Dear Big Girl at the gym,
I see you there several times a week.
Your face is always beet red and you are huffing and puffing and clearly struggling.
You are wearing sweat pants and a big t-shirt.
I've seen you at the back of the class trying so hard to keep up with everyone.
Modifying the moves and doing the best you can.
I saw you slowly jogging on the treadmill the other day!
I smiled so big and thought to myself "that is so awesome!"
I was so happy for you!
I want to tell you a few things...
I want to tell you that I'm proud of you.
I know it takes a lot of courage to come to a gym when you feel out of place.
I know it's hard to step out of your comfort zone and try a new class.
I know that all you think you see around you is us "skinny girls."
That you think you can't relate to "us."
That you think we've never been in your shoes.
That when you see me in full makeup at the gym and my cute workout clothes that I've never been overweight.
This could not be further from the truth.
I am in full makeup because I come straight from work. I work full time.
And I come to the gym before I pick up my kids.
Yes, I have kids.
Two of them.
Did you know I used to work out in sweat pants and oversized t-shirts?
That once I lost a bunch of weight, that buying cute workout clothes actually helped motivate me to keep going?
I've been where you have been.
I've struggled like you are.
It may not seem like it. I may put on a good "show". But I've been there.
I KNOW it's hard. And I know that you probably feel like giving up at times.
I remember the feeling of my shorts riding up while I was on the treadmill.
Constantly tugging at them because my thighs rubbed together so badly that it left chaffing marks on my legs.
I remember feeling like everyone was watching me when I was "running", which was actually more of a jog with a bounce.
I just knew that everyone was staring at my fat jiggling and they were thinking "that's so gross" or "look at the fat girl run!"
I specifically remember how I hated working out so much because it was just another reminder of what I couldn't do, or how much I'd let myself go, or how hard I was going to have to work to change.
I am proud of you Big Girl.
I have wanted so badly to come up to you and give you some words of encouragement.
To tell you that I think you're awesome!
To tell you that IT DOES GET BETTER!
To not give up and to JUST KEEP GOING!
That with hard work you will achieve your goals....
I don't want to single you out, make you feel bad, or hurt your feelings in any way by telling you "I've been where you are."
I don't want to intimidate you in any way. I just want you to know I'VE BEEN THERE.
So instead I politely smile at you every time I see you.
I hope that you can look past the clothes, the makeup, and the fairly thin body, and see that I genuinely do care about you.
I hope you can look past my smile and know that I've been where you've been.
Know that YOU motivate ME, Big Girl.
And that you are capable of accomplishing ANYTHING you set your mind to.
Just A Former Big Girl