The last article I wrote about the woman in the pool who wore her bathing suit with pride was one that I received the most response.
Many ladies in my class and people I know were surprised to hear that I was self-conscious about my body. Many people thought that because I am a fitness instructor, that I would no problem getting into a bathing suit with confidence. This could not be further from the truth.
With the onset of summer, I do watch what I eat and up the cardio in my own classes to trim down for bathing suit season. I tell people all the time to stay off the scale and I usually follow my own advice and “feel” my success in my confidence level and the way my clothes fit.
If my summer clothes feel a little snug than I put forth a little more effort into my eating habits and increase my exercise.
I tell people that there are mainly two times a woman will get on a scale. The first is to “face the fact”, when there feeling less than positive about their weight. The other time is when they are feeling confident and want to see a number to validate how they feel, because they are feeling so good. Both are horrendous traps.
If you get on a scale when you are feeling bad about yourself already, and do not have a plan in place and you end of feeling even worse. On the other hand, if you are feeling great about yourself, and get on the scale and it is not what you expect, you crash. All the good feelings disappear along with it your confidence.
I am ashamed to tell you this next part, but because of the response from the last article, I want you to know.
When I tried on my summer clothes this year almost all of them fit, but a few pairs of shorts were snug so I started watching what I ate and increased the cardio in my classes. So after six weeks, I tried them on again and I was thrilled that they were no longer snug.
Then I did something that I almost never do. I pulled out that nasty scale. Since my body rarely gains or loses weight because of all of the classes I do, I thought for sure since I felt a difference in the clothes and the scale would show a weight difference.
What happened next was nothing short of a spiral into whirlwind of emotions of self-doubt and a loss of confidence.
The number on that scale was the heaviest I have ever seen in my life, including when I was nine months pregnant with my girls. When I was a size 15, (and nothing wrong with being a size 15, but I need to mention the size in this case for a point of fact) I accidently bent over trying on a bathing suit and actually jumped thinking someone else was in the dressing room with me when I saw my own behind in the mirror. I weighed 10 pounds more than that day.
So now here I am 15 years later, standing in my kitchen, half naked and crying, and looking down at a number. When I got on that scale, I was sure I was going to feel fantastic, instead the number ripped me back to that change room on Spring Garden Road almost two decade ago.
My poor husband came home and knew something was wrong. After about an hour, I told him I got on the scale and his first words were, “Why did you do that? You always tell your ladies not to do it.”
I told him that I was feeling so good I just wanted to peek and feel even better and than went on to let him see what horrors lies within a women’s mind. I needed to unload this burden and he was shocked. I will not tell you everything, but some of the things question was that maybe some of the women stopped coming to my class because they noticed how big I was getting. I told him I know I buy a size small in pants Chris, but what if I am a size large, but squeeze myself into a small to make myself feel better? I worried that no one is going to pay to learn fitness from someone that has so much to lose!
I am not proud of myself and Chris responded very well, for a man caught in the cross hairs of an out of control, fitness instructor. He told me all the positive things I tell my ladies.
He asked, “What would you tell your ladies if they said these things to you about themselves?” He really is an amazing man.
It has been over three weeks now and I have slowly gained back my confidence. I was starting to wear shorts for the first time in years and even bought a new swimsuit, but getting on that scale that day set me back months.
As a fitness instructor, I know better and I still did it. Thank you to the ladies I confided in for your patience and kind words. Thank you to the ladies that inspire me in class and thanks for helping me through a tough time. Most of all, thank you to the women who share their fears and vulnerabilities with me. Thank you for making me feel human and letting me know, I am not alone.
This article was tough to write, but after the response of people being “shocked” that I was not confident with my body…I wanted to give you a glimpse into the mind of just an ordinary woman in today’s world.
I am 42 and I wonder…does it ever get easier? It may, but in the meantime it was not me who made the first step to healing my body image. It was my caring, sweet husband who waited until I was sleeping one night, and hid the scale. I married a saint.