DietBet Diary #2: Chubby Girl Yoga

In the second installment of the DietBet Diary series, Heather reluctantly returns to OGE (organized group exercise).

I grew up in the age of Jazzercise. Do you guys remember that? Shiny leotards and leg warmers and woman who shouted “Woo!” during exceptionally difficult segments of a choreographed series of dancelike movements.

My mom went to Jazzercise. I remember sitting along a mirrored wall watching all these women sweating to hideous music and thinking it was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever seen during my six long years of living.

Not much has changed in thirty-five years. I still think OGE (organized group exercise) is one the most horrendous activities to ever be embraced by our culture. And people who clap in class or sit in the front row are, to me, the equivalent of the brown-noser in high school—ya know, the one who actually liked learning how to diagram sentences.

My own relationship with exercise hasn’t involved many groups or much organization. I’ve always preferred individual sports, and aside from a brief elementary stint in t-ball, I have very rarely enjoyed the company of others while I burn calories. I prefer quiet contemplation as I sweat.

Or tranquil misery. However you want to look at it.

Occasionally I’ve conceded to a game of tennis, but that was in college and the courts were right next to the upper classman dorms, so…yeah, that doesn’t really count.

On top of that, as a Chubby Girl, I’m prone to bouts of self-consciousness that repel me from any activity where I am not in control of the appropriate blousing of my shirt (to hide fat), or any activity that could possibly allow my fat to jiggle.

Jiggle is bad. Bad. Bad.

So you have to know, an entry to the sweat-soaked realms of OGE is serious business. It’s evidence of my dedication to weight loss. But, since I’m committed to winning this darn DietBet, I’m doing it.

Why I Chose Yoga

Yoga may not be the fat blasting HIIT class most dieters look for, but as I’ve mentioned in my first DietBet Diary, my options are limited due to a back injury.

Secondly, the deep breathing and emphasis on serenity should help with my high blood pressure. I didn’t think I was a high stress person, but I have to consider the possibility that it may contribute to those higher numbers.

And finally, there is usually no woo-hoo-ing in yoga. Woo-hoo’ing during exercise, in my opinion, is annoying. I prefer a woo-hoo free environment.

OGE: Day 1

I arrived to the yoga studio early (I’m always early) to fill out paperwork and pay for my membership. I asked the desk attendant, who also happened to be the instructor, how many people would be in the class (because Chubby Girls like to know what to expect when they’re going to be in a situation where they are stretching chubby limbs into unnatural poses).

She said it was normally small, which put me at ease. I entered the sweat box (or classroom as some call it) and carefully chose my location: toward the back, along one wall. If the class was small, I figured most students would sit toward the front of the space. Because these OGE people are exercise brown-nosers, right?

Boy, was I wrong. Five minutes before class is set to start, with plenty of room beside and in front of me, in strolls the one male attendee and he immediately sets up camp behind me.

Are you kidding? All this room in the sweat box and you have to sit behind my wide booty? Do you realize I’m going to bend over? A lot? I’m going to attempt poses my Chubby Girl body has never heard of, my muscles will quiver, my legs may give out and there is the distinct possibility I will crumble to the mat in a heap of jelly-esque flesh and start to cry.

I considered getting up and moving my mat to a less visible position—the only one that should have a view of my butt in downward dog is the wall behind it—but then class started.

And I began to listen to my body as it stretched and moved. My muscles began to hum and my heart rate increased. I imagined all my little blood vessels opening up and receiving the deep and loving oxygen they needed to help lower my blood pressure.

I forgot about the man behind me who currently had an unobstructed view of my very giant bottom.

"While my loathing of OGE is very real, how much of that dislike is actually a fear of judgement or more likely: an aversion to judging myself?"

When you’re overweight, the first time you do anything can take courage. In that moment, it’s not about loving yourself, it’s about heroism. We have to fight back against those people who talk about “acceptance” and then secretly judge us on social media. And sometimes the only hero available to defend yourself against those people is, well…you.

While my loathing of OGE is very real, how much of that dislike is actually a fear of judgement or more likely: an aversion to judging myself?

During the seventy-five minute class, my mind stepped into the judge-y territory more than once. Not only was I judging my own actions and Chubby Girl body, but I was judging the people on the mats beside me, who I’d never spoken to, for judging my body too.

Here’s the strange thing: at the end of class, I cleaned up my mat and towel, just like everyone else. I walked out of the studio, slightly sweaty, just like everyone else, and together we all walked down to our cars, spines tall and erect from having spent seventy-five minutes loving on ourselves through fitness. In that moment, I was just like them.

And…no one clapped or said one woo-hoo.

Until class the next day. We had a woo-hoo’er in there, but I’m gonna let her stay.

This is the second post in a DietBet Diary series that follows Heather through her whole DietBet game. Read her first entry here and check back regularly for new entries.

Make it WayBetter

Heather faced her fear of OGE and not only learned about herself from the experience, but also got a new tool in her weight-loss toolkit. What fears can you face to help you feel happier and reach your goals?