The Gym and Overweight People

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On a Health & Fitness bulletin board I frequent, someone asked an interesting question…what do you think when you see someone who is overweight working out?  Apparently, she is overweight, and when she was riding her bike recently, someone yelled out to her that he felt sorry for her bike.  I find myself absolutely able to put myself in her shoes and imagine how she must have cringed to hear that.  After all, no one likes to be judged, even if it is by a small-minded d-bag like the guy who yelled that at her.

The gym I go to has a pretty varied clientèle.  I see young people and older people, thinner people and bigger people, beginners and veterans of the gym.  I have never felt like I should be embarrassed to be working out there, and I am definitely on the “bigger people” side of the fence.  However, I do take a look around the gym when I am there, and I do notice the people who are there with me.  And when I see someone who is closer to my size, I feel a little relieved not to be the only fat person there.

It’s unfortunate that someone who is taking steps to make herself healthier needs to worry about something like this.  After all, it’s better to be a fat person at the gym or on a bike or in a pool than a fat person sitting at home on her couch and eating bonbons, right?  However, as someone who is overweight, it’s hard not to wonder what people are thinking when they see you sweating on the treadmill.  I hope they are thinking, “Hey, good for her!”

Being overweight often involves a lot of internal dialog.  Often, when you are planning a meal, you are worrying if it’s “too much.”  After you’ve finished a meal, you are worrying if it was too much.  After you have binged on something like ice cream or a bag of chips with dip, you know it was too much, and you hate yourself for it.  And you often find yourself telling yourself that you have already messed up for the day, so you might as well hit all your old favorites up before “starting over” tomorrow.  When you climb on the treadmill at the gym, you wonder what speed others are walking or running at.  You wonder if you look stupid.  And you wonder what other people are thinking about you.

Well, here’s what I think.  Don’t worry about what other people are thinking about you.  I know that I am doing this for me because I know that I am worth this.  I am worthy of feeling healthy and strong and fit.  I am worthy of feeling good in my own skin and of celebrating every pound of fat that I work off this body of mine.  After all, I only get this one body, and it is up to me what I do with it…not that small-minded type of person who is more worried about the bike that she was riding than the woman on it who was striving to do a little something for herself.  I think I am doing a great job…and if someone doesn’t agree with me, he can keep it to himself.

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One response »

  1. I'm ashamed to admit it but at every race I do, I look around for women bigger than me in order to "assume" theres at least one person I can beat. Unfair to everyone, I know. But I can't seem to stop doing it. Ironically, I beat a lot of skinny people too…so I should be looking around for bad runners…but how can you tell that?! 😉

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