One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

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Crazy Gym Observation and Revelations

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I saw the STRANGEST thing at the gym today.

There was a women working out on the nautilus machine in “normal” clothes.  That may not sound too bizarre but close your eyes and imagine…

Ya ready?

A 30-something female in a blue turtle neck sweater, black slacks and dress shoes finishing a set on the chest press and moving to the ab machine.

Ya got the mental picture? Ok, now do you believe me???   …  It was ODD!

Now, at first I thought she was an employee but after seeing her complete a set and move on to the next exercise I was sure she was actually working out in a blue turtle neck sweater!

I thought, MAN she must be crazy I can hardly handle my t-shirt and sweats. But as I sat on the arm extension machine contemplating my next set, I thought about it (this is what I do, I people watch and imagine their situation – it’s a problem I have ;~P) Did she forget her workout clothes and is still working out? Would I have the courage to do that without fear of  “oh God – What would people think?” If that was her actual situation (and I’m sure it wasn’t) she is not only super dedicated but totally confident in herself as well.

I say that only because I’ve been contemplating moving to free weights but I’m scared. Yes scared. What will people think? That room is so intimidating with it’s enormous bar bells and muscle bound athletic tattooed sweaty men.  I don’t belong there. Do I? I’d be so out of place. I’d look like a complete idiot. 

These are all things that have crossed my mind and prevented me from trying.  But seeing that women do her thing, in her blue turtle neck sweater gave me a shot of confidence.  (strange, I know)

Who cares what people think? If I want to lift free weights I should! Next trip to the gym I’m going to do it!

And why shouldn’t I? Since beginning my workouts in August I have come a long way.  I’m up to jogging a bit on the treadmill, I can easily do 30 minutes on the bike even with the hill routine, I LOVE lifting weights on the nautilus machines and I’m starting to see changes in my body.  A muscle here, a little more tone there.  It is AWESOME!  

So I thought I’d list some benefits of working out, some tings you may not have thought of.

  1. I’m not cold after a work out – Are you the type of person who is always cold? I am! ALWAYS! But for at least an hour after I workout I’m fine. I hardly even need my coat to walk outside of the gym and I actually turn down the heat in the car, something I NEVER do!
  2. Time alone – Being a mom, a wife and a teacher I NEVER get a second to myself.  Someone is always vying for my time. To counteract this I make gym time MY time. I can workout and listen to my iPod or watch what I want on the TV that’s connected to the treadmill.  I can even just think! Yes THINK without interruption. Something that rarely happens nowadays.  
  3. Confidence boost – You would think losing almost 70 pounds would give me all the confidence in the world but I’m here to tell ya, weight loss wasn’t the complete answer.  I know that sounds easy for me to say now that I am “skinny” (OMG I just typed that) but it’s true.  I always thought that if I lost the weight I would be the confident women I always knew I was on the inside.  Instead I just became the same unsure girl in a smaller size.  It’s wasn’t the weight loss that did it, it was a combination of things, the biggest being a change in attitude.  By working out and lifting weights I’m proving to myself I can do it. That I can do anything I set my mind to. It’s that contagious goal concept I’ve mentioned a couple of times before. Since working out I am more confident then EVER!
  4. People Watching – I hinted earlier in the post that I like to people watch and it’s so true.  I guess you can say I’m an observer by nature. The gym is a great place to people watch! Next time you are there just take a look around, you never know you may be on the treadmill next to someone who’s lost 70lbs and runs a weight loss blog. ;~)
  5. Eating More – Now don’t misinterpret this as “if you workout you can eat whatever you want” because that’s just not true.  But since working out I have noticed the scale is a little friendly when I indulge here and there.  I also need a bit more calories to support the workouts and muscle gain.  Us Weight Watcher people learned this with activity points but when I started I never believed it. I’d just skip them thinking I’d lose more weight, now I get it. I really do need more fuel to run this (forgive the pun) well oiled machine (it just popped in there and I couldn’t help myself. ;~P

Alright, I’m sure I can come up with more but you get the idea. I never thought I’d become a gym rat. Really, I NEVER did. But taking 2-3 nights a weeks to give you time to yourself, boost your confidence and your-self esteem so you can eat more, now doesn’t like a treat instead of a chore. It’s all in how you think of it!

Thanks crazy women in the blue turtle neck sweater for inspiring me today,  YOU ROCK!



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Discussion

There are 34 comments so far.

