Right now, I’m “wishing” I didn’t have a job. Of course, this is silly, given that I love my current position. But I’ve taken a few days off recently, and I’m enjoying the freedom.
And yet there is something I’m quite down about…
It seems that all the gyms in my neighborhood are going out of business.
Four years ago, I was at my heaviest, at 215 lbs. I walked into a women’s gym in my neighborhood called Lucille Roberts, and just signed up. I had no idea what to do, so I asked the manager for advice on how to work out. I had so many questions, and she patiently answered them all. By week 2, she gave me a diet plan to follow. I faithfully exercised and ate right, and in the first month I lost 12 pounds.
Unfortunately, depression hit me after that first month, and so I stopped going to the gym. But I still maintained the diet, and so I lost 50 lbs in about 6 months. I then joined a kickboxing fitness class and lost another 10 lbs. After this, psychiatric disaster struck, and I was in the hospital for three months. During this time, I gained back 20 lbs, but no matter. When leaving, I returned to Lucille Roberts and lost the 20 lbs again.
The hardest part of weight loss is maintaining it for the rest of your life. I was able to maintain a weight of 145 lbs for a good 2 years… but it was really torturous. I diligently wrote down everything I ate… which is a habit I’m trying to get back into. But also, I was just neurotic. I’d weigh myself 20 or 30 times a day. I went to a weight management class, and the director basically kicked me out after a year.
And yet I needed the help, perhaps. Since then, I’ve gained about 20 pounds. I hover between 165 and 170 these days, which is not terrible given that I am 5’10”. I’ve also maintained this same weight for about a year, so I guess I’m “okay.” But I want to weigh less. And I want to be more controlled with my eating.
Because right now, I feel out of control. I buy and eat healthy foods, but at times I’ll eat too much of a good thing. Like cashews, or turkey meatloaf. Maybe too many power bars… I’ve got to cut that stuff out. I bought about 8 bars for the week last time, and I ate them all in 2 days. I bought a little pack of peanut butter, ate that too. When I get hummus, I usually eat the tub all at once, but this time, miraculously it’s still there. Probably because it’s spicy.
I didn’t used to have this problem. In fact, I was a skinny kid growing up. I always could eat whatever I wanted with no consequence. This all changed when I was in my mid-20s. I ate badly still, but started to gain weight. In 2.5 years, I gained 90 lbs.
I’m healthy now, but I’m still just scared. I want to be in greater control. I want to lose those 20 lbs again, and get more athletic and “ripped.” I want to be strong, and improve in my performance with Spartan Races. (I’ve done 3 Spartan Sprints so far, ranging between 3.5 miles – 5.2 miles.) I want to keep going.
I’m just discouraged though. On May 18th of this year, my beloved Lucille Roberts gym went out of business. I remember the last Zumba class I took there, on the 16th of that month… There was such a sad feeling of farewell in my heart. LR in Bayside had such a lovely community of women, and now that community was to be torn apart. I went to the gym on the 18th for the last class, but I didn’t have the heart to work out. Many of the machines were gone, and the lockers were even ripped out of the walls. It looked horrible, and I was crestfallen.
I joined another gym in my neighborhood called Bell Plaza Sports Club. I remember the first time I went there too… There were men in the gym, and I was nervous and scared. I longed for Lucille Roberts, and I even had a little solitary cry. It helped. Once I got over that, I made myself comfortable with the weight machines. I realize now that I like machines and the elliptical more than I like classes. After a couple of weeks, I got pretty comfortable at Bell Plaza, and was going there perhaps 5 times a week. I liked where this was going.
And then on June 30th, the bomb hit: Bell Plaza notified its members that it was going out of business too.
Again, such sadness in me. Another local community, gone. Another business, gone under. And another gym, gone.
I’ve been trying to figure out where to go now for my fitness needs. There’s a CrossFit gym very close to my house, but I received an email from them saying that they’re going out of business too. Where do I go? There are other gyms in my area, but the locations are very inconvenient given that I don’t have a car.
I am so angry also… I think to myself: Why is this happening? I know that the rents are going up for businesses in my neighborhood, and so places are going under. Of course, there is hearsay and gossip amongst people I’ve spoken to, but this is truly irrelevant to me. There is just one dismal reality for me: These gyms are gone.
And so I’m down. I haven’t worked out in a few days. My eating was not great these few days. I have to figure out what I’m going to do. I have kept my membership with Lucille Roberts, so I can go to other branches. I’m going to go to their Flushing branch later today, although this is further away. There’s also a local gym near my job, so next week I will initiate the “5-day free trial” with them. Hopefully this will work out.
And yet I’m not sure. I’m really not. These little businesses are going under and are being replaced with more expensive, corporate entities. Or perhaps just ritzier businesses with higher prices. It’s sad. And while I appreciate that the economy in my neighborhood is booming, it also means that the community will change. Businesses will change, current residents will leave and be replaced by new ones. And prices will perhaps rise. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this doesn’t happen, but who knows. :(
Regarding my fitness, I have to figure out what to do. I love gyms, because I love the community aspect of it. I like working out with other people present, because it keeps me on track. It keeps me accountable. And it’s great to get out of the house! Nevertheless, I’ve got weights and a Total Gym at my house, so I can work out fully at home on my own. There’s a little gym in my building too, which I can use if I pay $80 for the year. That has a decent elliptical in it. And again, I have the Lucille Roberts subscription.
I also wish that gyms were perceived as being necessary. More people should utilize them. There should be a higher demand for them! Exercise should not be a luxury. It should be a necessity. And indeed it is, quite frankly. Gyms should be open galore. They should be inviting, and people should want to go to them. Not because “they’re fat,” or “they need it”… but gyms are genuinely nice places. They are comprised of people within the community, and going there helps one to feel more connected to others.
My hope is that the general populace will become more motivated to exercise. Again, not because of compulsion, but because of a sincere, positive desire to improve one’s health. It’s a wonderful road to travel. It’s a wonderful way to test and develop your inner character…
And it’s a great way to tap into that inner “hero” that lies dormant in our minds! We watch movies that feature athletic heroes saving the day. Video games of the same like. Why not can we condition ourselves to be heroic in the same way? I always think that the future of video gaming would be more interactive… as if a person themselves becomes the avatar they manipulate to fight evil. That would then require one to get up off their butt and hold a game controller in the shape of a sword. Of course… handicaps could be assigned, but I digress.
I hope today that I can start over. Start writing down what I eat again… and keep doing it every day hereafter. And that I can become more motivated in doing home workouts. I know I did P90X3 at home for about 14 months straight… it improved my fitness level, but that was also when I gained the 20 lbs back.
Again… losing weight is only the beginning. The hard part is keeping it off.