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Exercise: from Sorrow to Success

September 11, 2012

My Friend’s Journey into Exercising—From Embarrassment to Commitment

by Olivia Rossi, RN, MSN
Your Personal Trainer

“I didn’t fit the image . . . I sure didn’t look like a bicyclist by any means.” My friend was pretty heavy back then. She told me that she knew she had to start exercising. “Biking to work sounded very pleasant to me. I drove for a living, lived near work, and would have loved the opportunity to slow down, see the scenery, get fresh air, get to work AND ‘accidentally’ get some exercise, too. It was perfect and I peddled happily along when I noticed a walker who noticed me at the same time—and he burst into laughter with an obvious opinion of how ridiculous I looked. I didn’t get back on the bike, didn’t find another ‘fun’ exercise, and gained weight to the point of having diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.”

Six months ago she joined a gym. She was very concerned that she didn’t “look” the part. She confided in me that she often tried to hide to change clothes or sneak into the shower. She draped her clothes so that they would hide her. And then there was the treadmill. She tired-out so quickly and felt embarrassed to leave the treadmill so soon after having arrived. “Others who were there before me were still there after I’d left—it was one embarrassment after another.”

But she kept at it and something began happening to my friend. She started getting stronger and steadier. She felt better and was able to do more and she discovered an important point: “. . . all those people out there on the floor are doing the same thing I’m doing—they’ve just been doing it longer and with more commitment. I pay the same dues, have access to the same equipment—it is just as much my home space as any other, so I’ll settle in and have fun.”

Two other things had happened to my friend. First, she had committed to herself. She pushed aside her initial embarrassment by believing in herself. She knew she needed to lose weight and get healthy.

Second, she found the motivation to continue because she felt better and was encouraged by seeing those around her who continued in their own commitment. She believed that her commitment plus time would lead to the fulfillment of her goals of a healthier weight and being more fit.

If you’ve ever been heavy and felt embarrassed in shorts or a bathing suit or “work-out” clothes, you probably know how hard it is to lose weight and to begin an exercise program. Being laughed at made it even harder for my friend. She needed to be smiled at, not laughed at; encouraged and supported. She got up, started over and kept going. She still is moving and she’s having fun doing it.

I want to encourage any of you who want to lose weight not to give up. And if you’re embarrassed at first, walk around your house, in your yard—in baggy pants if it makes you feel better—a little at a time, five minutes, then ten, and when you’re feeling stronger and more confident, walk with a friend, talk with a friend, join a gym— even ride a bike. And when you pass someone who is walking more slowly or looking a little bit wobbly on their wheels, give them a smile. It might make their day—we’ve all been there at one time or another.

Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN
Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, ACSM
Certified Personal Trainer, ACSM



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Discuss this article

Sheryl Rook September 11, 2012

What other people think is just a false trap that ensares us all if we give in to it. In truth, we are unfit to do anything if we compare ourselves to others. It binds us to ongoign self-doubt. No good. Not for me. We all need to let it just go. So happy that she did. Love it.

Jen September 11, 2012

Good for her. I cheer her on.

I just bet that she feels great right now.

Just Me September 11, 2012

Biking is the best. There are so many bike paths and lanes around Oregon makes it less of a chore and more of a windy tour of teh city. Work-outs are easier when you are having a good time, and I will say you can have a good time while working out. This will make it easier.

Ina September 11, 2012

You do have to be committed. That is where you will see results.

Mom1 September 11, 2012

I just hoep the rigth people read this and realize they cab do something. Must we always put off life’s neccesities?

noname September 12, 2012

Just don’t buy the tights first, they do make everyone look funny. Wait until your are fit to buy them.

Paula September 12, 2012

Just do it!

noname September 12, 2012

As a biker, I have done it! Highly recommend.

Wind Song September 12, 2012

I would email this to a few family members we all know who need to read it.

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