A fat girl in elementary school is lined up against a painted cinderblock wall with her classmates. Two boys – the best athletes in the class, of course – stand several feet away, surveying the group critically. One by one, the students are called to join the boys’ teams, until only one student is left. “Nancy,” one of the boys mumbles. The girl keeps her eyes on the ground, too embarrassed to look at anyone, as she joins her team.
These are the images that pop into my head, so many years later, when I think of myself in a gym. Anyone who’s been a fat kid knows gym is the worst place to be. So, last year when my diet buddy suggested that we join the gym that’s housed in our office building, I literally laughed in her face. “No way!” I said, without even thinking about it. When she asked for an explanation I told her it would devastate my weight loss efforts. “Kimmy, the moment I go in there and get laughed at, I will feel like a failure. I can’t take that kind of pressure right now. I need to keep things positive.”