Trying a new class (and getting more than you bargained for!)
I went to aerobics last week for the first time in years.
A bit of post-holiday blues (does anyone else ever get that?!) combined with an unwell husband, and two of my three children at home all day; I SOOO needed to get out of the house. I didn’t have the energy or the motivation for running, but just KNEW I had to get out. In desperation, I scanned the group exercise classes of my local leisure centre timetable. All I could see was aerobics on at 7.30pm, but my despair pushed me to just go for it. I thought, ‘what the hell’ and booked it.
I turned up early and overheard a lady talking (loudly) about how she needed to join Overeaters Anonymous “because I eat when stressed”.
“I need to get rid of this” she said (grabbing the roll of fat around her midriff).
Then she talked about a caffeine based tablet that gets rid of fat and how she might try it. One lady warned her ‘you need to be careful with that kind of thing.’
“I don’t even look like a fitness instructor,” she exclaimed!
Her words hit me in the gut. She was the aerobics instructor and she was verbalising these negative thoughts about her body in front of all those waiting for her class.
I wasn’t annoyed, I just found it so sad that she was demonstrating such hatred towards herself. And I was shocked, because I guess I saw her as a role model, leading a class, when actually, she is just another victim of all the stuff we’ve been told and then internalise. The feeling of ‘I’m not worthy if I have put weight on’… ‘life would be better’ if we all conformed to what society says we ‘should’ aspire to.
Anyway, I picked my jaw up from the floor and went into the sports hall with all the other women. The class started and the instructor got into the swing of things. It was very entertaining in places. She had a cheeky way about her and quite an ‘attitude’ (in a good way) she clearly LOVES what she does. She had us bouncing around to Russian dancing (!) and then part of the class had a Zumba vibe. She was encouraging everyone to strut their stuff, jiggle their boobs and wiggle their hips.
This type of exercise, particularly hip wiggling is fairly out of my comfort zone (!) and I chuckled to myself, ‘what on earth would the children think of me doing this?!’… realising they’d be mortified. Then it struck me, that’s exactly why I should be doing this class, pushing my boundaries, getting out of my ‘safe’ exercise zone.
I smiled to myself and looked at all the different people in the class. Some uber fit people, really going for it, some curvy ladies, some very slim ladies and all shapes and sizes in between....... And it was really good fun!
After the class, I felt I had to go and speak to the instructor. I wasn’t sure if it was the best idea, because didn’t want to give unsolicited advice and wasn’t sure how it would be received, but felt the pain of what she’d said so strongly I just knew I had to. I said ‘I’d heard what she was saying at the start of the class’ and I mentioned Mindful Eating as an alternative to restrictive measures. I told her that I thought she looked amazing and that she taught a really good class and I really enjoyed it. Then she hugged me and said I’d made her day!
Dear aerobics instructor, I don’t know if you are reading this, but my offer is still open to you and to everyone else. My workshops start this week Thursday evening and Friday morning. Let me know if you are interested in finding food freedom and some self compassion because you deserve it 💕xx