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Only fat chick at the gym?

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Old 04-26-2011, 12:21 AM   #1
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Default Only fat chick at the gym?

I joined our local Y today. As I was getting my tour I noticed that (at least in the 5:30, after work crowd) I was the fattest chick there by a good 50lbs. It might be different when I'll be going (mid morning, SAHM city), but I'm a little nervous. I absolutely won't let it deter me, after all if the fat chick isn't supposed to be there, who is?! But, I don't like being looked at askance - it gets my hackles up - and I'm afraid that's going to happen often.

Any advice?
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Old 04-26-2011, 12:31 AM   #2
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Like you said...just keep going. I put my ipod in before entering the gym. I'm not there to socialize but to get my workout in. I was the same way. I never saw anyone as heavy as I was at the start of my journey.

Now I'm thinner than most of the people I see in there. It will shift for you too, but DON'T GIVE UP and let perceptions change this great thing you are doing for yourself. You've done a great job so far. You deserve this!!!
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Old 04-26-2011, 12:35 AM   #3
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The after-work, after-school crowd is definitely more buff than the mid-day crowd at my Y (now that I've finally saved up the membership for it--YAY! ). I take a thrice-weekly yoga class in which I'm about average-sized; it's a mix of men, women, young, old, big, slender, you name it.

I seriously doubt that you'll be the only "fat chick"--and even if you were, chances are extremely good that anyone who sees you is likelier to think, "More power to her!" than "She might wear a double-digit size!" I'm actually surprised at how comfortable I am going to the Y; it's really shown me that everyone's far more into their own head-spaces than they are in mine.

There's more of a commonality of purpose for everyone there than there are differences between us, so I don't think about being "the fat chick" or "the chick with glasses" or whatever it is that might otherwise concern me.

If I do feel at all self-conscious--which happens sometimes even though no one else makes me feel that way--I bury my nose in a book or look into the middle distance and daydream.

Congratulations on joining the Y! I think they are AWESOME and putting aside money to join was the best decision my husband and I have made since we quit smoking. I even bought a bathing suit--first one in fourteen years.
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Old 04-26-2011, 12:44 AM   #4
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I find our Y a far less intimidating crowd than any of the big chain gyms.
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:05 AM   #5
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I am one of the fattest chicks at my gym, but I lift heavier than most of the skinny chicks!
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:12 AM   #6
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Console yourself in the knowledge that it won't be too long when you realize that they are all looking askance at you because they want to BE you (or they just want you ). Let that be a motivator.
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:17 AM   #7
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I am the only chick who sweats at my gym. I have been going since January to this gym and I have never not one single time seen another female really sweating.

I did a intense cardio set at the gym as I do my weight training somewhere else. I leave with wet hair and wet clothes and a soaked towel too. Usually the females are on the phone while doing the elliptical or reading a book on the treadmill.

I think it was the time of day you were there too. But don't let any of it stop you get in there and get your workout on. I honestly go to the gym to destress and zone out, Just me and my ipod.

I wanted to add. I avoid the mid afternoons at my gym as it seems to be mostly elderly people. One time I made the mistake of going and they took up residence on the bike and treadmills and went at a snails pace and chatted across the gym. I tried not to get annoyed as they have their rights but it was really slowing me down waiting for the machines to free up . Ahhhh gym drama, LOL!
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:19 AM   #8
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I'm the only fat chick in my Pilates class. At first, I felt really super self-conscious. But with time, I advanced and am just as capable in class as nearly everyone. I've become quite friendly with many of my classmates, and if I don't go, they miss me! (I'm also the comic relief in the class.) I'm friends with a few of them on Facebook, one of whom is an Olympic hopeful in swimming.

But I live in a small town. When I went to a big gym in Manhattan Beach, I was the biggest woman in the whole place. I was also the least blond and had the smallest boobs! I worked with a personal trainer. He was super encouraging, and we trained out on the floor in front of everyone. I think I was so intent on not falling over or grunting too loudly to notice if anyone was watching me.

