The Gym: Depressing or Uplifting?

Whenever I think about going to the gym, a negative voice starts creeping into my head.  It says to me, “You’re so fat” and “You’re going to hurt yourself” and “You know you won’t come back.”  You wouldn’t believe what my awful brain cooks up.  It’s all, “Look at yourself in the mirror” and “Look at how awful your clothes fit” and “You’re on par with her” (Yes, my awful brain even judges other people at the gym when I’m there.  It looks at the gym attendants and goes, “Wow, he must be laughing at you inside when you go to ask him about gym classes” and “I bet he’s watching your fat jiggle.”  Then, when I’m doing weights, my brain goes on and on, telling me about what a weak person I am, and how I used to be able to lift so much more.  When I’m on a treadmill, I’m not working hard enough.  Remember how fast I used to be able to go?  And by the time I come home, I’m so exhausted from this inner battle that I take a bath or shower and just want to sleep.

I tell you all of these personal thoughts to pose a question: Does this happen to you?  Or is this just a side-effect of my “migraine brain?”  I know that there are severe, uncontrollable mood swings with my migraines.  For gods’ sake, I’ve cried about wrapping presents because of migraines.  If I were a man, I would be laughed out of society.  Thankfully, I’m a woman, so apparently, emotional outbursts are mildly acceptable.  Although I usually contain them well and leave my tears for pillows and hot showers.

Everyone (e.g., the internet) says that the gym should be an uplifting place.  We go to the gym to better ourselves!  Not me.  I go to the gym to beat myself up.  Then I spend the next day in a “gym hangover” because I went a little too hard and now I need to take it easy.

My mom loves the gym.  She was never “fat” pre-gym, but she really toned up and lost weight when she started going.  She’s probably about 6 pants sizes smaller than me.  She can just hop on a treadmill or elliptical and go for half an hour.  She switches gyms all the time, but her activity/participation remains constant.

I need more mental stimulation.  Like classes.  Which brings us to the question, “Why did I sign up for a gym if I hate it so much?”  The answer is that I was under the impression that this gym, new at the time, would be offering lots of classes, soon.  It’s been a year and a half, and they have two: Zumba, and some weird toning class.  Both aimed towards middle age females. I hate dancing.  I hate things like pilates only slightly less.  I DO like Yoga, but Yoga isn’t offered at my $30-a-month-for-3-years gym.

Do you think, like I do, that maybe the reason people have an on-again off-again relationship with the gym is because they feel like I do?  For me, the gym is a place where dreams go to die.  I’ll keep using it, because I have to, or lose my money… but man, I wish it didn’t stress me out and cause me the sort of internal grief that it does.

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