When I joined my first gym - I was greeted upon every visit by a darling woman with a beaming smile. Kisw(code name) worked at the front desk checking members in and distributing towels. Turned out she took the part time job because as an employee she got free use of the gym as a benefit.
She was serious about losing weight.
Kisw had a full round face, twinkling eyes, and the brightest most cheerful smile you can imagine. Like Mrs. Claus or something. But more like an elf - because she only came up to my chin (and I'm only 5'5")
When I met her, she was about a 1/3 the way through her weight loss. She once told me that at her heaviest, she was round. As wide as she was tall. I never saw proof, but took her at her word.
Over a year's time, I would see her on the treadmill when our workouts coincided - and her progress was obvious. One day I noticed a distinct definition between her chin and her neck. I stopped by to talk and told her how great she looked.
Another time, I noticed her waist making an appearance! Again, I stopped and congratulated her on her progress.
It was all so hard for me to imagine. I've never had a weight problem - but as I got older the need to maintain became evident. It's so much work just to maintain - I could never wrap my head around what it takes to lose 20 - 50 - 100 pounds.
I often told her how much I admired her and all of her hard work.
Kisw loved the praise. And apparently she heard it from a lot of people at the gym.
Those of us who saw Kisw occasionally could spot the changes in her body better than she who made daily eye contact with the mirror!
Her friends and family asked her how she could stand going to the trendy downtown gym with all those Skinny B!tches. She replied, "Because it feels AWESOME when all the Skinny B!tches come over and tell you how great you look and how well you're doing!"
To anyone out there who fears the gym or an exercise class because you feel you don't look good enough to be at the gym - don't. No one is judging you. Rather, they are impressed as hell!
If you think they're staring at your size - you're wrong - they're admiring your progress. They're rooting for you!
Accountability: one hour moderately intense yoga