I can’t tell you how many years my fat self has spent in the gym. I started going as a young teenager where I was hoplessly mope while walking on the treadmill. Eventually, as the years progressed– I came to love the gym. No matter how much my weight would fluctuate (and BOY, did it fluctuate up and down a good 70 pounds), I  would still try to make the gym a part of my life– taking a class or using a new cardio machine. In my early twenties, I started working for one in membership sales which then led me to selling a membership to a man who would become my husband. Funny how the gym has intricately worked it’s way into my (a fat girl) life’s story.

One of the things you see constantly at a fitness center are those perfectly fit, skinny women. In their perfectly fitting gym clothes (or really lack there off clothing), and good for them! They work hard for their bodies. Show it off! Meanwhile, there is the rest of us. Content in working out in baggy sweat pants and my husbands baggy college t-shirt.  I’ve looked at these women for years and years thinking that maybe….just maybe…one day, I can look like them too. Then, I look at myself in the mirror. A 125 pound weight loss and stretch marks from two babies and I think….this baggy t-shirt looks just as nice!

Then something happened…..

It started at lunch that day. There was a basket full of “Fun Size” Candy Bars on the counter by my desk. Milkyways, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Crunch Bars…. ((insert Jaws theme)). After I finished my very healthy, calorie controlled lunch….I thought ” I will just have one.” and I did….1 multiplied by 5. I had an empty candy bar wrapper pile on my desk and I couldn’t get rid of the evidence fast enough. What had I just done?! Panic set in. Quickly, I reached into my purse and looked at the group fitness schedule for the evening while I downed an entire bottle of water and wiped the chocolate from my face. ZUMBA! Zumba was scheduled and I could make it to the class! Phew!  I could burn off some of those chocolate calories in class.

The class was filled with women of all ages and sizes. Good! I could hide in between all of these class participants and no one would notice my total lack of coordination. Then, (remember that I work for this fitness club as a director) the nice instructor announced that we had a special guest in class (Note: I never take Zumba, I am a Cycle kind of girl) and she pointed right to me. “Jenna is joining us for the evening!” the entire class turned and looked at me. So much for hiding. The class began– so fun! I forgot how much fun it was to just let go and dance to good music. But, as the time went on, the room got hotter and all of those perfect skinny b*tches took of their top and carried on in their sports bra. I shrugged at my self in the mirror and continued to dance…. getting hotter and hotter.

That was when it happened. Right in the middle of my akward cha-cha moves.

I took the baggy t-shirt off and tossed it to the side. There I was… in my sports bra and favorite yoga pants. Shaking my hips and letting my hair slap me in the face as I moved my head side to side.

I didn’t care.

Listen, carefully…

I didn’t care.

I was sweaty. I was moving to the music. I was working hard. Damn those fun size candy bars!!!

When the music stopped I looked up at myself in the mirror….and then scanned the crowd of women all panting and trying to catch their breath in between songs. I caught some of their eyes and they knodded at me in approval. The perfect skinny doll standing next to me, complimented me on my choice of sports bra. The music started again and the dancing began…. I don’t know how long I stood their smiling…feeling so proud of myself…before I came too and starting moving to the music again. I watched my body in the mirror, floppy, sagging in areas that frankly… I didn’t know could sag… and I thought to myself….”You know…I really don’t look that bad!”