May 152012
 

Something happened at the gym recently that saddened and angered me. Let me paint the picture for you. I was working in the free weight section doing my routine and saw an overweight guy with a personal trainer. I overheard bits and pieces and it was apparently his first session. I smiled at him to be encouraging as he struggled to do a plank.

Later, I was doing my stretches on the mat and the same trainer was talking to his next client but what he was saying stopped me in my tracks. The trainer was making fun of Client #1 to Client #2. He was laughing at how the client couldn’t do a plank.

My workout was done and so I left. But as I was walking to my car, I was kicking myself for not saying something. In my mind I practiced what I SHOULD have said to the trainer, calling him out on talking smack about someone who was DOING HIS BEST.

Why do I bring this up? Because it really bothered me. You may wonder why I care. Well, I was that guy once upon a time. I was morbidly obese and totally terrified of people at the gym or pool making fun of me. I had to get my 250+ pound body in a swimsuit and walk to the pool with my thighs rubbing together, feeling self-conscious about my body, thinking that everyone in the pool was laughing at the “fat girl.”

You know what helped me? Encouragement from people. My friends and family were all supportive. My neighbor and close friend Star was enthusiastic about my progress. I also made a friend at the community center’s gym. Christian, a personal trainer there, was a true cheerleader.

Maybe I was spoiled. Christian was such an awesome trainer that I’ve compared all others to him and they have fallen short. But truly, I think he was great. For example, I worked out a few days a week in that tiny gym and every time I was there, Christian had a kind word to say. “Good job, Lisa” and “I’m seeing progress” and “Keep at it!” They may not be anything special, but that encouragement made me feel good about myself and good about what I was doing. It kept me going. It made me work harder when the scale got stuck. And you know what? I wasn’t even using Christian’s personal training services. It was over a year before I finally paid for 3 sessions with him.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad personal trainers out there. Be picky, ask questions, and if you don’t like the trainer find a new one.

Don’t ever let someone diminish your efforts. There are haters out there everywhere that are just waiting to tear you down. It could be a so-called friend, a jealous coworker, a family member; it could be an internet bully, or a complete stranger. (The event made me think of a post a blogger wrote, When People Say Mean Things.)

Discrimination against overweight people is nothing new. But it still hurts. And I may be 100 pounds lighter, but I still have the wounds of hurtful words and embarrassing memories somewhere in me.

It doesn’t matter if you have 100 pounds to lose or 10, if you are working towards your goal you should be proud of yourself and your efforts and never, ever let some jerk discourage you from trying!

QUESTION: How do you deal with the haters, the bullies, the Negative Nancys?

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