100 lb. Club - Too embarassed to exercise in public

05-22-2008, 03:27 PM
Do any of you feel the same? I have a gym at work, and on occasion I do get up the courage to go down there. But it's so embarassing! First of all, I don't have cute work-out clothes. Then, I can't figure out how to make it work logistically. I go to work in work clothes. I don't have time to shower after my lunch break (not that I exactly work up a sweat, but I don't want to smell either :dizzy:, that would be bad).

So that's my first problem - not the right clothes. Then of course comes my second problem, which is simply that I am the fattest person in the room! They gym is full of people in their 80's who are fitter than me, going faster and longer than me, and I'm so humiliated :o that I just can't face it. So I don't go.

But I want to go. What should I do?

05-22-2008, 03:31 PM
If you want to go, I say, go. WHen I was a normal weight I went to the gym and there were one or two heavy ladies who came (300ish). The only comments I ever heard were nice ones towards them. "How awesome they are getting healthy" etc. You may inspire people. You may get some nice compliments as you get fitter, too!

05-22-2008, 03:35 PM
I say go. Dig up the confidence and pride yourself on wanting to be more fit. You are all there for the same reason so there should be no reason to be embarassed. Especially if its all people you work with and they know you want to be healthy. And as far as them being in their 80's look at it as that what you want to be able to do when you are 80 and you need to start now.

05-22-2008, 03:36 PM
Here's what's in my head at they gym:

When I see a teeny tiny girl working hard... "Why is she even here? She makes me sick!"
When I see a big girl working hard... "Right on sister! Keep it up!"

Really. I think negative things about the small girls, not the big girls.
And who cares what other people think, anyway. You are doing this for you. You may really like going to the gym when you get past worrying about what others are thinking about you.

05-22-2008, 03:39 PM
I say go!! You are going for you, not anyone else, and seriously, who CARES what anyone else thinks?? I know that I used to be this way then I realized I can't read minds so that worked out GREAT now I never know what they are thinking and I just get my big butt up on my bike and drive through the neighborhood.

GRATS to you for wanting to do this and hang in there each day forward is a day forward!!

Hang in there!


Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

05-22-2008, 03:44 PM
I say go! I still struggle from time to time--espcially walking into the free weight room which is almost always full of 'muscle guys'--rarely women and certainly no one as overweight as me. BUT, as my younger brother pointed out--they are too busy looking at themselves in the mirrors, they are not looking at me. And, if they are, well....they can watch me get more fit. I don't have 'cute' workout clothes either. When I am struggling w/ my confidence, I just turn up my music and walk right in.

mrs dorson
05-22-2008, 03:49 PM
i say DO IT! i actually asked at work for a shift accomodation (which if we have a realignment i might lose) so i can have a 90 min lunch. so i can shower and grab a bite after. i was really resistant to doing it. embarrassed and so sure i would fall off treadmill and bump my head and have to have ambulance called. i have a very active imagination!

but i pinky swore with my husband (whole other story) that i would. my workout room is much smaller than a big gym but there are other people in there at times. some bigger than me but most smaller. i do feel very envious and sometimes that i will never get there. but i keep going.
and you know what? the skinniest girl that i thought was a snot? she is shy. and she helped me with the elliptical yesterday and she cheered me on.

so you never know.
and if somebody thinks i am too fat to be there?

screw them!

maybe they are too socially impaired to be allowed to mix with others!


05-22-2008, 03:53 PM
I'm a social worker who has a lot of experience working with folks who smell. It isn't likely that you will! The real key is clean clothes to begin with. Clothes that are dirty start to smell, especially if you add a little sweat. When I was really fit I used to walk to work (about four miles) and work up a sweat. I started "clean" (meaning a shower and clean clothes in the morning) no one ever knew that I had a major workout! (If you are going to the gym it isn't the day to try and get an extra day between washings of an item, particularly a top.)

As far as work/exercise clothes, bring a t-shirt that you can change into. That will take care of the worst area, the underarms and is a minimal "change". A t-shirt can easily be stuffed into a purse.

As far as being embarrassed. You can count me in! What I've discovered though is that nobody else cares, they are busy looking at themselves, not you. They don't know how fast or long you go, and they don't really care. I have exercised in hotel gyms, at spas etc. I'm always the biggest, no one seems to care. Much of what we find embarassing is in our heads.

If it is really a major problem, check out if you can switch your lunch hour, maybe taking it a little later. That way the gym should be emptier.

It isn't easy the first time, but I bet if you go two or three times you will find it is a non-issue.

Good luck, this is hard stuff.


05-22-2008, 03:54 PM
I'm always the sweatiest, most red-faced person in the gym (if not the heaviest anymore) but I take pride in looking like I'm struggling... there is nothing more annoying to me than the army of teeny little girls WEARING MAKE-UP! walking as slowly as possible on the treadmill, gossiping.

Anyway, I understand feeling self-conscious about exercising and moving in public, but I think most people are too wrapped up in their own routine/their own self-consciousness to notice anyone else.

Marathon Mom
05-22-2008, 03:55 PM
It's all good! The hardest part is putting on your shoes and walking through the door! Everyone (big or small) should be applauded for going to the gym.

What's worse? Being overweight and trying to lose weight? or Being overweight and not doing anything about it... I don't think anyone can look down at your for trying! You go girl!!! Be proud of yourself and hold your chin high - you're TRYING!!! That's 1/2 the battle!

