believe our destinations are similar. We just want to feel good about the body we are in. This is very reflective of what the body positivity movement is trying to teach all people. I am a work in progress but I feel good for the first time in a long time about who I am TODAY and who I can be TOMORROW.