    Kate

    December 17, 2007

    I did a free weight routine awhile back and I loved it! But it took me two or three trips to the gym to get the courage to go in there if someone else was in there! I was so afraid I would look like an idiot, or they would tell me I was doing something wrong, but Alas, no one actually seems to care, they are just minding their own business listening to their ipods lol. YOU CAN DO IT!

    Rachel

    December 17, 2007

    I used to belong to the YMCA in inner-city Boston. The free-weight room was downstairs in the basement – I was usually the only woman in there, in the midst of a bunch of huge, muscular black men! and what was playing on the stereo? gangsta rap, LOL!
    But really, I had a great time down there and even made a few friends. They seemed to love giving me technique pointers :-) I say, try it out! You’ll both get a kick out of it and who cares what strangers think of you anyway.

    thetaleofgenji

    December 17, 2007

    More power to ya! I’ve been given some free weight exercises by my trainer and I was soooo awkward about it. There’s all these muscular, scary-looking guys, and well-built women, and I always feel like I don’t belong. I just force myself in there, get up in front of one of the mirrors and do my stuff. It feels like I succeeded once I am done :-)

    Oh and… I love your blog. You have managed to lose so much weight, you look stunning, and I totally admire it!

    Jenny O.

    December 17, 2007

    Roni, I joined a strength training class at the Y to teach me to use the free weights the correct way. It gave me the confidence to go into the “weight room.” I knew what I was doing, and that made all the difference. Congrats to you, by the way!!

    allijag

    December 17, 2007

    You are hysterical! (I’m actually reminded a lot of myself when I read your blog). “Thanks crazy lady in the blue sweater” was my favorite line.

    All joking aside, I was terrified to do free weights, but once I started, and got some great techniques and pointers from the internet (and husband), it was awesome. It was the most empowering feeling, walking in to that weight room, having all those muscle bound guys look at me like “Um, you don’t belong here” and then watching me arm curl a 25lb. weight, as I thought to myself “Ohhhh yes I belong here”. Trust me, if you felt good after climbing the wall, you will feel even better after conquering the weight room. Also, a little hint…most of those muscle bound big shots…don’t lift properly, and when you know the right technique, it’s pretty funny to wathc :)

    marie

    December 17, 2007

    I’ve never commented before but read your blog often…

    don’t be afraid of free weights AT ALL or the fact that you may pick up a 5, 8 or 10 lb weight when someone else is picking up at 20 or more.

    Just find a good routine before you go and focus on what YOU need to do and let everyone else worry about themselves.

    Stumptuous has some great tips and training plans for women too if you want to check them out :) Best of luck!

    brockey

    December 17, 2007

    OMG that was too funny. I also went to the gym one time and this women was walking/ running backwards and sideways on the treadmill. I was really scared for her. Keep up the good work : )

    Jenn & Ed

    December 17, 2007

    For the most part, people on the whole are so self-centered and worried about how they look/what they are doing/etc. that they wouldn’t notice if you worked out buck naked w/ a pink mowhawk. Ok, that might draw some looks, but you get my point. Remember the rock wall :)

    Good luck!

    Jenn

    PS — I always tell myself that if people are that focused on me and what I am doing then they need to get a life.

    Anonymous

    December 17, 2007

    i HAVE “JAMI-TIME” FOR ONE FULL HOUR EVERY MORNING TO WORKOUT. AND IF FOR SOME REASON I DON’T FEEL LIKE A FULL HOUR LONG WOORKOUT, I USE THE LEFT OVER TIME TO PAINT MY NAILS OR DO A FACIAL.(I USUALLY USE THE FULL HOUR FOR A WORKOUT) I THINK IT IS SOOOOOOO IMPORTANT TO GIVE YOURSELF THAT GIFT DAILY. I NEED IT. I DESERVE IT. I’M TAKING IT!!!!!!

    Bern

    December 17, 2007

    You inspired me! I created a blog and it was because of you! I read your site daily and you give me lots of hope! Thanks for staying strong!

    Tanya

    December 17, 2007

    OMG! LOL! I once forgot my running shoes and tried with all my might to suck it up, not care what people thought and go about my routine. I couldn’t do it!
    I plan on hitting the weights soon but what I do is spy while I am doing some sit ups. I just watch as much as I can while cooling down from the bike or treadmill without staring!
    Good luck to you and you can do it! Do some spying first!
    Gosh, a blue turtle neck sweater…lol…

    holly

    December 17, 2007

    I can’t believe she was in her dress shoes, that is DEDICATION!

