Life + Faith

Big Girl at the Spa

spa day bonneville outside falls

The last time I talked about overcoming a weight based fear, I was stuck in an elevator. I really had no choice in getting over that one.

This time I’m going to talk about getting nekkid at a spa.

And before I go any further,  just to be absolutely clear — there are NO nekkid photos, pervs!

I had been dreading Thursday for a couple weeks now, because one of my greatest fears is letting anyone see more of my skin than above the neck, below the elbows, and below the knees. I like to keep it all covered lest anyone discover that I am actually a jiggly blob of fat, and not a svelte seventeen year old cheerleader — which happens to be exactly what I think I still am until I catch a gimps of myself in any reflective surface…but I digress.

My company likes to do nice things for us to bribe us keep us happy and say ‘thanks for all your hard work!’. I’m grateful for the effort but often annoyed that I have to participate, because I live in fear of judgement and rejection even though I always end up having fun, and this event was an especially huge panic inducer, because Thursday was a work sponsored spa day! Naked time for everyone!!

Other people danced around with jazz-hands at the thought of a free massage…I hid under my desk and cried because I have vehemently avoided massages of any kind. One, because I don’t want some stranger’s hands all up in my fat, and two, my giant b0o0o0bs make it impossible to lay flat without the very real potential for suffocating myself. The thought is horrifying.

I spent two weeks trying to figure out how to get out of going: Fake sick? Break a limb? Get lost on the way there? Quit my job?

But when it finally came time to pick a spa treatment a week ago, I decided that I should probably have something to blog about, so I chose a ‘rejuvenating leg treatment’ thinking it wouldn’t be so bad to let someone touch my legs; after-all I’ve had delightful pedicures before.

But then I saw the most horrible thing possible: we were all getting Bath and Wrap treatments too… … … … …

you expect me to get buck-ass-naked for a bath…with co-workers in the same room?!?! YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR DAMN MIND.

And so I crawled back under my desk and cried. Again.

Thursday came, and I had finally mostly convinced myself that everything would be fine and I would have a fun-ish time and if I really couldn’t handle it I could just leave. So I stuffed some jean shorts into my bag, grabbed a book, and headed out my door with a scowl smile on my face.

After a couple hours of work, we all headed out for our first stop of the day, Skamania Lodge, for a garden lunch on the lawn. I was driving myself so I had about an hour to convince myself to act like a well-adjusted adult rather than a scared little girl — but mostly I just sang along to the country station while enjoying the Gorge scenery. Fyi, that’s actually Gorge, as in the Columbia River Gorge, not a shortened version of gorgeous (which it is), like totes or cray (which is how I was acting).

Eh-hem…moving on.

spa day lunch skamania lodge

Lunch out in the sunshine scared me a bit because I’m a sweaty-sweaterson and I was dreading the potential embarrassment of being the fat sweaty girl having to constantly wipe my face while eating. I shudder even writing that, but luckily God was watching out for me, and I was able to snag one of the three-and-a-half chairs in the shade of a giant bush. Score!

spa day lunch skamania lodge 2

After a delightful lunch of iced tea, salad, salmon, steak, gold potato wedges, and a lemon bar, a few co-workers and I headed down the road to Bonneville Hot Springs Resort & Spa. The entire way there I thought that perhaps I could just accidentally miss my turn and just keep driving all the way back home. Unfortunately Fortunately, I was driving behind my co-workers so I made it safely to the spa.

spa day bonneville entrance

My first mini-panic happened when we walked past the brightly lit locker room. Hells to the no. But instead of spinning on my heels, knocking my co-workers out of the way and screaming toward the exit arms flailing, I decided to pretend that I didn’t see it, and kept walking calmly down the hall toward the spa desk.

I kept hope alive that the locker/bathroom was for something other than spa guests, until two of my co-workers checked in ahead of me, were handed towels and spa sandals, and directed back down the hallway to the locker room of brightly-lit shame. Noooooooo!!! Is it too late to run? They would totally notice now. Oh.My.Gawd…I have to do this, I’m in too deep!!

