Friday, July 10, 2009


Progress with Boot Camp


Doris D. Meneses

Hoorah! I have just completed the second session of the YMCA Boot Camp. I have crawled and ached through the first session which lasted eight weeks and screamed and limped through my second session which lasted ten weeks. Eighteen weeks of physical endurance that comprised of putting my body through movements it has not done in over 40 years or had never done and hurting in new places that I never knew existed on my body! Eighteen weeks of emotional tribulation that included others forcing me to confront issues that were encapsulated so deep within me that I did not realize they existed! Eighteen weeks of social awakening that involved me learning to accept that others loved and cared for me and attempting to believe that I deserve to participate in new things! These past eighteen weeks have changed my life forever.

When I started Boot Camp, I could not put my legs together and bend over and touch my toes. I could not even get off the ground to hold my body up into a plank position to do a push- up. I could not grasp my hands behind my back because of fat interference. I was afraid to do a jumping jack. I could not do a sit up. My cholesterol was 288. My weight was 293. My clothing was a size 26. I was sedentary and hated exercising.

Physically, Boot Camp has produced many changes. I can now not only touch my toes from a standing position, I can touch the ground. I can not only hold my body up in a push-up plank position, but am now starting to come down half-way into the push-up. I can grasp my hands behind my back with ease and am starting to be able to raise them up. I cried the day I did a jumping jack and can usually do 10 to 15 without stopping. I can do at least 5 good sit ups to my knees and many more without making it all the way up. My cholesterol has gone down to 204. My weight has decreased to 280. My clothing is now a 20 to 22. I have lost over 30 inches overall on my body. I can now move with a fair amount of ease and look forward to my workouts.

When I started Boot Camp, my weight kept me an emotional captive. I did not realize how my weight had left me so emotionally scarred and fearful of trying something new.

Emotionally, Boot Camp has allowed me to grow. I had my moments of crying but now I realize that the emotional confrontations continue to make me a stronger person. I realize that obese women or men do deserve to have emotional support. Let me clarify this. I have always had the emotional support from my husband, children, family and friends but Boot Camp has made me realize that I never really believed that I deserved to have that support or that it was genuine. I was blinded by obesity.

When I started Boot Camp, I constantly felt others only saw my outside appearance and nothing more. I was very insecure.

Socially, Boot Camp has provided me with a new insight into others, especially younger individuals. My heart is so full of the love and support that I have been shown by recruits who were complete strangers when I first began the Boot Camp. My heart is overwhelmed by the amazing love, care and concern that is given to me by Oshun, Rico, Nestor and Mikey, the trainers at the YMCA. My heart has been expanded by the personnel at the YMCA who greet me with smiles and continually make me feel so welcome. My heart is astounded by the outpouring of support that I have received from the staff of the Newsleader and from the readers. I am beginning to think that not everyone in today’s world believes the old saying, “Looks are everything.” All these people have looked deeper than the layers of fat entombing the real me.

Although I have made progress, I am still not in a position to stop. I am still obese. I am still not physically fit. My leg injury from a few weeks ago is healing and I am continuing my journey by registering for the summer session Boot Camp which will include swimming. This 54 year old obese woman is not going down without a fight.

Forget calling an archaeologist, the YMCA trainers, personnel and Boot Camp recruits are the helping to unearth the real Doris Meneses who is entombed in this body.

I am a recruit in the YMCA Boot Camp and others tell me that I certainly do deserve to be there!

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

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