June 22, 2017

I know this photo doesn’t look like much, but really – it’s a small milestone for me. (Or actually, a 2X milestone for me!) I’ve been working out at Body Dynamics – this gym that my friend Steve found in Falls Church, where all the staff are just dripping with advanced degrees and they’re not drill sergeants and they actually want to find out WHY you don’t like to exercise and then they work to change that. And for a year or more, I’ve gone there dressed in baggy sweats and even more baggy t-shirts. This is “shame” clothing, and a useless attempt to hide the bitter truth.

My glorious trainer Barbara gently persuaded me to take the leap and buy new shoes specifically for exercising. Doesn’t sound like a big deal to you? It was to me; I had to go to a running store and have a bearded (and very kind) millennial watch the way I walked, like I was some Take Myself So Seriously athlete.

And the shoes were not such a big deal, after all…

So I threw myself on the mercy of my sister Twig, who derives tremendous joy from exercise, and she was so pleased to be asked about getting me into less shame-based workout wear that she bought me a selection based on what makes her comfortable – which is exercise pants under a loose top that skims over the upper body. What a blissful idea.

It took a few weeks for me to get the fit right; had to send lots of clothes back and order new sizes for a while… but today I bravely put on my new arm-baring garb and went to the gym and sweated in it. My classmates were hugely supportive and said nice things, and I worked out hard and easily in my not-quite-so-shamed outfit. This is a bit of my internal dialog as I faced the mirror in the work-out room at Balance Class:

  1. I feel like a five-year-old dressed in a Wonder Woman costume; people will smile on me fondly and think – how cute! Look – she thinks she’s all that!
  2. I’ve got a pretty good oompa-loompa/jodhpur thing going on there at the midline.
  3. Next time, white socks, so I look less like a boxer in a Boston gym. Okay, okay, okay.
  4. I’m used to wiping my face on my t-shirt – neckline or sleeve, which is gross but easy. Where’s a damned towel? This is a prima donna outfit. Sheesh.
  5. I’m looking better than I did; now I look less like a fat lady and more like an East German Olympic swimmer.
  6. I’m looking better…

So that’s my long-winded post on the glacially-slow evolution of body image. Tomorrow I go back to the same gym to start working with their nutritionist. Maybe I should go scarf some sugar now while I have the chance!



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