Thursday, July 9, 2009

Arrest her for false advertising!!!

Have you ever been afraid to tell someone a truth about yourself because you’d be accused of false advertising?

For example, I go to a gym. It’s a part of a chain of gyms targeted at women who would never normally go to a gym. It’s designed to be simple to use, easy to access and give the feeling of acceptance to anyone, big or small, that walks through the door. It is successful at this. Very successful. Before I was introduced to this gym through a friend I wouldn’t never considered stepping up and joining a gym.

Why? Well, to be honest I’m no muscle woman (shocking, I know). I have no aspirations to be one. I just wanted to go to a place to get active, hopefully lose a few pounds and feel better in my skin. I didn’t want people to find out I went to a gym, look at me and say ‘Oh well that’s nice, good for you!’ While really looking at my thighs and thinking ‘I’d hit the Thigh master a few extra minutes today honey!’ (That happened to me this morning on the elevator).

About the false advertising ... At this gym you get a t-shirt each time you’ve reached the hundred visit mark. So there are 100, 200, 300, all the way up to 1000. One day when I was at the gym I turn to my left and see a 400 pound woman sporting a 600 visit shirt. I’m kinda saying to myself at the time ‘Um, lady are you sure you got the right shirt? You can’t possibly have made 600 visits and still have that much weight to lose? And isn’t that bad advertising for the gym – they obviously didn’t think this t-shirt thing through at all.’

I know it sounds horrible but that’s what I thought the first time I saw it. Then this morning I was walking to the gym and I was contemplating a few things and I realized that I am indeed doing the same thing, only in a different way. Here’s how: I’m a Christian. (Oh my goodness I can’t believe I said that!). And for the most part I am not the type people would guess to be ashamed of it and really I think if it wasn’t for myself (and a few others that I know) I probably wouldn’t mind sharing my secret. Another reason I hesitate to share this about myself because I feel like I come across too many people that think because we share the same faith we'll like each other, OR that because we have differing core beliefs we won't. I don't ever want that to be the assumption, I miss out on too many great people that way.

Here’s the thing, I’m not ‘there’ yet. I still yell at people when I’m driving, look at others as less than myself, don’t take the time to smile and engage people in conversations when the opportunity arises. I’m just not there yet. I AM the 400 pound woman that has had the 600 visits to the gym without any tangible evidence to prove it.

So the question is: do I wait then to become everything a good advertisement is before I start sharing with others about the coolest discovery of my life? Perhaps the lady at the gym has improved her health in a million ways I can’t see (and since I don’t have before and after shots of her innards I’ll have to guess that they ARE better now than they were before). Maybe she has developed a confidence that has changed her life in others ways. It could be that she came into the gym weighing 600 pounds and I should just shut my big fat yap already!

Who knows? My best guess is that I need to stop waiting for perfection to come and just get out there and be the best I can be the best way I know how. Be a real person. If the 400 pound woman at the gym came up to me and shared her story, her challenges and triumphs, don’t you think I would listen? Probably. Because by sharing her story with me I get an ‘in’ to the road she’s traveled and I would see her with my heart rather than my eyes and maybe in some way, big or small, that would help me continue the journey - whether I look like a 600 visit patron or not.


Anonymous said...

You just don't see the word "innards" in print enough.


Zoe said...

Deep thoughts, Wally =)

I am so humbled by this post, and am planning to print part of it out and post it where I can read it over and over... were you reading my brain when you wrote it??

Eva said...

seriously - that's good.

Sarah B said...

Eva, I too go to the same gym as you, and I'm super proud of it! I may not be thin, but I'm working on myself, my happiness, my health, and my social skills. I'm like Wally in the fact that I'm an introvert, I like to be alone with my thoughts, I spend most of my time alone, and I wasn't happy...I haven't even gotten my 100 visit shirt yet (I'm getting close though) and even though I'm not where I want to be in weight and inches, I have gained friendships, and some confidence! I'm doing the Big Bike for Heart and Stroke and I was asked by the circuit coach to do a dragon boat competition...2 things I never had the courage to do until after I joined this gym and realized that I can't be afraid of life, I have to live it to get anything out of it!

Sarah B said...

My thoughts on some of your "differences list"

• When we diet Wally loses 13 pounds the first week - I gain 2...I'm totally with you on this one, but I have somewhat figured out a plan...we can discuss on fb if you'd like, I was very successful when I stuck with it!

• I won’t hesitate to wear clothes off of my laundry pile with a boat load of wrinkles (I’d just throw a hoodie over top) – Wally will not wear a shirt that looks like it got left behind from the wrinkle patrol...Wrinkles add personality I think! lol

• Wally thinks going to the movies is a social activity – I think it’s one of the most anti-social activities you could do...I agree with you on this one Eva, you don't communicate, look at each other, or even "connect" while watching a movie in a theatre.

• Wally hates country music – until recently it was really the only music I listened to...I LOVE country music, but I also listen to hits from the 60s, 70s, 80s; you get the picture, I don't like all of them and still prefer country to any of them because it's truer to life than Lady Gaga may be, but I appreciate it all!

• I’ll eat food past the expiration date if it looks ok – Wally is much more particular...OMG I thought I was the only one who did this! I too eat "expired food" and only use expiration dates as a general guideline that it "may be bad at that date" but really how can they know?!? If it looks and smells ok, I eat it, I think it improves our imune systems! lol

• If Wally does the dishes you can be sure they are clean – if I do them you can be sure you’ll get leftovers from the last too, and My version of "Wally" is very much the same as your version of Wally on this one! He'll even put dishes back in the sink for me to clean if they don't pass his inspection! lol