Fries are Healthier than Fear
In my business, I see a lot of people who are brand new to exercise. I'll admit, Pure Barre can be an intimidating environment, with its posters of fit, beautiful women, and its boutique full of size XS pants. I see women walk in, wide-eyed and hesitant, to a world that immediately conjures bad memories, insecurities, and fear. No matter how welcoming and encouraging the front desk girl is, when it comes to exercise, many people make up their mind before they even step foot inside the front door. Most people in middle class America don't run away from exercise because of a lack of education; nutrition maybe, but not exercise. No, most people spend their life avoiding physical activity because they are afraid. For women especially, exercise is a sensitive topic. We are afraid of looking foolish, being unable to keep up, and we are tired of looking at every roll and bump that the studio lights seem to illuminate. You can "diet", cut out the nightly ice-cream or the bi-weekly french fry stop, but fear runs deep. When women are faced with this kind of fear, they often react in one of three ways: they laugh it off and keep trying, they become very upset, or they avoid it altogether. Those who avoid it often spend their time making stabs at those who are doing what they cannot bring themselves to do and criticizing the lifestyle they find "crazy" because "no one could possibly like it". It's another classic case of women belittling other women and letting insecurity be a primary force in decision making.
So, if I could offer up a little word of encouragement to those who spend their time mocking healthy choices - we all started somewhere. It's the story I preach to everyone who walks through the doors of my studio, and the truth I remind myself of when I see someone terrified to make a change. There isn't a single one of us who likes doing something that is very hard and potentially embarrassing. None of us enjoy feeling out of control or inadequate, but you can't get better if you never begin.
As we draw near to the month of New Year's Resolutions and resurrected goals, remember that fitness isn't about bikini season, it's about taking care of the body you were given. It's about making the effort to love yourself and those around you by making choices that lead to a longer, richer life. To the woman who is terrified to make a change, remember that you are not alone in feeling scared. We all started somewhere, and you have to realize that fear will keep you bound to unhealthy choices until you decide to do something different.
So, just give it a try. It's going to be hard, it's going to be uncomfortable, and you might be embarrassed at first. But whether you take baby steps to walk around the block or take the leap to join a gym, just move. Move forward, and realize that no one is watching and judging except for the voice inside your head, and it will grow quieter with time. Remember that the size 2 in front of you in class may have just as much insecurity as the plus size behind you. You don't know their story, so don't make assumptions. You are fully capable, and you owe it to yourself and the ones you love to take care of yourself. Start practicing your ability to laugh off the things that are hard, and embrace doing something that is a little bit different and a whole lot of good. PS. I know the pants look tight, but I promise they stretch.