I think the nice lady at the spa desk with a similar bra size to me, noticed the intense look of deer-in-headlights panic I was trying to pretend wasn’t on my face, and motioned me in the other direction into the actual dimly-lit spa area. We ended up in an empty, small, curtained off, dimly-lit locker room and I almost hugged her. She grabbed the robe from my locker and said she’d be right back with one that would actually, “fit over the boobies” — bless you, spa angel!

spa day bonneville outside

Since I had two hours to kill enjoy before my treatments were scheduled, I changed into my shorts (no robe necessary, yet), slipped on my spa sandals, grabbed my book, and headed out into the outdoor pool area; my never-before-seen-by-coworkers-in-six-years white legs shining brightly in the sunlight. Suck it, fear!

spa day bonneville pool

I sat around the edge of the natural hot-springs pool with a few other co-workers, dangling our legs in the water and chatting until they headed inside for their treatments which started an hour before mine. I found some shade, propped up my feet, and happily read my book for an hour…while checking my phone every 5 minutes to make sure I had enough time to change into nothing before it was my turn to be tortured pampered.

spa day bonneville start jon acuff

As the minutes ticked down and I felt an ever increasing urge to throw up, I decided to head inside 15 minutes early so that I could hopefully change in the locker room alone. No such luck. There were two other co-workers already in there so I nonchalantly grabbed my robe and headed for the bathroom around the corner, making great use of the roomy handicap stall. Don’t tell me you’ve never done the exact same thing!

Bra and underwear on? Off? On. No, off. No, definitely on. I can take them off right before I get in the bathtub. Oh, please let there be some kind of screen. I hope I’m not flashing anyone with this robe…of course it opens when you bend over, quit bending over!

I said a prayer, then headed back to the locker room to wait awkwardly on the hard, uncomfortable benches with three other robed co-workers. No one spoke. It was at this point that I realized: this was awkward for everyone! 

Two of the girls were called in first and before I was taken to a different room with another co-worker, I heard this loud exchange:

“The water’s getting high. Are we supposed to turn this off ourselves?”

“I don’t know! It’s really hot though.”

“Maybe we do.”

“Mine’s not turning off!”

“Do you need help?” … “Are you naked?!”

Hahaha! They did get the water turned off themselves, and luckily, now I knew I should do that too! Thanks, ladies!

The bath tub room was dimly lit and had four tubs in it, each with a sorta-kinda privacy screen. One tub was already occupied by a woman who didn’t feel the need to pull her screen closed as far as possible, so I headed for the corner tub where my back would be to her and my co-worker. The spa attendant started the water and put in the oils and salts (I chose a detox mix of seaweed and something I can’t pronounce) then I waited until she had left to close the screen as far as possible and disrobe, strategically hanging my rob to cover a large gap in the screen.

Win! Until I heard the spa attendant coming back to put water and fruit on a little table next to my tub. Yep…I’m just standing here, naked. I avoided eye contact and just got in the tub, trying to pretend that no one else was in the room.

I have to say, I enjoyed the soaking bath, until my foot slipped up off the end of the tub and made a farting sound. Oh, crap! Now they think the fat girl is faring in the bathtub! It’s not me! My foot slipped! Oh…whatever.

I had imagined that between the bath and the wrap I would have time to towel off in private and put my under-things back on…until the spa attendant came back about 20 mins later grabbed my robe, holding it open for me to put back on…soaking wet. Oh, okay. No towel then!? Don’t fall getting out of the tub, don’t fall getting out of the tub. You’re just going to stand there holding my robe for me while I flail around naked…okay fine. Fine! Naked it is!

I managed to somewhat gracefully get out of the tub, except for those pesky foot-farting noises, wrapped my robe around me as much as possible and gathered my why-did-I-even-bother under-things. I’ll definitely have time to put them back on before my leg massage thing.

She then led me into a large room with beds lining the two long walls. Do we get nap time? Then I noticed six of the beds down at the end were already occupied by mummies, and I knew I was next. She walked around to the other side of a bed held up the sheets, then motioned for me to hang my robe on a hook on my side of the bed. Oh, you want me to get naked in a giant open room, do you?! Just take off my robe right here with you looking at me?! Fine. Whatever. No turning back now.

