About three months ago, I joined a fitness club. I was *beyond* excited and looked forward to a new, svelte me by summer’s end.
It was not to be. My #healthyjourney is over.
However, this is not a post complaining about or “dissing” the place I joined. In fact, it’s not the point at all.
There are two reasons I’m writing about what happened with me.
The first reason? I told you about it when I joined … and you may wonder what happened or why I no longer mention it.
The second? I have realized some things through this experience that I want to share. Kinda B I G things.
There are many layers to this story… and when I peeled them back, I was left with the realization that I needed to do something I’ve never done (quite this way) before. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
In my excitement when I initially joined, I overlooked some things that would normally have been red flags for me. I highlight “for me” because it has virtually nothing to do with the establishment itself, which was lovely, clean and smelled wonderful. It was like going to work out at a spa, truly, which I’ve shared here before. I gave it 5 stars on Facebook, for crying out loud!
But let me begin at the beginning…
In my day job, I am a sales professional. I had a reason for contacting the club… to sell them an ad, which they bought. When the owner came in to make a payment, I could feel her eyes on me.
I’m fat. She’s watching me walk, hobble really, with my bad knee and arthritis. There is pity in her eyes, mingled with… what? What am I sensing… feeling?
Then she got the money from her bag and asked me if I’d ever thought of trying her place. I looked down… ashamed… at my fat… and that she’d seen me… so completely.
She handed me two visitors cards. One for me “and one for a friend.”
A month or so later, she bought another ad. She came back in to pay. We were friends now, weren’t we? She asked if I’d thought about joining? She could help me with my obvious pain. “You know that losing weight would help you, right?”
I know! I know! I really do… I get it. I’ve always “gotten” it.
She was so upbeat. Friendly. Thoughtful. She cares about me, I thought.
She didn’t want to keep me away from my work. How about I make an appointment and chat at the club? No pressure…
As I sat down for that appointment, several things happened that might have made me get up and run for the hills, had I been paying attention. I wasn’t. <<< This is the most important thing I’ve realized. I must NEVER, EVER, EVER make a decision, especially a contractual one that includes monthly payments, without due process… and by that, I mean: THOUGHT.
She was the walking/talking personification of what she was selling. And she reeled me in. I may be an award-winning salesperson… but she had me wrapped around her finger. I was hooked.
The questionnaire they used to assess me was – let’s just call it – thorough. And I’m not talking about my measurements and weight. The questions dug into a place I wasn’t expecting. I remember feeling anxious… afraid… my blood pressure rising as I answered. I almost felt out-of-body… like, I had to pull myself away from what was happening… because the prodding was too personal, too deep. I felt like crying.
Why was I answering?
At some point during the appointment, which lasted almost two hours, she asked if I was a Christian. I am, but… but… huh?
Religion. Why are we talking about religion?
Just writing about it here brings about that same fight-or-flight kind of feeling. My husband and I are not church-goers… well, I want to go… sometimes… and he doesn’t. But I believe.
Once again, I felt ashamed.
But I signed the papers. I was set to work out the following week. As I left, I said I’d be in just after I got off work.
What? They’re closed at that time? There is an hour and a half between the time I get off work and the time they reopen for the day. I’m not close enough to run home and back.
Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.
I guess I could read a book in my car? Or get a coffee? Or shop? I don’t have money for that. What if it’s hot in my car? Or freezing? Gad, this is beginning to feel very inconvenient, indeed.
I wrote an email to the owner, who was also my coach, and said I hadn’t realized they were closed for so long during the day. I could come in the morning, she said, before work. I could shower there. Okay, I’ll try that, I say.
I show up the first day and find the shower is in a very public room, in a corner. There are boxes piled inside. They use the shower for storage.
This won’t work. What have I done?
Okay, I will find a way. I’m worth it. I need to lose weight.
And so I found things to do for three weeks of afternoon workouts.
And then my knee, already torn, got worse. My arch fell on the opposite foot. I sprained my ankle on the same side as my knee. My shoulder (which was frozen years ago and still gives me trouble) kicked up. I went to my doctor. She said, and I quote: “Don’t do the machines that aggravate those injuries”… which was… helpful? What am I supposed to do – exercises for my right arm only? Geeeeez. That’s worth $60 a month.
At this point of the story, I need to stop.
I am not going to get into the leaving process, which was, quite frankly, brutal. Again, I don’t blame anyone in particular, as it seems par for the course if you check online. They don’t want you to leave. Got it.
Now, see… this all could have been avoided… had I listened to my gut back at the beginning. And by that, I mean… the day she came in to pay.
Instead, I hurt myself, spent money for literally nothing. I haven’t even used the facility for the last two months. As in: at all. Paid for it. Couldn’t use it.
What is the moral of this story?
If I am feeling SHAME — look for the reason. Do not SPILL MY GUTS to someone just because they ask. Seek SAFETY.
I am worth the time and care. Isn’t that was self-help, self-love and self-care is all about?