Overcoming Body Self-Consciousness and Getting Active!

Written by sheryl yvette on 4/28/2012 8:55 AM | COMMENTS (17)

When I started working out, one of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome was, unsurprisingly, mental. It was my extreme self consciousness about my body, my size and just being seen.

I dealt with body insecurity on a daily basis for years and knew it would be amplified if I wore gym clothes and people would see me in ways I didn't want to be seen - in pants & sneakers (things I never wore), moving, shaking, and sweating in an uncoordinated fashion.

The thought of it terrified me. I was sure I'd be subject to ridicule and judgement while working out. But I forced myself to put those thoughts out of my head and join a gym despite those fears. It was one of the hardest things I ever did, but looking back I’m thankful I did it because my life has changed dramatically as a result of getting active.

And now I know that all of my initial fears were unwarranted. This is what I learned:

1) Other people aren't paying attention to you nearly as much as you imagine. As a regular gym goer, I spend most, if not all of my time thinking about myself - my workout, my form, how I can challenge myself. Even when people are within view, I rarely pay attention to them. I'm zoned out in my own world.

2) Despite what I used to believe, working out/gyms/events/activities are NOT just for people who are already in shape! To see this for yourself, go to a gym, or watch an event like a local walk, bike tour or marathon. You may be surprised to see people of all ages, shapes and sizes. It's not only the elite athletes out there, it's real people just like you!

3) We're all there for the same reason. We share a common goal: doing something healthy for our bodies and our minds and even having a good time! Therefore, there’s a level of teamwork and support that may surprise you - even among total strangers.

If you're still too self conscious or scared to visit a gym, take a class or sign up for an event, just know this: Everyone was scared before they did it. Everyone feared being judged for their size, appearance or lack of experience. Yes, even me. But we did it anyway. And we couldn't be where we are now if we hadn't.

So don't let the fear of being judged hold you back from a healthier, happier life. That fear is in your head. It’s not real. We tend to judge ourselves much more harshly than anyone else. (And if anyone did judge us that harshly, is that really someone whose opinion would even matter?)

Tell yourself that you're good enough to do it and you deserve to be there with all of those other people. Because you are and you do. And know this - all of the people you feared would judge you are actually cheering you on. And I'll be cheering for you too.

(photo is from an event on 4/15/12- a Bike & Run in Prospect Park, where I got a medal just for finishing. Even though I was almost in last place! All that matters is I did it. And I had a lot of fun too!)

Categories: Fitness


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  • Post Image solemsister68 (holly)

    5/14/2012 11:50 AM
    That's right! What matters is doing it and finishing .. getting motivated and doing something about it. Anyone who crosses a finish line is a winner...and you certainly are!!!


  • Post Image duabadi (diana)

    5/11/2012 8:05 AM
    I am going to read this one over and over. This describes me! Thanks for sharing. =)


  • Post Image irana5kat53 (jan)

    5/7/2012 3:25 PM
    The lipstick is adorable!


  • Post Image rachaelmarie12 (rachael)

    5/4/2012 5:17 PM
    I'm so happy to hear I'm not the only one that thinks this way. I started going to the gym a few times a week but each time it's stressful because I'm so nervous and feeling ultra self conscience.I know I'm making a positive change and I just have to realize the three things you just mentioned. It's a working progress but I'll get there.


  • Post Image isafjordur

    5/3/2012 12:09 AM
    THanks so much for the motivational words. You really have some great ideas and very logical ones to share with us.


  • Post Image leomarzie

    5/2/2012 6:52 PM
    I think it's great that yo go to the gym. I personally paid for a membership for years and never had the time to go. I do however..push play everyday and workout for an hour in my home. My granddaughter can run around and I don't have to worry about going late in the evening when I don't feel like working out...mornings for me..earlier the better..lol!


  • Post Image bethlakshmi

    5/2/2012 9:11 AM
    Great Point! And it applies even when you are in shape! Many of my best workouts come when I go do something new - and I look goofy and uncoordinated, cause it's new. But it helps and I learn alot - so it's worth it! And commentary is always helpful - how to improve my form, thanks for coming, great try - that sort of thing.


  • Post Image ldianis

    5/2/2012 3:12 AM
    Your blog is an amazing asset to the weight watchers online community, thank you for sharing such thoughtful and seriously useful posts. rock on


  • Post Image barl1115 (bonnie)

    4/30/2012 12:08 PM
    What you said is so true. Some years ago I did a half marathon and came in dead last. I'm overweight but I never stopped running and I finished. And I won a massage as a boobly prize which I sorely needed (pun intended)


  • Post Image ally51

    4/29/2012 8:33 PM
    You are so right! I once read a quote that said, "everyone in the gym had to start somewhere" and it's so true! Getting there is the hard part. I would also recommend youtube videos for people who are afraid to try gym equipment for the first time. There are some great videos on how to use each of the machines that make them less intimidating when you get there. Thanks for reminding me that nobody's looking at me :)


  • Post Image frozenragdoll911 (amy)

    4/28/2012 3:57 PM
    Great blog Sheryl!


  • Post Image elisa_in_belton

    4/28/2012 12:19 PM
    Great post! I've been thinking of beginning to jog as I walk the dog, but admit, I'm terrified of being judged. I know I could do it, but I"m embarrassed. Ack! Makes me feel loads better that others experience it too.


  • Post Image trooworld

    4/28/2012 11:02 AM
    This is such a great post, thank you. Sometimes I feel self conscious at the gym.


  • Post Image austinjames02

    4/28/2012 10:19 AM
    excellent blog and oh so true !!!! Doing first 5 K walk tomorrow !


  • Post Image zinegrrl (cindy)

    4/28/2012 10:12 AM
    ...helps me psych myself up for it. and I always tell myself: I'm out here doing the work. That is a lot more than many people are doing, so I should certainly be proud of that. We all should!


  • Post Image zinegrrl (cindy)

    4/28/2012 10:11 AM
    I totally agree with this. It is a scary thing at first, but as a person continues to go to the gym, attend events, go to classes...it becomes easier. On days where I am feeling more self conscious than normal, I focus on the idea that this is MY body and I choose what I do with it. It's not owned by anyone else in the gym, so they can stuff it if they have a problem with me. (lol) as you note, many people are supportive (I found that out when doing my first 5K at the end of March) but it


  • Post Image ladylulu77 (lourdes)

    4/28/2012 9:36 AM
    Good Luck Have a beautiful day!!!




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