**Originally written on November 14, 2016. 2 months after arriving back in Australia.
As the date neared that we were leaving the town of Strathmore AB Canada, I realised the attachment I had formed to my gym. The place I had spent a minimum of 6 hours a week at. And it’s not that I’d formed attachments to the people, it was the familiarity, the home away from home, the place where I could work out my shit, or not. And nobody questioned it. My methods were clearly working. I had become a fixture at that gym. I had earned my right to be there. People had commented about how great I was looking, and asked what I was doing differently. It was a place to ask questions of trainers, and have acquaintances. I am not one of those people that join a gym to make friends or chat the whole time. I get my earphones in and I off I go. I smash out (and sometimes I don’t smash out) a workout and I had found a place there.
It had taken over 4 solid years of having a membership to become part of the family there. The first 2 years I was there but it was still the beginning of my journey and I didn’t really know what I was doing. I wasn’t confident enough to do classes or do anything crazy in the weights room. I also didn’t know my limits. I was comfortable. Too comfortable. I didn’t like pushing myself. I was also trying some crazy diets and that was affecting my energy and my strength. I also suffered immensely at "that time of the month". I binged, had wicked cramping and it was just awful all round.
As time went on and I kept watching other people (non-creepily), and pushing myself to try new things, my confidence grew. The other thing that changed was a new job. Aunt Flow was becoming more manageable as I had more of a workout schedule, I was becoming more consistent. I also stopped with the all-over-the-place diets and just started eating healthily.
I tried a Step class on Saturday mornings… and it was fucking hard. I am so uncoordinated I was mostly just scared of tripping on my step and face-planting in front of everyone, causing a domino effect as I hit the extremely energetic, 50-something lady next to me. That vision played through my head that whole first class. Then my knees hurt for 4 days after that, I was not used to the step. I didn’t have a lot of steps to climb in my everyday life. It wasn’t good. I didn’t go back for a while. But I finally got up the courage again and started fresh. The one good thing was that everyone started from the beginning once and they were quite supportive. This particular class was quite cliquey (as was the rest of town) and filled with teachers from one of the primary schools. As well as mums who had (or had had) their kids at the school in the past. So, they all knew each other from way back. They even met for coffee straight after at a decided-upon location. Only certain people were invited… I never was. Which is fine because I feel like I wouldn’t have had too much in common, I wouldn’t have known the people they were gossiping about aaaaannnd I didn’t need that. Anyway, I was a part of that class; I even had a "spot" in the room. I had earned my place next to the wall, at the back.That class became my accountability to myself.
But now, we were moving, which I was so so excited about. But I had anxiety. Over the fact that these new people didn’t know me. Or how much weight I’d lost. I felt like they would think I was a skinny girl that let herself go, which wasn’t entirely untrue. But now I was coming from the other end and they didn’t know that. I was the girl who had lost 32kgs. I was proud of my progress and they didn’t know that. I couldn’t exactly walk around with a sign on my head saying “I’ve worked my ass off to look like this!”. I felt I would have to prove myself all over again. I was suffering from gym-timidation, big time. Although this time I knew what I was doing. I had grown as a person and didn’t care (as much) about what they thought of me as I was working out. I had grown in ways that meant to could now control those negative thoughts and push them aside. They didn’t matter to me. It was like a “fake it till you make it” thing. Just look confident until people accept that you’re a part of the gym. And not one of those people that quits after 3 weeks. I’ve been there, done that and I’m not that person anymore. I’m not done, damn it! So, this time, I joined a class and have gone for the last 5 weeks. I try to be a little more sociable. It’s easier at the class to do that because you’re all in it together, although this town is cliquey too. But I’m pushing myself socially, physically and mentally.
It’s great to try out machines you haven’t had access to before. It’s taken my workouts to a whole new level. I am working hard to prove my worth there and have lost a couple of kilos in the 5 weeks and really picked up my cardio and lifting game.
And logically I know that other people don’t think this way or even put 2 seconds of thought into my "place" at the gym… quite selfish of me to make that assumption, isn’t it? Especially since the message “don’t take things so personally” has been smacking me in the face lately, by the lovable Millie and adorable Crystal.
This is exactly what they’ve been talking about. But I’m sure I’m not alone in these Negative Nina thought patterns. And like I said, I have a way of controlling Miss Nina. I pretty much say “No” and squash those thoughts. It’s getting easier as time goes on. I know that Nina has a purpose and it’s good to have a questioner in your head but sometimes, I know better. I actually think my thoughts were self-sabotage in a way. Our primal instinct is to survive right? So our bodies and our thoughts work against us to keep things like fat. Because Fat=Survival, right? I am now close-ish to my goal, and sometimes I get tired, it’s hard doing this weight loss thing 24/7, for such a long time.
Moral of the story: I think we’re all a little afraid of the unknown. Of new people, places, situations - at some point in our life. And that’s okay. But you have a purpose, and a mission to yourself to continue on your path and learn to quieten those negative thoughts. Every stage of your life demands a different version of you. So, rise up.