There was a new girl upstairs on the treadmill at my gym the other day. I love seeing people who are new to working out, and she was overweight so may not have been working out much lately, so I gave her an encouraging smile. She quickly looked away, and seemed embarrassed so I just went about my workout but it made me think. It made me think how brave some people are just to even come to a gym and that she was probably embarrassed because she just wanted to be invisible, lest she be judged harshly for her size. I have myself at times been quite a bit heavier and at other times quite a bit skinnier, and there are still many days when it takes a lot of self-talk for me to overcome my fear of judgement and get myself in there when I am having a bad ‘fat’ day. I’m sure it seems silly and ridiculous to some, that the possible thoughts of strangers could stop you doing something that makes you happy and healthy, but it is a real obstacle for many.
Do you judge people in your gym? Do you feel yourself to be judged when you train? Does it stop you doing something positive for yourself?
I think mostly people are good hearted and would send others positive, encouraging vibes if they knew the struggles being faced. I’m quite sure that everyone at my gym (and most gyms) would help if ever they were asked for advice or a spot, and if people are looking at others it is usually not because they are judging us harshly but because they are interested in something we are doing or like something we are wearing! This is what I say to myself anyway if I am having an emotional day! Sometimes it helps to just put your headphones on and zone in to your own little bubble, where it’s just you and the weights, your own space, your own ‘me’ time, where you can work out any frustrations from the day.
Here are some words/mantras/thoughts that hopefully might help people who are putting off getting healthy for this reason:
Everyone was a beginner once!
I may be slow, but I’m still lapping everyone on the couch!
Every day I am getting stronger, not just in body but in mind.
If I give up now, everything I have done so far will be wasted.
No-one is looking at me, except with interest and a view to helping me if I need it.
The beginning is always the hardest.
Just keep going!
I’m sick of starting over, so this time I just won’t quit.
If, on the very rare chance, someone is rude or judgmental, remember that it has everything to do with them, and nothing whatsoever to do with you. Maybe they have low self esteem and the only way they can feel better about themselves is to put others down, maybe they are overcoming terrible home circumstances, are in pain emotionally or physically, or maybe they are just total wankers! In any case, feel sorry for them briefly rather than letting them impinge for long on your thoughts, then don’t waste a second more of your precious time. You are on your own journey to your best self, you are doing the best you can with what you have, and what you can achieve will astound you.
If in the end you really can’t face a gym atmosphere, then please don’t let that stop you from exercising! There are plenty of other choices for moving and having fun in a way that suits you! One life, one day at a time. Seize every day and make something lovely out of it. Your happiness depends mostly on your attitude. I’m sending virtual hugs and support to all that need them! And if you are that overweight (for now!) person in the gym then I salute you and hope you realise that you are no doubt inspiring more people than you know. xxx