How to get over feeling 'too fat' to get to the gym

I don't know about you but, when I was at my highest weight, I was embarrassed to go to the gym. I had XL yoga pants and loose tops that didn't make me look too bad but, still, I was ashamed to step foot inside of the gym and be judged for being the fat girl trying helplessly to get thinner. In fact, even after losing 100 pounds, whenever I put on my sneakers and start the walk toward my gym, my heart starts beating and my inner fat girl comes out in fear. Of course, this is all a catch-22 if we're too fat to go to the gym and too fat because we don't go to the gym. So how do we get over this fear?


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In her piece, "Hello, Fellow Gym-Goers, Look at My Fat Butt", Lindy West writes about her love of exercise and the painful realization that everyone at that gym near her is thinking, "I am here exactly because I don't want to be you." The self-proclaimed "pretty fat" author bravely writes about the different types of people she runs into at the gym, claiming that the worst are the strange women that come up to her and basically congratulate her on trying to become someone other than herself (you know, by working out only to become thin).

In the end, she concludes that she goes to the gym because she wants to and not because she's trying to be someone else. To be honest, it's a little hard for me to identify with her because I definitely go to the gym to become someone else--a thinner, happier, much more fabulous version of myself.

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The thing is, her story makes me wonder: How achievable is this, really? I already like myself and I'm working on improving my body image (one of the shocking life lessons I learned from female porn stars this week). Maybe the better way to think of it is: I'm not too fat to go to the gym because I'm going to the gym not just to lose weight but also to get more energy, better sleep, be stronger, and look leaner. Those are the things that are actually achievable with a gym habit and, hey, they do sound pretty good, don't they? If we focus too much on the "weight loss" part, then we'll never get into our shorts and go for that treadmill run. At least I know that's not exactly working wonders for me. But thinking about going to the gym so that I can have more energy to do the things I love--well, that's definitely helping!

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Topics: weight loss  workout  body image  exercise