Facing Fat & Fears


The gym- it terrifies me! I know, not very badass of me but it is true. Why? Well, I am not the picture of fitness and I swore people there would stare at me, judge me, the usual. Then I realized I’m not the only one who feels this way and that everyone has to start somewhere. I refused to let other people’s opinion of me, real or imagined, influence whether or not I began to lead a healthier life. How silly is that? Stay overweight and unhealthy because I’m afraid other people will judge me if I go to workout. Time to get real, Jewels!

I’ve started to lead a healthier life by doing the usual stuff like cutting out all drinks but water (and a lot of it) with the exception of my occasional ginger ale and hot tea. I have changed my eating habits as well, eat my veggies, forcing myself to eat breakfast (I loathe eating in the AM) and eating more but smaller meals, thereby cutting out snacking.

I make a conscious effort to park a little farther away at the store and instead of yelling, I walk up the stairs if I need someone.

All of this is fine and good but, without a real work out plan, I was never going to lose the weight I wanted to. I’m not a self motivated person when it comes to working out. My workout had to be something that I was sure I couldn’t half-ass, something where I had motivation and wasn’t watching the clock non-stop. I picked the PERFECT workout for me, and am I’m here to share it with you.

Zumba was my solution. I was drawn to its “have fun while getting fit” vibe and that I needed no prior workout experience to kick ass in the class. At first, I swore I could hear the inner workings of the regulars at the gym mocking me. I could hear their eyes rolling towards the heavens at the site of me walking into that Zumba room. I ignored them knowing it was just in my head, and even if it wasn’t…fuck them! I started snarling at them a little, literally curling my lip and growling. Nobody and nothing was going to keep my uncoordinated self from going into that room and sweating my ass off.

I learned I love Zumba and I love sweating. Me! I love to work out when it’s in a setting with loud ass, sometimes obnoxious, music and super chipper women. I got in there and danced my ass off, which is saying something because I already have a pancake ass to being with. *Seriously*

Anyway, I went at first with a friend, the group of women I went with grew, and I made friends in the class. I had a blast! Three times a week, a hour each class, I rocked my body and brought sexy back all at once.

I left there red faced, sweating, with burning abs, thighs, and arms but I left grinning from ear to ear. What’s more, I left drenched in sweat but still feeling incredibly sexy and flirty in spite of it. I left feeling freaking great. That isn’t even what excited me the most though. What I really got off on was what happened when I didn’t go. When I didn’t go I felt like crap! This to me was the most amazing thing in the world! I was suddenly somebody who loved to work out. If I missed class, I got cranky & felt physically yucky…how did I become that chick? It’s amazing!

Had I let my self imposed doubt and fears stay lodged in my head, I would never have had the courage to go to that first class, which led to a healthier and happier me. If I’d let the fear of the unknown and possible judgment stop me, I’d never know the joy of shaking my ass with 30 other women. I’d have never finished my first 3 hour Zumba marathon fundraiser (man, I hurt after that one!), I’d have never signed up at an actual gym for a real membership, and I’d certainly not be working towards the best possible version of myself! I’m really glad I snarled my way through my fears and braved the gym; turns out it isn’t scary at all.

Julie Zantopoulos

Julie Zantopoulos

Julie is Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of The Indie Chicks. She's working on publishing her first book, a collection of short stories, and writing a young adult novel series. Other loves include whiskey, the Flyers, and anything LOTR, Harry Potter, or Young Adult Lit. Don't be shy about following her on Instagram or emailing her to discuss contributing to The Indie Chicks.

  1. Fantastic piece. I lost around 60 lbs. two years ago, and I, too, had to overcome being self-conscious in order to become healthier. Bravo! We’ll be sure to hit up a Zumba class together when I come up north for a visit.

  2. How much fun would that be!? haha. Love it. I just found a studio by me that offers classes. Can’t wait for next week when they start. :) I’ve been neglecting the gym to write but I have to start making it a priority again. Thanks so much, sweetie.

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