Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fat People Only Gyms? Not for me.

Check out this recent article in Time about a gym that has banned skinny people from exercising there. I read about this phenomenon in a Fitday article, where the question was asked, would such a thing be helpful or harmful.  I "weighed" in.
Here's my gut reaction:
It is a stupid idea.  What happens when that woman who is 50 pounds overweight loses her 50 pounds?  Will she be kicked out on her now-slender keister?  
No gym can sustain its existing clientele if the clientele's achievement of their health and fitness goals will mean that they are no longer welcome at the gym, either expressly or impliedly.  
It is a gimmick.  I suspect that these gyms are banking on the presumption that these overweight women will never reach their weight goals.  Now, that's a gym you can trust.  That's a promise of success you can believe in.  Not.
I am a woman who is carrying 50 extra pounds.  I go to a gym that is very inclusive.  I started going about 30 pounds ago.  Fat, thin, old, young, male, female - it doesn't matter.  Am I intimidated sometimes because I am not as athletic as some of the other people in my gym?  Certainly.  I am the kind of person who trips walking up the stairs.  But that's my issue, and I have to deal with it.  I am fat, and I am working on it, as evidenced by the fact that I am at the gym in the first place, sweating and panting.  I am not ashamed to be there.  
When I started, I would go to the gym first thing in the morning, to get the hang of working out before the gym got too busy.  I go now whenever I want to.
If you are big, and you want to go to a gym, enroll in one that you can afford and that will provide you with the resources that you need.  Meet the people who run the gym before you sign up, and if they treat you poorly, don't sign up.  Hold your head up and be proud, because you are trying.  That is half the battle.  If you try long enough, you just might be surprised at the results.  Just do it.
What do you think?  
I am not trying to be harsh, here.  I'm guessing that there are a significant number of obese people out there who would be comforted by a segregated gym.  It's just that segregation rubs me the wrong way.  
If you are an obese person, you are probably a very tough and strong person, because you have dealt with years of discrimination due to the extra weight you carry.  We both know that it is not easy being fat.  In our culture, FAT = LAZY and UNDISCIPLINED.  I've been there.  It is heart-breaking.  
Guess what?  It is not true.  If you are reading this blog, it means that you care enough to want to make a change in your health.  Exercising, no matter whether inside or outside of a gym, means that you are not lazy and undisciplined.  Watching what you eat means that you are not lazy and undisciplined.  Be proud of yourself for giving good health a try.  Remember that those thin people have probably never had to walk a day in shoes like yours.  
Face the world with your head held high.  You belong no matter where you go.  Most of the thin or athletic people you would see in the gym aren't even thinking about you.  If they knew you, they would be proud of you for trying.  They may not care whether you succeed, but they don't want you to fail.
Don't let fear motivate you.  Don't let it become just one more excuse for why you shouldn't help yourself.  
Do go and see your doctor before you begin a new fitness or diet regimen, and get their input.  You may need some extra help or oversight at first, and they can advise you of that.  

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