Tomorrow is the first day of a new year. Tonight many people will reflect upon the past year. They will remember the good times, think about the lessons they have learned through the obstacles they've faced, and resolve to do some things differently in the year ahead.
Many people will resolve to spend more time with their families, unplug more, stick to a budget, organize their closets...and yes, lose weight, become stronger, get to the gym, live a healthier lifestyle.
Many long-time gym goers will roll their eyes at the influx of New Year's Resolutioners as they invade their space, take their bench, and attack their New Year's Resolutions with great zeal. The Resolutioners will probably appear as if they have no clue what they are doing, will use equipment incorrectly, will squat high, and will probably forget to rerack their weights, and will have unrealistic goals and expectations. Many of them will have probably tried to change their lifestyle tens, if not hundreds of times before, but for whatever reason, it just didn't stick. Some may be coming into the gym thinking, "Oh, well, here we go again...maybe it will stick this time, but probably not." Others may come in with a fresh supply of motivation. Many of them will not make it to February before something derails their good intentions and they are right back to where they started. But for most of these people, they see a new year as a blank, fresh book to write upon, and they want to write a different story.
This was me, likely every single year of my adult life.
My weight and body image have been a struggle fest ever since I went on my first diet at nine years old. As a teenager and young adult, I battled eating disorders. After I started having kids, I began gaining weight pretty steadily and continued until I was up to 275 pounds. Its not that I didn't try, I didn't diet, I didn't lose weight, I didn't go to the gym. It was just that nothing stuck.
>Living a healthier lifestyle was constantly on my mind. Every single New Year's Eve, I thought:
"Maybe this will be the year that I actually follow through on having a healthy lifestyle."
If I made it a week or two, I was doing great, but usually by the time February had rolled around, I was back to my old lifestyle. I fluctuated between not caring (I really did) and running to the latest diet to fix me once and for all.
New Year's Eve 2010, we got together with some dear friends of ours, laughed and talked about the year behind us. It had been a really traumatic year for our family. and I was ready to leave all of that behind and move forward. I didn't say much about my desire to finally commit to changing my lifestyle, because I wanted my actions to speak, not my words. But this was something I had been thinking about for months. I finally realized that if I wanted something to change, I finally had to change something. I couldn't keep running back to the latest diet to fix me. I had to realize that I was where I was at, not because of anyone else, or my circumstances, but because there were issues within me that I had to face. I had to stop keeping the back door open and persist until I succeeded.
New Year's Day 2011, we took the kids sledding in our friends' backyard. We had a blast, but I definitely felt my weight holding me back from being able to fully enjoy that moment with my children.
Very hesitantly I signed up for another gym membership, and cleaned out my cupboards (again). I was one of the New Year's Resolutioners in the gym. I didn't want anyone to notice me. I just wanted blend in. I didn't want to be the fat girl trying to get in shape. I wanted to hide away on a stationery bike off in the corner somewhere. Instead, I called attention to myself. I was the fat girl trying to run on the treadmill, the fat girl in the bootcamp class, unable to do a single push-up, struggling through every workout. I hated every second of every workout. My friend who convinced me to do the class never showed up. I was so humiliated just by being there that I wanted to die. But I refused to quit like every other time. I was welcomed and encouraged by the other class members. I kept getting up at 4:30 a.m. I changed my diet. Bootcamp class became easier. I could do pushups and I ran sprints with the class. I ventured into the weight room (the men's one, not the one with the pink dumbbells). I started playing around with the powerlifts by the end of that first year and discovered something that I loved. In that year, I don't think I missed a single scheduled workout.
I lost 100 pounds. I completely changed my lifestyle (and in the process, my family's as well). I didn't look back. It's been six years now that I have been grinding away at my fitness goals. If you would have told me that I ever would love come to love training, I probably would have laughed hysterically.
Oh, look what I've become...from trying to hide away in a corner to an unashamed, flexing, gym-selfie-taking, instagram sharing powerlifter...sometimes it feels so normal, you look back and just shake your head. It really is kind of strange
As someone who is now, I suppose, somewhat of a seasoned gym rat, I love seeing new people in the gym, no matter what their reason. Because I can remember being in the same place, I can extend some grace to the new people in the gym. I hope that in doing so they will still be around next year, making a whole new set of resolutions. Instead of rolling our eyes at all the new people in the gym, lets remember that we all started somewhere and make them feel welcome!