I just got home from an amazing class at the gym. I am bright red (good thing that's my favorite color) and soaking wet ( don't worry Kev, I'm sitting on a towel and being careful not to touch anything) AND I FEEL AMAZING.
I had a revelation today. Well, maybe not so much a revelation - because I already had these thoughts - but more of a break through. And I felt the need to sit down and blog about this break through the minute I walked in the door - while it was still fresh on my mind.
You see, I cried a little in class today. For me, that is the true sign of an amazing class. It has really touched me in some way. It has really pushed me to my limits. It has really inspired me. And today happened to be one of those days.
It is the reason that I wear a hat. And pull it down low on my face. I have uncontrollable emotions.
My class today was BODY ATTACK. It is my new favorite. It is the hardest class that I have ever taken. They say it burns between 600 and 1200 calories depending on the levels you choose to participate in. It is fast, and intense, and makes me push myself to the extreme. I like to describe it as a class filled with sports drills. A little basketball, skiing, football, and lots of jumping and running.
But as much as I love this class- I have been so exhausted lately. And I was totally dragging this morning. Until I walked in and claimed my spot. And saw the huge smile on the teacher's face. And heard the energy in her voice. And I was so glad I pushed myself to get up and go this morning. That is exactly why I LOVE the gym. Because of the teachers. They are the most caring, supportive people in the world. They push you to your limit - but encourage you along the way. It doesn't matter how skilled you are. What shape you are in. What you look like. They are there for you 150%. And their ultimate goal is to make you healthy and for you to feel good about yourself. I wish I could stick them all in my pocket and carry them with me throughout the day.
So, the class begins and one of the first songs was "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer. Except for it had been re-mixed and was even faster and more intense than the original. And we were told to run across the floor and jump up in the air like we were dunking the basketball. Over and Over and Over. ( It is way harder than it sounds) But when we jumped up in the air we had to yell " I am Hot Stuff!"
And that is when the wheels started spinning in my brain. And I first got emotional. Because I started thinking about how I have had body issues for the majority of my life. (Which is a very long time - because I am "up there" in age) I have been on a trillion diets. I have lost weight and gained weight seven bazillion times. I have obsessive issues with food. ( not to be confused with my love for cooking - well maybe that is why I love cooking so much) I could look at myself in a mirror and point out seventy-seven things wrong with me. And you know what? I'm not alone. I make a living building women's confidence. Dressing women to make them feel their best. Highlighting their best qualities. It is a rewarding job - but very draining at the same time. Because 90% of the women I help feel the same way I do. They are always "starting a diet tomorrow" or hating the way they look in something. Or are just generally so hard and critical of themselves. And I'm talking size 0 - 14. Just because someone is in a small size doesn't mean that they love themselves completely. And I spend my days giving compliments and boosting self esteem. And just feeling so frustrated that people are so hard on themselves.
And then I do the exact same thing.
Except for Kev receives the brunt of my issues. And that is when I felt like I was hit with a ton of bricks. ( Or perhaps it was the sharp pains in my side after running so much) A wake up call if you will. And I realized a couple of things. One thing is that I have been blessed with an amazing husband. A husband that loves me no matter what. I could be a size 4 or a size 16. I could be eating a salad. Or eating a huge bowl of ice cream. He loves me for me. He encourages me. He supports me. But ultimately he just wants me to love myself and be confident and be happy and healthy.
Second of all, it made me so sad that so many women have body issues. And the next song we worked out to was "Where is the Love?" by the Black Eyed Peas. It is one of my faves and has incredible lyrics - but today it took on a new meaning. More like "Where is the love for yourself?" I wish there was a magic pill for all children that would help them love themselves for who they are.
It makes me laugh now to think back when I was a kid and the things I hated about myself. This was before cellulite and muffin tops and love handles and boobs that touch the top of your pants. I vividly remember staring at myself in a long mirror in the 7th grade gym locker room and hating how long my legs were. I thought they were so abnormal and hideous. All I wanted was to have short legs so I could be little and petite like the other girls in the 7th grade. And strangely enough - my seemingly long legs when I was a kid turned in to short stumps that now prevent me from wearing regular length pants and being able to touch my feet to the floor in some chairs. What I would give for long legs now.
My point is this - Be happy with who you are. Hold your head up high. Love yourself. It makes all the difference in the world.
I came across an incredible blog last night - www.healthytippingpoint.com. It is written by Caitlin. A woman who is the creator of "Operation Beautiful". If you go to her site you can click on "Operation Beautiful" at the top and read all about it. It was amazing. And worth a minute of your time.
By the end of my class today. I was in full on tears. ( And sweat and lack of breath) But I felt amazing and powerful and accomplished. And for some one who usually hides in the back of the class - I was even comfortable enough to show some of my (hillbilly) dance moves in one of the songs. And as I looked around the room full of women of all ages, sizes, races, and exercise levels. I definitely felt the love.