And then I climbed into a warm bed, had sheets tucked tightly all around me, and a cold wet washcloth placed across my eyes, mummy style. This is weird. Should I be sweating or something? I’m not sweating. Should I be sweating? Isn’t that what a wrap is for? What the hizzle, I’ll just lay here and try not to fall asleep.

Some time later I could hear a group of people coming into the room, and the other six mummies were stirred from their awkward slumber. I thought I would be the last to leave the room, since I was  the last to enter, but someone touched my feet, then removed the washcloth from my face. She grabbed my robe for me to very-extremely-awkwardly put on while I was still in the bed, which really just ended up with me flashing my giant b00bs to the whole room, and all I could think was, meh…whatever. Viva la naked!

She led me back to a private treatment room and instructed me to lay facing down on the massage table with my face in the cradle, then she left the room…oh my crap, is there a massage involved in this leg treatment?!?!?!?! This is weird for a leg treatment. There wasn’t actually a description though, so I don’t really know what’s involved, but crap, crap, crap, what if my face can’t reach the cradle because my chest is too big, and what if I collapse the table, and what if I DIE FROM BOOB SUFFOCATION?!?! And then I hung up my robe and arranged myself as comfortably as possible on the table because, whatever the hell happens I am going to conquer this fear!

And you know what happened? A glorious massage!! I had to hold my arms at a somewhat awkward angle to accommodate the side-b00bage, but my face could reach the cradle, and I didn’t suffocate, and after the initial shock (and realizing half-way though that they had schedule me for the wrong treatment) it wasn’t at all awkward having someone else loosen up my muscles!


I did utilize the roomy handicap stall again to get re-dressed because, while I can honestly say I have now embraced the spa experience, there’s just no need to see all that up close and personal with my co-workers in a locker room.

Viva la spa!!
spa day fireplace bonneville

Have you ever been to a spa? Have you conquered a weight-based fear? Or any fear, really. Tell me about it in the comments!

**I never actually crawled under my desk, or cried…in case you were wondering. :)
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  • Reply Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness July 23, 2013 at 3:47 am

    Awesome read! I loved the comical twist you put on facing your fear. Fear conquered! And yes, spas are awesome :)

  • Reply Pam July 23, 2013 at 4:24 am

    Wow….this was a poignant and hilarious post at the same time. While I am not a heavy girl, my fear of spa treatments is huge and I commend you for handling it so well. My biggest treatment to date is a pedicure!

  • Reply Elizabeth July 23, 2013 at 6:08 am

    I love your spin on this! And your honesty!

    The first massage I ever had was on the beach in Mexico. I thought it would be awesome. It wasn’t terrible, but it was incredibly awkward as 5 people held a big towel over me as I wriggled out of my swim suit. Pretty sure I did some flashing that day, getting it off and putting it back on. Awkward for sure! I’ll take all massages in a private room, with no one else from now on.

    • Reply Tiffany July 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm

      That was very brave of you! and still being on a first-time-massage-high, I can’t say I would have passed that up either! What happens in Mexico, stays in Mexico? :)

  • Reply Patty July 23, 2013 at 6:29 am

    SO PROUD of you! You did it! :) YAY!
    I’m glad you had a really good experience. I love massages and don’t get them nearly enough. I need to schedule one asap. I don’t think I ever feared the spa because the promise of someone working out the kinks of my very tired muscles was too big a treat! :)

    • Reply Tiffany July 24, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      Thanks, Patty! I’m already looking forward to my next massage!

  • Reply Bridget July 23, 2013 at 6:33 am

    That was awesome! Loved reading it….literally spit out coffee all over my computer when I got to the “die form boob suffocation” … LOL

    • Reply Tiffany July 24, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Thank you so much!! Sorry, about your computer…and loss of coffee. ;)

  • Reply Chrissy @ Overweight... AND OVER IT! July 23, 2013 at 8:34 am

    I absolutely LOVE the book ‘Start’! It’s rocked my world… and it’s one I’ll read over and over again (and that’s saying something for a “non-reader”!) My issue now is I feel so overly motivated to transition into my dream job… and I feel trapped in my current (and have for two years).

    I’m gonna HUSTLE!!!

    • Reply Tiffany July 24, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      I know how you feel, Chrissy! I’m working on a transition too… we can do this!