Before all of that, I was living in Indonesia. I felt like I was the biggest woman in the whole country there. The Indonesians were lovely people, but they often stopped in their tracks and stared, pointed at me, laughed and said things outloud like, "Wah! You so big!" I was really super self-conscious about going in to town. After about a year of this behavior, someone explained to me that the Indonesians did this sort of thing about practically everything out of the ordinary, and when they got used to seeing me in town more often, they really only wanted to talk to me and practice their English on me. After that, I loosened up quite a bit about it all. After four years of living with it, I started thinking of myself as a rock star celebrity.

So when I eventually came back to the US, and not nearly as many people looked at me twice, I started missing the attention. Go figure!

When I really just want to blend in with the crowd, I go to Walmart. I am NOT the largest woman there! Maybe the tallest, but not the fattest.
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:25 AM   #9
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Every one here is right....

Don't worry, it may seem like they're all staring, but really, the muscle heads are all trying to show off, and everyone else are really just worried about themselves. Keep up the good work!!!
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:52 AM   #10
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Hey Gale,

I am in a similar boat as I am trying to desensitise myself from feeling self-conscious at the gym too these days. Some ideas that made me feel a bit better about it:

Observe other aerobic classes, or people filing in and out of other classes while waiting for mine to start. I mean if you take a look, there are so many different shapes and sizes, it is quite amazing! And they all come here to exercise. I may be the fattest chick I have seen there but certainly not the only overweight one, neither the tallest, neither the most ugly, neither the most sweaty and neither the slowest learner in my dance aerobic class. Realising that made me feel much less like an outlander.

I also noticed that I feel far more comfortable in aerobic or pilates classes than in the weight and carido rooms so I try to focus on getting my exercise in those ways but I really think that just going there regularly is the only true way out of feeling out-of-place. Habits are comfortable. Period.

My expectations were far worse than reality in terms of how people treated me, i.e. normal. I even had one of the buff trainers come up and talk to me after one class to see how I liked it and to encourage me to come again, go figure. Other times people being friendly in aerobic class or at the reception desk. Not über-friendly, just normal and it is a very nice feeling!

I also keep thinking, if I felt very strongly about being fit and exercising and saw someone new making and effort, I would probably have a very positive and encouraging attitude towards them for making what I considered to be a valuable change to their lives, so why should the people at the gym feel differently?

And honesty, every woman who is thinner than you should like you a lot for being able to make that comparison in her head and applauding herself afterwards.

Make it a habit and enjoy the health benefits and social aspects of it too. Life is too short and can be too much fun to do otherwise.
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:00 AM   #11
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When I'm working out I'm concentrating on myself way too much to think about how people look. One of the blessings for me about getting older is I no longer care if people are looking at me anyway. I also get drenched in sweat, but I think that means it's working!
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:53 AM   #12
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Hi Gale!

It's so funny- I recently mentioned something about being the only chick (fat or otherwise) in the weight room in a post. I said that I felt that I definitly attracted notice as the only fat chick in the weight room but your post made me reevaluate that. I don't know that I attracted any extra notice. Did the boys (I will insist on thinking of men as "boys) look at me? Sure, but only when I was in their line of vision. There may have been some confusion maybe in their expression but no judgement or disapproval.

You said that you don't like to be looked at askanse and that you are afraid it will happen often...but did it during the tour? Did more than one person look at you that way? If not I don't think its particularly likely that its going to.

Just to illustrate the other side though- here is a list of people I judge at the gym
- people who don't wipe down the machines
- men who grunt loudly while lifting a not impressive amount of weight
- people who match their tennis shoes exactly to their gym shorts ie the exact shade of neon green for both
- people who talk on the cell on the cardio equiptment
-people who watch the food channel while working out

Do I look askance at any of them? Not intentionally. I would feel impolite. If people do judge you for being overweight they probably restrain themselves from an outward expression of it.
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:23 AM   #13
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I've always found the Y to be more friendly than most gyms. Plus, you won't be the biggest one there for long! Hold you head up high, girlfriend.
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:46 AM   #14
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Ipod will be your best friend, wear baggy clothing and just listen and zone into your music to do your own thing! You might think you are the only "fat" chick there but once you dropped the weight and reach your goal you'll be happy you stuck it out!
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:59 AM   #15
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Dh and I are the only remotely overweight people at our gym (in our apt building). We just suck it up and go and ignore everyone there. I've never gotten any weird looks and everyone's been really polite. Besides I'm normally running faster/lifting more than the thinner women there so I figure I must be doing something right.
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