I was working out at the gym tonight and this young girl was next to me. She said hi and asked if I could show her how to start the eliptical machine.
This was her first time to the gym, she said she finally got the nerve to go. It really broke my heart because she was so tired of people making comments about her weight and the last time she tried to go to a gym, someone told her to get off the bike because she would break it. Her name is Kelly, 20 years old and has been overweight all her life. She said the worst part was being hurt by the things people would say right to her face. Everything is difficult for her, getting into a car, worrying about the size of a chair, never going out for a meal, and is scared to be seen in public. She’ll only eat at home and most nights it’s delivered so she will charge it and have them leave it at the front door because she’s too embarrassed. She also has sleep apnea and has to use a machine to help her breathe. Little things I take for granted are a big issue for her.
I ended up spending 3 hours there and kept her company on the treadmill. I was really surprised at how open she was but sometimes you just need someone to listen. She said I am so lucky but I told her luck has nothing to do with it, it’s hard work and if there was a pill where I could eat whatever I want, I’d be the first in line.
Too many people think that it’s just a matter of will power but you really have to factor in genetics, environment, how you were brought up and your relationship with food. Sure, it’s easy for me to say take one day at a time, prepare your meals in advance, don’t keep anything in the house that’s too tempting, but I know how hard it is to get in the right head space and how easy it is to get discouraged.
I gave her my number and told her we could meet up at the gym and I would workout with her. I’m old enough to be her mother but she’s the sweetest girl and she kept thanking me for being so nice. The fact that she felt the need to thank me for something so simple that shouldn’t be a rarity, was an eye opener. I left feeling sad, it always amazes me how cruel people can be for no reason. Those words stay with you, my son was bullied all through school and he remembers every mean remark. I even remember when I was about 8 going to this girl’s house which was huge with red velvet flocked wallpaper, statues all over and a giant pool. I’d never seen anything like it but when she asked me if I was poor because I always wore the same “stupid arrow outfit”, I was devestated. It was my favorite, a long sleeve red top with white arrows on the border and matching pants. 50+ years later, I can recall every detail like it was yesterday.
She left with a smile on her face and am happy if I was the cause of it. It makes you realize that a little bit of kindness can go a long way. It’s easy, doesn’t cost a dime and it would be nice if we all could do a bit more of it.