  • Reply Liz @ The Shrinking Owl July 23, 2013 at 9:23 am

    So, I would LOVE to get a bikini wax someday, but my weight is holding me back from doing so. I am so afraid they are going to be like “WOW LOOK AT THIS FATTY, LOOK AT HER THIGHS” because I heard they have to get pretty darn up-close-and-personal to take care of bizness.

    • Reply Tiffany July 24, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      Me too!! My (thinner) friends who have it done, scoff at me when I tell them why I’m afraid, and tell me everyone is very professional and it doesn’t matter. It matters to me! But after the spa, maybe this should be next on my list of fear-conquering! Let’s do it!

  • Reply Kelly @ Cupcake Kelly's July 23, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I love spa’s but before I was a SAHM, I don’t think I would be comfortable with naked time with my co workers. Go you for conquering that fear!!

  • Reply Chrissy July 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    This was the funniest! I’m glad you enjoyed yourself and hope you let yourself indulge more often!

  • Reply GiGi Eats Celebrities July 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    I am obsessed with the spa but I never go because I consider it to be a luxury that I do not deserve! So sad, but it’s true. I tell myself that I need to ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING HUGE in order to truly deserve it!!!! Even if someone gives me a spa gift, I wait until the last possible day to use it because I never feel like I truly deserved it. Wow, that comment sounded really sad lol!

  • Reply Debbie @ Live from La Quinta July 23, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Wow, from laughing wildly to shedding a little tear over your bravery in a nano second. I’m so glad that you overcame your fears and enjoyed the awesomeness that is a spa day. And, now what company do you work for? Are they accepting applications?

    Almost everybody in this world has some body-related fear, whether it is weight (real or imagined), scars, the size of our breasts (or butts), or whatever. You just faced yours with great humor and aplomb!

    • Reply Tiffany July 24, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks, Debbie! I do get so caught up in my own body-related fears that I forget that other people of all shapes and sizes have fears too! The experience was very revealing (ha!) on many levels for me, and I’m so glad I didn’t run away from it!

  • Reply Alyssa July 27, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    LOL at the foot-farting-noise. I also have giant b00bs too, as you call them, so I can totally understand the embarrassment and fear. However, I’m now a regular and try to go as often as I can afford it. Awesome blog, I hope you treat yourself with another massage soon! (Facials can be less intimidating and just as relaxing.)

    • Reply Tiffany July 29, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      Thank you, Alyssa! I’m plotting my next massage already! :)

  • Reply Alyssa July 27, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Also just added you to my blog roll so I remember to come visit often! xo

    • Reply Tiffany July 29, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      Yay Blog roll! Thank you! I thought I had you in mine, but apparently I don’t — fixing that now! <3

  • Reply Steph July 28, 2013 at 2:12 am

    I’ve just found your blog from Authentically Emmie – what a find! :-)

    I went to my first ever spa day yesterday with friends and had the exact same fears (though we wore swimming costumes/bikinis for the actual spa). It was the first time we’d ever done the grown up changing room thing though (the one where you just get on with it… That was kind of odd).

    Great post!

    • Reply Tiffany July 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      Hi Steph! Yay, I love Emmie! That was very smart to take a swimsuit! I thought about it, but then assumed I’d have a lot more privacy. Oops! Haha.

  • Reply Linda July 29, 2013 at 5:33 am

    Umm AWESOME post! You are correct we all feel awkward at first, but you are right VIVA LA NAKED! I have been many times, but always in more private settings. And yes I utilize the room to get dressed. I do feel like going with co-workers is SO NOT OK though! And almost torture for a person rather than a reward. I have excited to find you blog!

  • Reply Rebekah April 8, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Um, so so so so so so funny! You have been holding out on us girl! Like there are so many things I loved about this post that I can’t even put it to words. Suffocating from boobs – I hear you! Love it :)

  • Reply Shelly Stone April 12, 2017 at 9:06 am

    So glad you were able to conquer your fears. Hope you have gotten lots of massages and spa treatments since you wrote this post! I’m a massage therapist and work on larger bodies all the time. Pillows, bolsters, wedges, side table extensions can all help with comfort, too. Best!

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