Let me share with you something that happened to me on Monday at the gym...
I had done my hour's aerobics with the lovely Adam and then 40 minutes in the gym. I was heading for the toning tables for my ten minutes wind-down with Hello magazine when a woman stopped me and said "It's my first time here!". I smiled and said "that's nice" and was moving on when she added " I was scared to come because I thought everybody here would have wonderful figures and then I saw you and I was so relieved...". I just stared at her. Then I said "Thanks for that; you have made me feel so much better about myself." I walked away as she started saying "I didn't mean...."
Now I know exactly what she means. When I joined the gym myself I was relieved to see a number of men and women of various ages and of various sizes alongside the lycra-clad goddesses but I would not have ever considered SAYING that to one of them. It's like meeting someone you've not seen for years and suddenly they are OLD - you don't say "My but you're so wrinkly/bald/scrawney". You don't go up to a woman at a party and say "I'm so glad you're here as that means I'm not the fattest person in the room". We are all usually too hard on ourselves anyway without someone putting into words how we feel.
People who know me know how phobic I am about getting my picture taken. I loathe my figure and my face, the only bits I really like are my hands and my feet. I get through life by avoiding mirrors and cameras and trusting in other people's good manners not to make me confront myself. It's pretty shallow really but it's one of my issues and i do fight against it. But that woman really hurt me. I really don't want to go back to the gym but I'm off there now.