Dear Overweight Girl At The Gym…

47 Comments

Hi Overweight Girl,

I saw you glancing around when you first walked about seeing all the athletic people running their little hearts out on the treadmill. Your eyes gave you away instantly. You were wondering if you really deserved to be there or not. In a second, you had a quick argument with yourself on whether or not you should go over to that empty bike and I could see you quietly thank the lord that the bike was sort of off to the side. Less people who will be staring and judging. You fumble with your iPhone as you try to adjust the seat; your heart beat rising from pure nervousness, but you figure it all out in less time than you probably think you did. No it did not take you fifteen minutes to get accumulated and no one around you is laughing. Everyone is focused on their own goals and desires. Everyone there has a different reason, and hardly anyone decides to go to the gym just to judge other people.

Eventually you find your rhythm. I can tell you are really pushing yourself, upping the resistance, trying to go faster when you are at a lower resistance. You are working it, girl! I can tell this is somewhat painful for you. Even though you are trying to get into your music and tune out the world, I can see you glance at the girls working it on the treadmill. I have no idea why the gym is set up so the treadmills are in the front and wherever you work out, you have to watch people’s asses. I have no idea. But I know you are comparing your fabby ass to their muscular round ones. I know you are thinking “I will never look at that,” and your rhythm starts faltering a little bit. I wanted to scream out to you “don’t compare yourself! You have no idea how long they have been working out and exercising like that! You’re just at the beginning of your fitness journey. It’s going to be a long and painful road but you are going to feel so much better for making these steps today.”

And to my surprise, you kept at it. Even as the sweat poured down your face and you gripped the handlebars with all you had left, you managed to stay on the bikes for 25 minutes. Go you!

But you didn’t stop there. You cleaned up the station and jumped on another machine. A machine that is kind of a cross between a stair master and an elliptical. Weird but very effective. You programmed the machine for one of the weight loss programs and dedicated another 33 minutes of your time to working your ass off, and at the moment, you looked just like any other athlete there. Sure you were not wearing the skin tight exercising clothing that everyone else there was sporting, but at that moment, it did not matter. Because just like everyone else there, you were determined to reach a goal. You were doing this for you and it did not matter what anyone else think.

When you got off, no one applauded. I am pretty sure no one even glanced your way. There were no judging stares and even if there were, you were at the gym for almost an hour. You dedicated a whole hour to improving your life. I know that made you feel absolutely awesome. I know you were floating on air for sucking it up and getting it done. You know how I know? Because that overweight girl is me.

The gym is definitely intimidating and being surrounded by people that appear to be more athletic and thinner than you can be daunting. It does not matter, though. No one is thinking of you, and if they do think of you, I am sure they are thinking “You rock! Way to change your life.”

Because I know that is what I think.

Even if I am thinking it for myself.

So Dear Overweight Person out there who may be too afraid to invest in the gym, just do it. The gym is there for you. People buy memberships to the gym to better themselves. Not to judge others who come through the door.

So just do it because at the end of working out, you will be shining, you will be proud, and you will know you are worth it.

Sincerely,

The Overweight Kickass Girl At the Gym

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47 thoughts on “Dear Overweight Girl At The Gym…

  1. Pingback: Dear Overweight Girl At The Gym… | Fit In 52

  2. Um…totally made me cry!!! I loved this and I re-posted on wordpress and on facebook. I want the whole world to read it!! Girl, you are freakin’ amazing!! And if you ask me, you may be on a journey, but it’s not toward awesomehood – you already are awesomehood personified!!!!

    P.S. I’ve been there! NEVER give up!

  3. Loved this! You’re right too, people don’t buy gym memberships to judge people. I know when I’ve seen someone who you can tell is just starting out at the gym the only thing I’ve thought is “good for you”. Thanks for sharing this!

  4. Ok, so this totally made me cry. I too am the fat girl at gym, or rather in my “running” group. I have to keep telling myself that everyone is their for their own health and no one cares that I’m the slowest one or that I’m not in shape – they only care that I show up and try.

    • Trust me, if anything, they are thinking how awesome you are for taking life by the reins and kicking your own ass into shape. I think the most negative thoughts we have about someone is about ourselves. ❤ Keep it up! And soon we won't be those overweight girls at the gym! We will be those active healthy girls that future overweight girls look at and go "I will never look like them!" If only they knew!

