Working Out In Public

“Dear Skinny Girls,

The possibility of you judging me in public is making me an exercise hermit.  Please be nice or at least keep all comments to yourself when I leave my solitary existence.

Sincerely Yours,
Lisa Marie”

I did something late last week that I’ve been putting off since starting Weight Watchers – exercise in public.  No doubt a holdover from the cliquish and kill-or-be-killed days of high school, I found every excuse in the book to avoid allowing other people to look at my massive form as I jiggle off the pounds (literally).

It’s rather egocentric of me, really.  I’ve always just assumed that all eyes are automatically drawn to “the fat girl”.  Even more scary than the looks I might get while shaking my stuff is that I can’t possibly know what the person staring me down is thinking.  Are they making mental derogatory remarks?  Comparing me to various larger members of the animal kingdom?  Feeling better about themselves by comparing themselves to me?  The unknown is definitely more terrifying than the observable.

So last Thursday I cautiously entered the local exercise facility with a member of the club, literally and figuratively – my very athletic (and non-judgemental) roommate Rachael. 

I sweated, and yes, even jiggled on the bike.  I cranked up the intensity as I went on, hell-bent on proving to all the exercise junkies that I could workout just as hard as they could. 

In this particular facility, exercise machines are set up around a track.  People walking or jogging did look at me as they walked past.  Even as they did, I looked back, almost a dare to say something, give me a look, twitch an eyebrow, or look away.  I almost fell off my bike as I realized – I didn’t honestly care what they were thinking.

At that moment, all I could think about was that this is my journey.  No one else enters into it.  No one else is going to discourage me or make me stop.  If they want to stare, let them, but each week I’m literally going to shrink before their eyes, and the last laugh is going to be mine.

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14 thoughts on “Working Out In Public

  1. I think you should have added a “mwa ha ha ha…” at the end. 😉

    Good for you. That was a tough thing for me to overcome as well. I still feel self conscious when I get really out of breath while running, and I feel like I have some floppy parts that don’t do so well with hop squats. I’ve decided, however, not to let it stop me. It sounds like you have found that place too. Congratulations! That’s a huge step!

  2. Hey Lisa!

    You should go with me to the track some time. I will attempt to ride the bike with you or something. (key word attempt) I am out of shape and feel sluggish. I could use some encouragement just as much as you could. Let me know. 🙂

  3. I know exactly how you feel about exercising in public. That is why I choose to use WiiFit in the comfort of my own home… I admire what you’re doing – keep it up! 🙂

  4. Whenever I get self-conscious, I just tell myself that for all anybody else knows, I could have weighed twice as much as I do now and I’m just so devoted and hard-working that I’m down to my current weight.

  5. Christy, that’s a great way of looking at it – I’m going to try to keep that in mind the next time I head to the gym.

  6. (found your blog through the WW boards)

    It is comforting to read someone else feel as I do. I recently joined boot camp at my school’s gym and I had SO much anxiety about being in the gym in public.

    Thank you for putting this into words!

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