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My Journey at the YMCA by Brittany Nissley

posted by Michelle Bell | February 07, 2018

​Typically, I write my blog as a childcare director and share interesting facts or research-based advice regarding children. However, this time I’m trying something different. For this blog, I’m writing as a member.

On October 27, I woke up and decided that I was not happy with who I was. I was embarrassed by certain pictures of myself. When I showed up in candid photos on social media, I was mortified that I could look so unflattering. I became tense and stressed at the idea of getting into a bathing suit around anybody. I was spending an insane amount of money on fast food and iced coffees each week. I was exhausted and lethargic each and every day, no matter how much sleep I got. Walking up and down the stairs in the building made me out of breath. I was not happy with my weight and furthermore, I could feel the “unhealthiness” running through my body. I’ve had feelings like this before—dreading bathing suit shopping and being worried every time I got a notification that I was tagged in a picture—but this time, something clicked. I also had extra motivation for my upcoming wedding in 2019. There was no way I was going to look back at wedding photos and be unhappy with what I saw.

So, starting that day, I completely changed everything, from my meals to my mindset. My breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks became totally different. I started drinking nothing but water. I cut out fast food, red meats, added sugars, iced tea, iced coffee, etc. I ate way more fruits and vegetables than I ever remember eating before. After a few days of adopting better eating habits, I knew it was time to exercise—my least favorite thing to do on the planet. Seriously, I would’ve rather washed dishes.

I started to use the gym here at the Y. I was nervous. How many people were going to be in there? Would people watch at me? What if I was the only one walking and everyone else was running? What if I didn’t know how to use something the right way? What if I was out of breath? After working up the courage, I walked into the gym with my water bottle, my earphones and my determination. After starting on the treadmill, everything became comfortable. Different members smiled at me, some said hello, nobody judged me and nobody stared at me. In fact, a few members would start up short conversations with me. Once, a member helped me figure out how to lower the seat on the exercise bike.

Right when I was 100 percent comfortable working out in the gym around others, I was being thrown into another uncomfortable situation when I was invited to try CrossFit with my coworkers. Many of my coworkers here are very fit. They’ve been exercising for quite some time (if not forever) and could easily lap me in any race I’d ever attempt. I was so intimidated to work out with them that I joked about pretending I was sick so that I didn’t have to show up. I made the mistake of googling CrossFit before the big day. How in the world did these people ever expect me to do a pull up or properly use a kettlebell? I had to find a way out of this. But I didn’t. I showed up, sweaty with nerves before I moved a muscle. But guess what? I have never felt more support in my entire life. My coworkers have taken the time to teach me every move, help me perfect it, help me adjust it when need be, help me push myself, help me reach my goals and encourage me. I now proudly do CrossFit twice a week with one of the best support systems I’ve ever had.

I may have lost 30 pounds in the past few months, but I’ve gained more than I’ve lost. I’ve gained friendships, I’ve gained confidence, I’ve gained courage and I’ve gained strength (mentally and physically). The people here at the YMCA, both employees and members, have made me feel like I was meant to live this lifestyle all my life. I never feel out of place and I never feel judged. I have worked out at several gyms and haven’t had an experience similar. I truly recommend the Carlisle Family YMCA for your health and fitness goals, as an employee, as a member and as a friend. The Carlisle Family YMCA has helped me change my life.

-by Brittany Nissley, Child Care Director