  5. Great post 🙂 I had similar self-conscious thoughts when I first started going to the gym at the Y… but I soon realised that everyone else was just focussed on their own thing and treated you with the same respect as the super-fit ‘n firm folks who went there daily…

    • Yeah, it took me 3 years to finally work up the courage to go! 3 years. Before that, I would seriously just drive to the parking lot and cry because I saw all these thin and active people walk in and out. I felt like I didn’t belong. But then I realize I could be those active healthy people if I just did it.

  6. This is a great post and I totally understand that feeling that you are being judged! BTW this is random but I wanted to hear what you thought..I heard on the radio in New York that they are starting a new set of gyms specifically for people who are 50 pounds or more overweight..so that they will feel more comfortable and less judged exercising..it said that the windows will be frosted so people can’t look in and the gym would not feature mirrors. I am not sure what I think of that as a plan..would that make people feel more or less self conscious? I am not sure..

    • I can see it being good and bad. I would definitely feel more self conscious when people asked me “Oh what gym you go to?” and you mumble “the one you go to when you are severely overweight.” And I think not having mirrors can also be bad. Even when I had only lost 10 pounds and was still extremely overweight, I could see the difference and it really motivated me to keep going. I think the fact that we can’t be honest with ourselves and look ourselves in the mirror is what keeps us overweight. It’s kind of that mind frame when you know you have eaten bad and are too afraid to face the number on the scale… and you think that just because you don’t weigh yourself… you can stay at that magic number you were before hand. Nut uh. Face the music.

      • I totally agree with all your points..I was thinking about how it would make you perhaps feel even more self conscious rather than make you feel happy or safe. I think the mirrors think is a bad thing because I know I proud when I manage to lose even 1 or 2 pounds!

      • I definitely think it can make you feel more self conscious, but I think it can also make you complacent. As weird as it sounds… if you surround yourself with other overweight people, you may not be as inspired to really work out hard.

      • I like your points Cassy! My initial reaction was no that sounds like a form of segregation and my heart rebels about that because I think it ultimately leads to less understanding rather than more.

      • Yeah, and it is not good if we are segregating ourselves! We worked so hard to obtain equality.. we don’t need to be divided now by our weights.

  7. It’s so frequent that I’ll see someone at the gym who’s new there (I think), and out of shape, and overweight, and you can just see in their faces “I’m never doing this again. Everyone is staring at me. I don’t belong here.” And I always want to give words of encouragement – how impressive it is they’re there, how great it is. I never know how to, though, without sounding condescending, or calling attention to someone’s self-consciousness.

    • The first few times I tried to lose weight (unsuccessfully) was when I had that mindset. I went to the gym once, and was so self-conscious the whole entire time that I was truly convinced that everyone was staring at me. When I finally started losing weight, I still had this mindset and ended up buying my own gym equipment just so I could avoid “the judgement” of others.

      I think, for me, it would be encouraging if someone had come up to me and said “you have really awesome form!” or something along that lines. But even being overweight myself and seeing people who are where I first started, I am still not sure exactly what to say.

      • Maybe I’ll try. I think I’d have to plan ahead, though. I just think how awful it’d be for it to sound like, “Hey, I couldn’t help noticing how out of shape you are. Keep at it, slugger!”

  8. Pingback: Fat Amy | Fit In 52

  9. Reblogged this on The Fotographing Fat Kid (But Not For Long!) and commented:
    “You’re just at the beginning of your fitness journey. It’s going to be a long and painful road but you are going to feel so much better for making these steps today…So Dear Overweight Person out there who may be too afraid to invest in the gym, just do it. The gym is there for you. People buy memberships to the gym to better themselves. Not to judge others who come through the door.”

  10. This is a really great post! You caught the emotions that many of us have felt at one time. I often coach men that are experiencing this and they take it really hard because they think they’re supposed to be genetically predisposed to gym life. I have a tip sheet I give them that’s very similar to your post here. As far as making gym newbies feel comfortable, I’ll just ask them a casual question like what they think of the new equipment or if they’ve tried any of the classes. One time, I asked someone if they’d show me how to do one of the lifts they were trying. (I already knew, I just couldn’t think of another way to strike up a conversation.) It brought a tear to his eye. Now he’s a regular and we always exchange friendly waves.

    • That’s awesome! People definitely need that sort of encouragement, and it really helps when a person knows (or at least feels like) they belong! That was really nice that you did that for that person! You probably changed his life! =D

  11. Pingback: Rainy Monday Brick | Chatter Gets Fit

  12. Pingback: Dear Overweight Girl At The Gym… | Pretty in Pictures!!

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