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I'm embarrassed...



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Today i sat in my car, outside the gym in the parking lot, gripping the stiring wheel until my knuckles went white. I am embarrassed about the way I look, and how I think my body will look whilst exercising. I can just feel people staring at me thinking 'what is she doing here, I wish I didn't have to look at that.' I know that this is exactly where I need to be but I feel like such a novice that I sould be doing the work at home. The truth is I need to be shown what to do, I need help. I know I can't be the only one who feels this way. This is YEARS of social programing by angry teens, coworkers, and strangers, talking and joking about the way I look. How do you get over it? How do you push yourself through the door, in front of that cruelly accurate and huge mirror wall, and do classes? Just need some encouragment please!

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I felt that way when I first started. It helped me to realize that everyone in the gym is there to improve on the way their body looks. A lot of people in the gym feel the same as you. It is hard to get out of your own head, but you can do it.

Try making a new friend or two there. It helps to have someone with you to workout with that helps with you being accountable for going to the gym, and also people feel better about things when they have a friend backing them up. Good luck! You will do fine! ;)

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Dear JCassel,

Congratulations - - you made it to the parking lot! Good for you. I can totally relate to the sounds of people making fun of me, talking and joking about my weight. I still struggle and have just started the process of having a sleeve done because it is now all about health for me. All I can say is that you are giving the small-minded, mean, hateful people who say and do those cruel things, way too much power. Don't let them prevent you from achieving your goals. I have found from past experience, that the staff at the health club's are very helpful and encouraging. The people who are at the health clubs fall in three categories, those who are so pre-occupied with their own routine that they won't notice you are there, people like you and me that struggle with our weight (maybe there are some people there who just lost some weight and then there are a few people there who will be so small minded that they may say think something but those people don't matter. I don't know that you will ever forget the "bullies" in our present and past, but if we stay in the "parking lot" they win and we lose!

Sitting next to you in the car - in the parking lot - Your cheerleader DLW622.

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I dealt with it with humor... I took video of myself throwing myself on the ground in front of the gym throwing my best 2 year old-esque tantrum I could muster up. I had to deal with it with humor. Because in all realness, no one really cares what other people look like at the gym. You are there just doing your thing, they are doing theirs and that dialogue in our heads is what is silly.

You deserve to be there just as much as anyone else and speaking from experience, it's much bigger in your head than in they gym.

You can do this!

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I am so sorry you feel this way. I can assure you, that the vast majority of the people in the gym are not paying attention to you, but some will see you and think "Good for her!" and some will see you and think something mean. However, those that have mean spirited thoughts toward others are most definitely not quality human beings and deserve no consideration from you. They are, however, a very small portion of the people in the gym, and most really won't even notice you because they are so self involved. Also, in my experience, adults aren't likely to purposely make hurtful comments out loud for you to hear like teenagers do, so even if someone is enough of an a-hole to think mean things, they are unlikely to voice them, so it's less likely that you will be made aware of it.

That being said... What gym options do you have in your area? Do you have a YMCA? They tend to be more inclusive than many private gyms. (Every gym has it's own personality, but private gyms seem to have a little more freedom to be "exclusive" or "snobbish" if they choose to) I see people of literally all sizes and fitness levels at ours and the staff is really supportive. Another option might be a Curves. Curves is basically a circuit of pneumatic machines that you rotate through every (30 seconds? 60 seconds?). While Curves has a limited purpose and is not my ideal of a "gym" and I most certainly wouldn't advise you to do more than a month or two there, it is women only, and primarily older women that will be super excited to see someone younger joining their ranks and will be very friendly and supportive. (Run-on sentence anyone? My English teacher would be so ashamed! :-) In a month or so, you'll lose a few pounds and develop a little more self confidence to get you in the door of a more traditional gym. Try out all the gyms in your area with 1 day passes until you find the one you feel most comfortable in. Some will have free trials of varying lengths, some might charge you 5 or 10 bucks for a day to try it out. You could always just get a tour for free, also.

This is a really difficult emotional issue to address, and a therapist is probably your best avenue to really get to the root of the old abuse and negative self talk, but you can mitigate the circumstances so that you can at least get in the door. At some point, no matter how you feel about it, you just have to figure out what you need to do, what accommodations you need to be able to get what you need (get through the front door). Overweight seems to be the last discrimination that is still fairly socially acceptable, and it is a really cruel thing and affects us in ways that haunt us for the rest of our lives. Congratulations to you in working so hard to overcome this abuse and discrimination. You will be successful.

