Friday, May 1, 2009

Second Article - Boot Camp

(My orientation day picture)

No Way I Weigh on Orientation Day!


Doris D. Meneses

Today I have to get up the nerve to wake up early on a Saturday and go to the YMCA to be oriented into Boot Camp. After all…..I already paid my money so I have to go.

First of all, I have to decide what to wear. They tell you to come dressed to exercise so I head to my closet which contains clothing in all sizes of chubbiness. Now, when I went to sign up, I saw many women in their cute little Spandex outfits. I may be old, but I am smart enough to realize that some women give Spandex a bad name and if I wore it, I would be one of those women, so I found a pair of knit Capri pants and a t-shirt that didn’t look like it was painted on. Add to that my new pink and silver Nike sneakers and socks without holes and I was off!

I think this is a good place to tell you that just the thought of the YMCA makes me panic as I broke my leg and ruptured my anterior cruciate ligament in my knee dancing to the song, “YMCA” at a Catholic woman’s convention! I guess I was dyslexic and I did an X instead of a Y….slipped and went down. On top of that, the hotel wheelchair was stolen and they had to take me from the third floor to the first, so they placed me on a luggage rack with a plastic bag of ice and I gave the queen’s wave as they pushed me out. When they called my husband to inform him that I was having surgery first thing the next day, he hung up thinking it was a joke! Needless to say it wasn’t and after two surgeries, two months in a wheelchair and nine months on a cane, I have a horrible fear of falling and yet here I am in a Boot Camp!

Arriving at the YMCA, I was told to go into the gym. Right away I break out into a sweat as my brain is flooded with memories of the chubby girl in high school gym class wearing a one piece bloomer gym suit spending hours square dancing and trying to perfect a cartwheel which would never even get close because her legs would not come off the ground! As I enter, I see there are several others there…mostly on what I would call the slimmer side and some looking like models! My mind questions….oh great, what are they doing here? Soon more come in and yes…there are a few pleasingly plumpers but I realize right away that I am and will be by far, the oldest and the fattest in this Boot Camp. I wonder what the others are thinking looking at me.

The Membership and Wellness Director of the YMCA, David Cruz, welcomes us and introduces the trainers. They are, Oshun Marcella, a sleek and fit woman, Ariel Concepcion who is known as “Rico”, a young Hispanic guy and Michael Elias, known as “Mikey”, the former Marine. I meet Nestor Villageliu, the youngster, later on. I can feel my heart begin to race as they talk about pushing yourself to your limit. Who me? Queen of the couch potatoes whose limit is the couch to the kitchen?

The final step…..we are told that we will be weighed and measured now, half-way during the camp and at the end. Our pictures are taken and then….I see them…..there looming ominously in the room…in the view of the public…the dreaded monsters….the scales! As my stomach churns I await my turn and hearing the numbers being called out makes me feel woozy. My turn…step up….weight….293 pounds. No way! Panic….shame….humiliation…..denial…sickness….my inner thoughts scream, “Don’t yell out my weight please! I’ll be too embarrassed!” I strain hard and fight back the tears that want to flow like a river. Oshun must have noticed my humiliation as she reassures me and tells me not to worry….this is the last time I will see this number. I don’t know why but she had a very calming effect on me and continues to do so. I also noticed that she make me face my insecurities that have been hidden below my layers of fat for years. Next I get in line to be measured and of course, my luck, I have to be measured by Mikey, the Manly Marine. Embarrassment again wells up as I realize here is a good looking guy who can’t even get his arms around me but somehow, he makes me feel o.k. Now the form is completed with all the numbers. There it was….on paper….. no denying it. The numbers prove that I am obese. The numbers show that I have been out of control. The numbers show that I have been living a sedentary lifestyle for years. I am told to show up on Monday.

No turning back…..I am now a recruit in the YMCA Boot Camp!

Please look for the next article in this series to follow shortly.

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