Unwinding a Double-bind at the Gym (Guest Post)

by Marnina Norys

I have allowed myself to become a “before” picture over the past 6 months. The gravity of my situation only hit home when I went to put on my go-to outfit for the first day of classes, and couldn’t get the zipper up on a jacket that had been flattering a mere 2 months before. Perhaps I’d have been alerted to my plight earlier if over the holidays, I’d worn something other than fleece pants and pajamas. You know the ones, they swathe you in softness and have such kind, forgiving waistbands. The fact that my winter coats were all becoming a bit too snug told my something, but I wasn’t listening.

This might seem like a trivial concern, but come on, the winter coats alone would cost $500 to replace. I went for quality when shopping, so that my ski coat, for example, is almost a decade old and is still holding up just fine. And lets not get started on the cost of a good, durable down parka, especially in Toronto. The same logic (quality over quantity) drove me when I was buying most of my clothes. This includes the gym gear purchased back when I was a happy little gym rat.

So of course, I’ve ended up hitting the gym harder than I have in years. In a way, the money I stand to save on new clothes is like getting paid to work out and that has been a good motivator. I’m not killing myself out there, I’m doing workouts that I enjoy. My credo has always “if it’s not fun, stop,” so as to avert developing negative associations with the gym. I’m glad of this, because this helped me overcome some toxic thought processes that almost kyboshed a recent work out.

“Norys,” I thought to myself while I stared at my body in the change room mirror, “you are so not falling for that line of bullshit, not a chance.” This is the thought that got me back onto the floor that night.

This internal conversation took place after discovering that the Cherry St. Y was a lot warmer than the downtown Y. As such, the thin fleece I usually wear for winter workouts was way too warm, leaving me uncomfortable and unhappy on the track. Where the fleece had acted like a corset, however, the tank top underneath was much too small now, revealing my newest midriff bulges in all their corpulent glory. I was simply not comfortable with the idea of working out in nothing but a too-tight tank top. Vain me started to bargain with the side of me that just wanted to run around and play in the gym. “Lets just go home,” she whispered. “We’ll try again another time with more appropriate gear.”

The thing was, I really felt like working out. I was having fun out there damn it! Angry about the catch 22 I was setting up for myself, I bucked up, fixed my attention firmly on how good it felt to be moving rather than imagining what other people saw. Mind you, I did give vain me a nod and tied my fleece around my waist to hide some flab (just don’t tell vain me what a futile gesture that actually was!). I have a wardrobe full of beautiful clothes that aren’t fitting well anymore, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let these same ill-fitting clothes bar me from making the changes required to wear them comfortably again.


Marnina Norys teaches a variety of subjects for a variety of departments at York University. Her newest favourite activity is urban hiking, often done with other Ingress players. Ingress is augmented-reality smartphone game that uses gps to direct players to game elements around the world. At the gym she enjoys running (generally at a pace she has dubbed a “toodle”), weight lifting, dance, tai chi and her own made-up style of kickboxing done on the heavy bag when no one is watching.




2 thoughts on “Unwinding a Double-bind at the Gym (Guest Post)

  1. I can delete the comment and this comment and then you can repost. Want me to do that?

Comments are closed.