    Anar

    December 17, 2007

    Just a simple suggestion: get a personal trainer for one session and ask he/she to teach you working with free weights. The advantage is that you will feel that you know what you are doing and won’t be intimated by all these other men and because you do actually know the correct posture and all the chances of injuring yourself for bad form all lower.

    Anar

    Tiffany

    December 18, 2007

    YOU ARE THE FUNNIEST GIRL! There is a lady that pushed me also…for a really dumb reason. She was about 80 years old..she runs, she does all kinds of things. She is in great shape, but all her skin just hangs and is so wrinkly. I want to enjoy my body while I am young and I still have some time. I made my 1st goal to lose 30 lbs by my 30th bday. I made it to 34lbs. They had a biggest loser competition and I won. I COME HERE EVERYDAY> I love all your videos, journals and all you do. My next goal is to be on a volleyball team..just for fun, by the summer. My friends have asked before. I just didn’t want to be the fat girl out there. THANKS RONI!

    CaRoLyN

    December 18, 2007

    I know EXACTLY what you mean. I love to people watch at the gym and imagine other people’s situations. As soon as I read the story about the women in the turtleneck, I was already imagining her situation before I even finished the story. I came up with: She was late for work and forgot her gym clothes by the door, but she was determined to workout and she was sticking to her dedication to the gym so she just said “What the hell, I’m going to the gym anyway, who cares what they think” Kudos to her for having that kind og confidence. I know I couldn’t do it. I would have just skipped the gym.

    I’m actually starting to really like the gym. I find that taking fitness classes is an interesting way to log your gym time. It makes the time fly by and you feel great interacting with other people who have the same goals as you: to get fit and healthy!

    kat

    December 18, 2007

    i think you’ll be fine hitting the free weights! esp if you’ve been doing the machines and gotten used to some resistance there. i don’t know if you’ve upped the amount you’re using on the machines, but if you have, then the free weights shouldn’t be that bad.

    exercising is so empowering to me! esp since it played an integral role in my weight loss – twice!!! when i started WW this summer, DH kept asking if i wanted a trainer, and i wasn’t ready. after a few months, i was ready for the trainer! and you know what totally gets me – this is a total confidence boost for me – on one of the machines for your legs – he has me push out a weight that is more than i weigh!!! that just blows my mind!

    tessa

    December 18, 2007

    When I first started on free weights, I was a little apprehensive for a lot of the same reasons, but I tried it and loved it. I started seeing results faster than I did with the machines. Also, if you have some weights at home and don’t have time for the gym, you can do that part of your normal gym routine.

    I also went to a class called muscle pump at the local Y. It was mostly women and it really helped me to perfect my form and be more confident about what and how I was lifting.

    I say go for it, I think free-weights are the best.

    Crazy MomCat

    December 18, 2007

    This made me laugh. I cannot stand (read “am repulsed”) when I see people working out in regular clothes. Jeans, in particular, really gross me out. What is UP with these people?

    I get very hot and sweaty and so I will even wear shorts in the winter when most of the women in my classes are in yoga pants. Granted, I might be grossing out other people with my pasty white legs, but still!

    Big

    December 18, 2007

    This made me laugh. I have a one that would also make you wonder.
    When my hubby and I went to the gym we saw a lady on the treadmill walking about 1 mph eating a snicker bar while reading a magazine. It was odd because the treadmills were in the front of the gym and she was the first one you saw when you walked into the door. At first, we thought it was one of those power bars. However, once we saw the wrapper plain as day we were in awe. My hubby says at least she is trying. I was speechless.

    Sara

    December 18, 2007

    Free Weights are the way to go – once you learn you will never go back. I hate machines now!!

    One thing I strongly suggest is to hire a trainer for 1-3 sessions to teach you proper form that way he will give you a routine and you can make sure you won’t get hurt!

    Good Luck!!

    JanaMe

    December 18, 2007

    Add those free weights! i think it makes a huge difference in a workout routine. I was so excited the first time I wore my HRM during a free weight. It really burns up the calories even faster than the cardio. The combo of cardio and strength will truly add even more freedom to your weekly journal.

    MMalloy

    December 18, 2007

    You’ve already recieved a million responses but I had to say…GO FOR IT! Free weights are a great challenge and they really teach you how to work the muscles. I think it is great you are making these steps!!!

