Feelin’ Good … An Unexpected Confidence Boost

Life works in funny ways.

Years ago, I noticed a girl at the gym who was whittling away.  In this post, (during my very disordered phase) I talked about how instead of feeling jealous of her (as I assumed I would), I was, instead, in admiration of her dedication to the gym.

I didn’t know at the time she was a trainer, or a Zumba teacher … or that, soon, she’d be my Zumba teacher a few years later!

Anyway, I was always a little intimidated by her — nothing she ever did or said, specifically, but moreover a general sense of intimidation. Like she was a cool kid, and I wasn’t. It’s hard to explain, but women size each other up and form opinions in our heads, however silly and unfounded they may be.

I saw her all the time but she was always with other people at the gym but we never really talked, sometimes exchanged a “hi, ” but nothing more.

Fast-forward to November 2010 when I was very pregnant (in my last month) and we ran into each other in the women’s locker room at the gym. As I discussed in this post, she totally made my day, telling me how “incredible” I looked and how it was so great I was staying so active during the pregnancy, etc. She shared her labor stories, we bonded., and then I had a baby and was away from the gym for a while — or went at times where I didn’t see her.

Then in May, a friend encouraged me to take a Zumba class with her; neither of us had ever been and we thought it would be fun to go together, give it a shot. My gym routine was getting stale (how long can one zone out on the elliptical?!) and I agreed to go, thinking a class might spice up my workouts.

Sure enough, I walked in and guess who my instructor was? Yup, Gym Girl! She saw me walking in and I was surprised she even remembered me but asked how old my baby was, asked to see a pic (gotta love the iPhone for that!), and told me how great I looked.

I took one class and was HOOKED. I LOVE ZUMBA! Gym Girl is the main teacher, but we have two subs I love, too, and I can’t get enough. I had hoped Zumba would tone me up, but for all my intents to lose a little pudge before our family trip/BFFs wedding, I haven’t made a dent on the scale and was feeling a little blah last night.

I’ve noticed that with Zumba, in particular, if I wear form-fitting clothes — where I can see my waist and hips moving — I get a better workout vs when I wear loose T-shirts. It doesn’t matter that I’m not thin; I look better/work out better with more fitted gym clothes. So since I was feeling this way, I put on a hot pink tank and some black workout pants and met up with my friend for class. We’d been told at the last class that the guy sub was going to be there again all week (and he works us HARD; I didn’t know a man’s hips could move like that …;) and so I was surprised when Gym Girl [teacher] was there.

During the warm-up song, she turned around to us students and said, “You’re getting so skinny!”

I completely didn’t realize she was talking to me at first. Then she turned around again. “Seriously, you’d never know you just had a baby!”

I was totally blown away; the compliment came out of nowhere.

Now, readers, I assure you, I am far from “skinny,” and the scale hasn’t changed at all, but I was just really touched that she noticed I looked thinner (maybe more toned?)—and called me out in front of 30 people in class. She totally could have said something after class, but she didn’t.

What’s more, we all know how women can be –catty, not appreciative of one another’s efforts. So I really was touched and blushed (I was a little embarrassed — it was a full class, so I don’t know how many people heard) and told her “Aw, thank you!” and didn’t talk myself down like I might have in the past.

I took the compliment and focused on having a great class—and I did. Truly, the compliment made my night. Zumba has been great for me, and it’s way more fun than any other activity.

I might never get back to my thin 2004/2005 self, but I feel pretty damn good in this skin. Last night was a good reminder that this 2012 model isn’t half bad: this 2012 model is a recovered disordered eater and a former over-exerciser who birthed a baby. I’d say that makes this model pretty darn cool.

How about you? Have you ever gotten a totally unexpected compliment that boosted your confidence?


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