When I go to the gym, I notice all the other people who are in the gym with me. But you might be surprised as to whom I admire most. Naturally, all the hard bodies are pretty to look at. The kids in their twenties are all in wonderful shape. But they are not who I admire. I admire the person who is at least 100 pounds overweight slowly walking on the treadmill.

For all the hard bodies and twenty-somethings, going to the gym is easy and fun. They know, at least I hope they know, that they look good. They may work hard but it is not hard for them to work hard. The gym is part of their normal schedule.

For that person who is 100 pounds, or more, overweight, the gym is hard. It is embarrassing to be there with all the hard bodies. It is hard to put on workout clothes. It is hard to convince themselves to go. It is hard to do any of the equipment or exercises. It is hard. And that is why I admire them. They have made a commitment and are working on achieving it. A long, slow commitment.

I was swimming at the gym the other day. There was a very large woman slowly paddling her way back and forth in the pool. I was in awe of her. It took so much strength of mind and courage to put that bathing suit on, to walk out in front of others and to begin to swim. But because she made that choice, she will probably live a longer and happier life.

So, all you hard bodies and twenty-somethings, keep going to the gym. It is good for you. All of you for whom the gym is a much bigger struggle, I am amazed by your strength and commitment. You are to be commended. You are role models for the rest of us. Thank you for being there.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Michelle is a Marriage and Family therapist in Fullerton, CA who works with people striving to get healthy, including managing chronic pain.