Good luck! It will be scary, but I am certain that your fears will not be realized once you do get to the point where you can get through that front door!

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I understand how you feel. It's taken me years to be ok with me regardless of my size. I'm a super fan of spending the beginning of my day journaling about how I feel and saying my positive affirmations, such as, I am beautiful inside and out.

I am Pre-op 43 and confident I am on a healthy path for me. I believe you are too. Not my age though. Lol

What someone thinks of you is none of your business. All that matters is what you think of you. Only you define you. However, it takes an investment everyday in you from you. You deserve it! No one can make you feel anything. You are in control of your thoughts! :-)

If you see someone looking at you in a funny way....smile at them and say Hi or wave. They're only doing it because of their own self image. Smile and remember....humans are nuts!!!

I'm here for you anytime! Lory

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I can totally relate. I feel the same way. Just go in and do your thing... I'm trying my best to do so too. ;)

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At first I used to worry.. I mean 397lbs on the cross trainer or rowing machine?? And then I just had a light bulb moment and thought ' I actually don't care what anybody else thinks of me' at least I'm in the gym!! A poster above said there are three types of people in the gym and I definitely agree. Some are so preoccupied that they don't notice the world around them.. Once I get going I'm like that.. I don't take any notice of who else is in the gym, and the fat on my thighs wobbles and my butt jiggles and my boobs.. Well what's left of them... My sports bra doesn't seem to do its job.. But I just carry on regardless!! So good luck!! Just be selfish in the process and think of yourself :)

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Everyone above has given such great advice! And, mostly about how people at a gym really are not paying attention to the other people there. Maybe if someone is staring at you...say, "Hey...am I doing this correctly? I will take your free advice!" You may end up with a new friend...if not...well...there are plenty of others! I think the CURVES is a great idea, too, if you have one...just for a few months.

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I agree w/ what most posters above have said... most people at the gym feel the way you do. The other folks at the gym that aren't embarrassed are probably so focused on themselves that they don't notice anyone else. It may be a good idea that you find a personal trainer to help you get into a good routine. Good luck and you're going to do great!

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we've taken steps to improve our life and we should really not give a darn what anyone thinks. I'm very aware of the looks I get when just passing someone walking on the streets. I feel empowered right now and for the first time in my life (other than those dreadful teenage years) I'm putting myself FIRST! I'm tired of the looks and me trying to decide exactly what they are thinking. I don't care what they are thinking anymore because this girl won't be the fat one in the room for much longer :) We CAN do this!!!! {{hugs}}

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Also, call the gym and explain your nervousness:

(1) they can tell you the 'quieter' periods are while you get started and till you are used to being there, -- you might be surprised at their supportiveness... also

(2) ask for a trainer to help teach you the machines. You'll want an appointment and you may need to pay extra (and you sure can tip). Knowledge is POWER.

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I am much heavier and much older than you and besides my huge body i am also struggling with arthritis and basically i needed help from the trainers to even get on and off some of the machines. so when i started off at the gym i naturally felt like you and thought everyone would be laughing at me - they did so in the street after all and their i wasn't dressed in thight-fitting gym clothes ( you see they don't really come out in my size). But i have to tell you that in fact my experience was very different. I have made tons of new friends. People are coming up to me all the time and telling me how much they admire me for having the courage to try so hard. This has motiveted me so much. If i miss practice at least 5 or 6 people will ask me what happened. i feel that if i give up i'll be letting them all down.

But since i suppose not all gyms are like that if you have a few options in your area i would ask them if they can let you go in a couple of times as a "guest" before you enroll. Most gyms do that. That way you will see if the atmosphere is suited to you - if the trainers care and if they have the knowledge to deal with people like us and how the other members behave towards you - before committing to a full year membership.

good luck - let us know how it goes

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I have definitely felt this way! I still have gym phobia but I found that it helps to just make your goal getting to the gym initially. The fact that you were in the parking lot is great. maybe next time make your goal to get through the door and walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes (or less) and then the following time 15 minutes on the bike. Just showing up is half the battle. You will get there!! Just take baby steps initially.

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Been there :( in fact not so long ago I posted about going to a yoga class and feeling comfortable for the first time. I agree with most of the above. My gym has personal training classes so it's 3-5 people with 1 personal trainer showing us how to use the machines and what is best for us. Something like that may be good for you to learn the machines but also to meet other people. You have made a very positive change in your life, the gym is another step in that process. Be proud and as hard as it may be try to remember you are at the gym for yourself and to reach your goals :) You can do it!

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