It’s that time of the month again: the big weigh-in, when my trainer Michael Logan, C.P.S.T., M.E.S., puts me on the scale and pinches my inches to gauge my body fat for publication. Only this time was different.
Instead of waiting for him to ask me how I’m doing, I started our session by complaining about my exercise-induced aches and pains. They are the direct results of the new self-defense routines I’ve been practicing in preparation for advancing from a white to a yellow sash in Shaolin kung fu.
His advice was simple: Get a massage. Ha! I thought: Simple for Cindy Crawford of Heidi Klum or my best friend Lorrie, who’s blessed with a surplus of self-confidence and legs that qualify her for the Rockettes, but it’s not that simple for me. I’m too self-conscious about my naked body to let somebody rub exotic oils all over me without first buying me a four-star dinner. Even then, I have my reservations. When I told this to Logan, he dragged me over to the mirror.
Him: What do you see when you look in the mirror?”
Me: A chubby little Jewish girl who’s not ready to strip for a stranger with a bottle of baby oil.
Him: I see a woman who has a strong body that’s becoming healthy and fit. Your problem is that you’re speaking to yourself with other people’s voices – your mother’s, the skinny girls’ frim junior high, you ex-boyfriends’ – whose words and comments fueled bad feelings about your body. But they’re all misguiding you.
Me: Good grief, you’re right. And they’re loud.
Him: So move past them and start talking to yourself with your own voice, which says you are worthy of a little indulgence. When your body aches, you should heal it with a massage because it’s good for you and you deserve it.
So I did. Before I lost my courage, I took Logan’s advance and got a message from a stranger armed with a lavender-scented potion who did not feed me and who, despite his best efforts, could not heal me of feeling horribly self-conscious. At least not at first.
What he did heal, besides my throbbing shins and stiff back and neck, was my fear of being too overweight and unworthy of a little pampering. So he saw the cellulite on the back of my thighs and jiggled the paunch around my navel. Big deal. I am, after all, a real person.
When I finally allowed myself to relax, about 20 minutes in, I had to admit it felt good. Then I spent the remaining 40 minutes giving myself permission to enjoy the experience, remembering that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Now that’s progress.