self-esteem & emotional problems

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feeling insecure in the gym

Postby john 157 on Mon Jan 05, 2015 4:10 pm

I want to lose some weight but feel insecure and self conscious in the gym at my current weight. Which diets/exercises are best for quick weight loss. I am hoping if I can lose some weight first, I may then have a bit more confidence to I exercise in public on a regular basis?

Thanks, John
john 157
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Re: feeling insecure in the gym

Postby Gary Turner on Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:32 pm

Hi John, you are not alone. Lots of people feel the same - I know, I work with these clients often.

Firstly, exercise has amazing health benefits, yet, unless you are being really (really!!) clever, is not an effective strategy for weight loss on its own. Use exercise instead to maintain lean tissue mass (such as muscles) whilst getting stronger, fitter, and healthier - maybe even more 'robust' for life.

Getting physical exercise/activity has massive psychological benefits too, which will help get your mind in the right place...

Confidence is just the act of doing. Get in the gym. Anyone who trains will have respect for others that train. Even the most 'perfect' physique can have fault found in it.

Here's a change in mindset for you to think of - its OK to be happy with where you are whilst striving to be better. That thought alone will free you up...

As for which exercise to do? IF, and it was a big IF, I was going to recommend an exercise to someone for weight loss it would be brisk walking.

As for diet, every approach needs to be tailored to the individual. I would suggest eating whole foods from natural sources properly prepared, eating only when hungry, and drinking only when thirsty. These may be massive changes for you straight away, requiring behavioural and belief changes, yet, as a generalisation these will have the best health benefits for you.

What do you think?
Gary Turner
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Re: feeling insecure in the gym

Postby beat Charity on Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:01 pm

Hi John,

Firstly it is great to hear that you have started exercising!

I am sorry to hear you are struggling with your confidence. Beat recognises the importance of peer support which is why the groups we have been running for over 25 years are so successful. I wanted to ask if you have people you can go to the gym with for some support? It is vital to feel you are supported and have somebody that can help to motivate you.
Beat have online groups and face to face support groups which may help you to overcome your worries about facing the gym at your current weight. Here people share their experiences and techniques of overcoming anxiety such as yours and also set personal goals related to their emotional health on a monthly basis.

For more information please email

We look forward to hearing from you soon,

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Re: feeling insecure in the gym

Postby john 157 on Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:01 pm

Thank you for all the advice, it has been helpful in thinking what may be useful. I will try finding some someone that I can do some brisk walking with as a start. I think that will be a good option to losing some weight hopefully whilst not being as daunting as going to the gym.

I will also try the dietary changes.

Thank you for your swift response and support.

john 157
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Re: feeling insecure in the gym

Postby Adam Eason on Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:42 am

Hello John,

In addition to that which has been written by others here....

john 157 wrote:I want to lose some weight but feel insecure and self conscious in the gym at my current weight.

Firstly, this is very common. The irony being that a gym is supposed to be a place that people can go to achieve health, not get healthy in order to attend in the first place! Many people do find a gym makes them feel insecure.

WHen people are or believe themselves to be overweight, they start to engage in numerous 'thinking errors' that detrimentally effect behaviour. A couple of examples:

1. Mind-reading: Going to the gym and you 'just know' that the couple stood at the water cooler giggling are talking about you.

2. Catastrophising: Believing that things are far worse than they are - "Oh no, everyone here thinks I'm overweight and lazy, they all must hate me."

3. Generalisations: Believing that all the slimmer, fitter people in a gym have poor or low opinions of those who are overweight in the slightest.

Therefore, when you make it to the gym, start to dispute those kinds of thoughts, get into the habit of seeking evidence and being logical about those kinds of thoughts: Where is the evidence that those two people are really talking about me? Is it really logical that everyone in the gym is thinking bad things about me? (even the guys watching the telly, reading books, sweating on the cross trainer? Those who have not even seen I'm here yet?)

Websites such as have free handouts and lists of typical thinking errors that you can use to help highlight them if you catch yourself thinking that way. You can then focus on your own workout rather than being distracted with such thoughts that serve only to make you feel insecure.

Please note, most people are much busier focusing on their workouts and getting on with their own lives to really be that concerned about who you are, and what you are doing. The reality is that very few are likely to be focusing on you for longer than a few seconds when you pass through their direct line of vision. WHat's more, those that do consider you, are just as likely to be praising you and respecting you for getting yourself into the gym, than they are thinking anything detrimental.

I would also like to add; their is a big wide world out there. The outdoors can be your gym. Walking, running, cycling, swimming, gardening, taking the stairs and much more besides can all be done without going to a gym.

I wish you the best moving forward with your weight reduction goals. :D
Adam Eason
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