Self image issues and exercise

I'm hope this doesn't seem to be a stupid question, but I hope that maybe someone can help me .
I have quite a bit of weight to lose ( still about 100 pounds to go) and the only exercise I have been doing is walking.
I would love to start running and have experienced terrible shin splints. So I have gotten new shoes hoping this will help.
I also know that I should be doing some strength training , but I have no idea where to start. A gym membership is out of the question. I am so much on the go that I have very little time.
The thing that surprises me is how disconnected I feel from my body. I tried to do a workout video and trying to do some of the moves felt so strange, so foreign. I don't even know how to describe it. The end of the story was that I just didn't try again. I looked at some Jilian Michales videos and thought maybe the Yoga one would be a good start to strength training, but I keep on wondering if I will ever be able to do something like that.
Can someone who has started at a higher weight tell me how they did it? I am even so self conscious that I don't run in front of others, I only do it when no one else is in sight. The thing is I am usually a pretty confident person, but when it comes to exercise I am at a loss. I always think that other people may think "here comes the fat one and how ridiculous she looks". It's irrational and stupid but I can't seem to shake this off.
So how do I start a strength routine (and which one?) and how will I gain the confidence to just go out and start running?


  • Keep_The_Laughter
    Keep_The_Laughter Posts: 183 Member
    Joining to follow the conversation.
  • melaniecheeks
    melaniecheeks Posts: 6,506 Member
    Honestly? It's your food consumption that will help you lose weight.

    Excercise is great, and will make you fitter and healthier, but it's not how you lose weight.

    But in terms of beginning strength training, Jillian Micahels 30 Day Shred is a well tried and tested programme. You do it in the privacy of your own home, so other peoples' opinions aren't an issue.
  • delicious_cocktail
    delicious_cocktail Posts: 5,807 Member
    This is not unique to you, or even unique to people with a lot of weight to lose.
    It goes away when you gain confidence. It will not go away until you do.

    Remember that it's all in your head. At 40 pounds down, you are already an incredible success.
  • alienrite
    alienrite Posts: 366 Member
    Just keep doing what is working...walking with occasional jog intervals is perfect. Body change is slow and gradual. As you continue, you'll find a focused connection between your mind and body. Rushing will likely only lead to disappointment. We're all built to connect with our bodies so just be patient and enjoy doing what you can do now. Regardless of where we are at in the process, we all feel inadequate and disconnected and pushing forward. I've accepted it as part of a healthy life
  • chezjuan
    chezjuan Posts: 747 Member
    When I started exercising, I was definitely self conscious about it. I did most of my working out at home, but would try to do it when nobody was home. But then I realized that I am doing this for my health, not for other people, and I was able to come to a point where I also figured out that other people really don't care. I've since joined a gym and go about my routine without even wondering what other people are thinking.

    It did take a bit to get to this point, though. Just keep at it and remind yourself that you are in this for you, not for other people, so even if they do care what you look like while exercising (which they generally don't), it's not their business.

    ETA: It also took me a bit to get used to many of the exercises I was using in my program. But I kept at it, doing them as best as I could, and it started getting easier and feeling more normal. If I couldn't do something, I would either try to find a modified version, or would skip it until the next time it came up, then would try again.
  • Cranquistador
    Cranquistador Posts: 39,745 Member
    people dont think here comes the fat one.

    they think good for her, look how she is improving herself and DOING something

    If they dont, they arent even worth worrying about in the first place.

    Do you have some dumbbells at home?

    A calorie deficit helps you lose weight, yes....But strength training makes you feel powerful:flowerforyou:

    As far as the gym, i felt insecure.

    I cried in the parking lot.

    I sat in the locker room, and wanted to leave and go home.

    I told myself to just do one thing. And i did.

    and guess what? My fear went away. Every time I went I felt more comfortable, and you will too.

    OH and I started at 40.
  • kaybeau
    kaybeau Posts: 198 Member
    I ren in the dark for a while lamp post to lamp going a definite shade of puce eventually it all figured itself out. Try some home weights first maybe, I don't do any strength training but I am thinking about it. If you have shin splints please make sure they are recovered before venturing on another jog and take some blaring fave tunes to keep up your pace!
  • janer4jc
    janer4jc Posts: 238 Member
    Keep walking and eating fewer calories. As you walk (or occassionally jog) keep in mind that at least one person that sees you is thinking "man I wish I had the nerve to do that" or possibly "well if they can do it, so can I".