    Anonymous

    December 18, 2007

    Roni, I work at an office for a health company that has a gym downstairs. Often you’ll see people wearing their work clothes (dress slacks, collared shirts, black socks, dress shoes…I’ve seen it all). The thing is, if you forget your gym bag, or even just your sneakers…it’s better to look like an idiot than miss a workout…and I say “SO TRUE!”

    alicia

    December 18, 2007

    I get how you feel about the free weights and the overloaded testoterone zone, I have only ventured over to that area with a pro at my side, too intimidated otherwise!! You are so funny though, you say what others think, thats great! Keep up the confidence, you have more than you think!!

    KellyLeia

    December 19, 2007

    I’ve found that most of the muscle bound meat heads are really nice. Some of them even talk too much (there’s always one person who just chats you up for 10 minutes when you were supposed to be gone 20 minutes ago). There will always be a creepy construction guy (you know the one, who looks like larry the cable guy) and the 20 somethings hanging around in a pack around the cable machine, but after a few times, you won’t even notice them any more. And it can be a real confidence booster to catch one or two checking you out. Tell your husband when you get home too, it gives him a boost as well knowing that other guys are checking out his woman. My fiance thinks its great.

    Sambo

    December 19, 2007

    My suggestion if you are really anxious about steepin onto the weight floor is work-out with someone you know…I’ve recently started using free weights, but would never have done it if I hadn’t started working out with my boyfriend. He’s fantastic and really understands that when I say I’m done it’s not because I’m a whimp…Things that irritate me besides working out in jeans: Flip Flops (WTF?), Starbucks (water may be the better choice, or possibly Gatorade or Cytomax), Little [read: age 16-23) girls talking as loud as they can (either to another little girl or on a cell phone), Not wiping your sweat (yuck!) and Hogging equipment (Come on Bit*#, let me work in while you take your 3 minute break in between sets to drink your half calf nonfat sugar free white mocha and yell at your BF on your cell).

    Anonymous

    December 19, 2007

    I know what you mean about people dressing weird to work out. I am a nurse and today when I was at the gym in the hospital basement I saw not one but three people working out in their scrubs. Good for them for working out but it was funny they didn’t change into “work out clothes” first.

    heather

    December 20, 2007

    Hi Roni-

    You are doing so great! I am actually taking a break from WW due to being pregnant but I did come 17lbs away from my goal! :)

    Just wondering if you knew how many points was in a med. hot cocoa made with nonfat milk at Caribou…I figured it out at starbucks w/ no whip and skim milk and it was 5 points….I can’t have any coffee drinks from caribou or starbucks as it makes me sick so that’s why I was asking about if you knew or could figure out how many points!

    Happy holidays!

    Sorry this isn’t a work out comment but I couldnt figure out how to get a different comment to you! :)

    Heather

    Lathan

    December 21, 2007

    Try getting an Oxygen Magazine (muscle magazine for women) – they have great workouts and explain in detail how to do them. That way you’ll look like you know what you’re doing even if you feel like you don’t..:)

    Anonymous

    December 28, 2007

    Roni,
    Wouldn’t it be funny if Crazy Lady in the Blue turtleneck Sweater was a faithful reader of your blog and was actually working out despite the fact that she left her gym clothes at home in a mad dash to not be late for work but was so inspired by your dedication that she hit the gym anyway? (Just a freaky funny thought!) The next time you see her at the gym, you should talk to her!
    Tina in AL

    Jessica

    January 2, 2008

    I was working out on the elliptical machine tonight when I saw a couple of young girls (probably in their late teens or early twenties) walk over to the treadmills at the front of the room. One of the girls was wearing black leggings and knee length sheepskin boots. She got on the treadmill and started walking. I first thought, “That has got to be uncomfortable. Those don’t have any support in them.” Then I thought, “Man, her feet are really going to smell because it’s going to get really hot in those things, and she’s going to sweat.” I totally thought of your blog!

    FW

    December 31, 2008

    to anonymous nurse,
    We also have a gym in the basement of the hospital. However, we have a group from my department who regularly utilize the gym. We aren’t working out in our work scrubs……we bring extra scrubs to workout in (you know….the old beat up scrubs you don’t use for work). Scrubs are a lot more comfortable.

    Chris

    September 3, 2009

    Girl u’re funny. I’d like to have sex with one day