I have always been ambivalent about joining a gym, partly because I enjoy working out at and instead of being confined in a florescent lit space surrounded by dumbbells and ellipticals. But I enjoy group classes and got a membership at a local gym to participate in some. Although I enjoyed workout with other people, this gym started to bring out the worst in me. Rather than encouraging to live a healthy lifestyle, this gym made me hate my body.
I sure I am not alone. ANAD, the National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders, surveyed 185 female students on a college campus. Of the women surveyed, 58% felt pressure to be a certain weight, and of the 83% that dieted for weight loss, 44% were a healthy weight.
Some gyms are the antithesis of the body positive movement. Rather than promoting a healthy lifestyle, some promote reaching unrealistic body goals that are not maintainable. While phrases like "get the body you want" seem innocuous on the surface, these phrases can be the impetuous for obsessive behavior that can destroy a healthy fitness journey. I, who have never had an issue with my weight or size, began to obsessively weight myself and prod my body in frustration when weeks of devoted gym attendance and strict dieting yielded no change. My perfectly healthy body was not good enough.
If you cannot enjoy the transformation that being a member of a gym can bring, then it is likely that gym is not the place to be. A healthy lifestyle should not be punishing nor should it make you hate yourself if you aren't your ideal size.