(how do you know the small girls weren't once big girls?!?)

05-22-2008, 03:58 PM
Go. Go, go, go, go! You'll be so glad you did. I promise!

I used to be horribly self conscious and hated that I couldn't wear cute, coordinated workout clothes. I was sure everyone was staring at me in my oversized tshirts as I huffed and puffed my way through a workout.

You know what .. once I got into the routine, it didn't matter. I go to the gym, put my earphones on, and do my thing.

As far as logistics, can you go after work? I go to the gym right after work every day, and that way I don't have to go anywhere else all sweaty and stuff. I can just go straight home. Although, now I will stop by the groc store or wherever after I workout - I just don't care anymore who sees that I've just come from the gym. In fact I kinda take pride in it!


mrs dorson
05-22-2008, 04:00 PM
sweat? SWEAT? I am sweating in first 10 min of exercise. i hate when it drips in my eyes. but it shows i am doing something. please do go. it is just like anyting; it is only uncomfortable till you get used to it. YOU CAN DO IT!!

05-22-2008, 04:00 PM
first of all, people at the gym are mostly there to get fit themselves, they don't really care about what others look like or what they are doing. and secondly, saying you are to big or out of shape to go to the gym is like saying you are to sick to go the hospital, or to imperfect to go to church. you go to those places because you need help, and that's where people go to get that help. also, i don't have any cute gym clothes either...yet. maybe you can use that for your motivation to go, say "if i go so many times i get a new cute gym outfit."
good luck sweetie...amy

05-22-2008, 04:12 PM
I was pretty self-conscious at first, so I know where you're coming from. But you know what? Every time you go makes it a little easier to go the next time. Once you've gone for a couple weeks, you'll feel like you belong there. So I say go as much as you can starting now, and you'll get over feeling self-conscious in no time.

05-22-2008, 04:13 PM
One of my best friends had a similar feeling/comment about going to the gym. The insight of her then 16 year old son changed her way of feeling instantly. He said something to the effect of..."mom, you should feel proud and excited that you are going to do something good and healthy for yourself, you should never be embarassed to work out, you should be embarassed to go through the drive through at McDonalds or eat a bunch of Doughnuts." Smart kid. I think of their conversation often if I have a twinge of feeling embarassed.
Can you take a quick rinse in the shower instead of a full shower? I wrap my dry hair in a dry towel and rinse quickly in the shower, re-apply deodorant and re-dress.
You could get some simple work out clothes that make you feel like you are ready to work out. They don't have to be "cute". I went to the men's exercise clothes area at Target and picked out some long shorts and a long sleeved shirt. These are made for working out, so they wick away the moisture from your skin. I tried the ladies section, but they didn't have very many large/XL sizes and the men's clothes fit well. Then I ordered online from Champion, again, men's shirts. I found some women's plus size shorts online from Champion.

05-22-2008, 04:19 PM
Don't think negative things about the tiny/small girls, you don't know what they have struggled with in their lives. They may have been bigger and lost weight by working out. They may have other issues to deal with. Ask them how they maintain their lovely figures. Maybe they will have a nice suggestion for a workout that would help you.

05-22-2008, 04:22 PM
Change into a t-shirt before your work-out, then back into your work top after exercising is a great idea someone listed above. You could carry a travel pack of baby wipes and deodorant. Wipe your armpits and anywhere else that you want with the baby wipes, throw away and put fresh deodorant on and then back to your work top.
Also, maybe eat lunch quickly at a normal time and "reserve" the rest of your normal lunch time for the end of your work day and go to the gym then. This is if you can control your time at work.

05-23-2008, 12:13 AM
This a huge thing for me. I'd love to join a gym but its way too intimidating.

There is even a YMCA a 5 minute walk from my place and I don't have the courage to go. I tell myself "lose 100 more pounds and you will go" but I don't even know if that will be the case.

05-23-2008, 12:22 AM
I was always insecure. That coupled with the fact that I have both arms sleeved in tattoos and stick out like a sore thumb, fat or not. I felt this way until I was on the treadmill and this guy was screaming hellfires and damnations...I mean like crazy psychobabble scripture not the enthusiastic word of god. Everyone around me didn't even flinch. Not even the gossips walking .33 mph. I figured eh, my extra 150 lbs of tattoos is nothing. And as a side note, I live in a very densely populated area of rich, skinny gym rats. The gyms here truly are 24/ 7 and busy. I've embraced this :)

05-23-2008, 12:51 AM
As someone else mentioned, can you go after work? I sweat way too much to go at lunch. Even with a shower, I'd still feel horrible.

I work at a med school & work out at the on campus gym. I change clothes in my office & head straight to the gym after work. There are always tiny med students chit-chatting while on the treadmill at 2 miles an hr--or they are on their cell phones. But, there are the die-hard body builder types, those that need to lose weight and are huffing & puffing. What I've noticed is that no one really pays attention to what anyone else is doing--okay except for the annoying med students! :D

As far as clothes, I pack a t-shirt and long exercise shorts. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I always wore sweat pants. It was too hot & they were getting way too big to even cinch up. Again, I notice a wide array of exercise clothes. Most who are serious, are in t-shirts & shorts/sweat pants. There are some fashion divas who see this as a social event, but really there aren't just a ton of them (and those are the med students mentioned above).

No one who is there to really work out worries about anyone else's size or how they are dressed. I just put on my headphones & go my merry way.