    Self confidence comes when we stop focusing on ourselves. Get lost in the activity, or music, or on the next distance you're going after. And I agree with Cranquistador: strength training makes you feel powerful.

    You are awesome.
  • stackhsc
    stackhsc Posts: 439 Member
    i started at 345, probably on the high side of 345. I lost probably 70 lbs or so with no excercise then started walking on a treadmill. It is one with programs so i started doing the easier ones and worked through them. I actually had no plans on ever running outside. I sepnt a little over a year on the treadmill, droped another 40 or so lbs and was completely happy with my excercise plan. Then it happened, it was bound to happen, i was asked if i wanted to go running with a small group of people i barely knew. I was terrified to be honest but i went anyway. by this time i was able to run pretty decent times and distances on the treadmill but i, like you, was worried about how i would do with others, how i would look, if theyd laugh at me etc etc.
    It was great, I run like a sasquatch flailing through the woods at times, i am far from graceful.... i've seen pictures, its not pretty lol. I did ok with keeping up with them, i felt the work out everywhere, probably pushed myself much harder than i should have. they did laugh at me, but i laughed at them too. Id never take it back now. Its not even been a year yet and we typically only meet once a week to run as a group and i wouldnt miss it for the world. The smack talk and teasing is all part of it for us.

    Granted i have only been running outside for 9 months or so and i am far from an expert. That said in my limited experience i have NEVER ever seen another runner malicously laugh at or make fun of another runner. Everyone i have met and run with (gotta be 10 folks on a regular bassis and another 20 or so that i have met) and they are nothing but possitive, supportive and inpirational people. They have offered advice, invited me to join them, encouraged me to keep moving when i didnt feel up to it :) Obviously some more than others but i have made some friendships that i am very happy i have made. Sure there is smack talk and poking fun at times but all of it so far is well intentioned teasing. If you try it and someone makes fun of you (highly highly doubt it will happen) just ignore them, move on :)

    I use to drive past runners and think look at those crazy fools, freezing cold, boiling hot, pissing down rain, now i think damn i wish i was running. Today it snowed and it was awesome :) and when i see another runner who is starting out or not in the best physical shape i dont laugh or make fun of them. I remember when that was me, I think good on them for trying, for making the effort and getting out there.

    Basically i guess what i am saying is screw it, go for it, if it feels good do it. Dont worry about the haters, dont worry about what you look like, just have fun and do what you can. If you have to walk walk, if you get enough reserves back to jog or run then start going again. Start on the treadmill doing intervals to get some confidence if you want, dont kill yourself physically pushing too hard at first. Start simple, walk 3 or 4 minutes run for 30 seconds, repeat until you go the distace you want, slowly decrease the walk times and increase the run times. There are running programs out there too, couch to 5 k is supposed to be great. I never used one, never thought about looking into it i just kinda figured the interval thing i mentioned above would work and went with it..

    Good luck, heads up and remember more folks that see you trying will be inspired by that than will laugh at your efforts.
  • Otterluv
    Otterluv Posts: 9,084 Member
    Honestly? It's your food consumption that will help you lose weight.

    Excercise is great, and will make you fitter and healthier, but it's not how you lose weight.

    While this is technically true, I for one could not eat the low calories I'd need to for weight loss in the long term if I wasn't also exercising. Yes, I said it, part of why I do cardio is for the calories. The yummy, divine calories. I'm a rebel, a loose cannon, a wildwoman. RAWR!

    I started running and lifting when I weighed about 270 or so. The more you do it the easier it gets. Honestly, one of the reasons I ended up trail running is because there weren't many people around to see me. Now I wouldn't think twice about it, but at the time it was a real hurdle. One of the things that I learned is that runners tend not to judge, they are just happy to see other people running, especially new runners. Do start out slow, it'll help avoid shin splints. Also avoid running on concrete if you can, it's rough on your joints.

    I get what you are saying about feeling disconnected from your body. The only real way to get over that is to keep going. It takes time.

    Listen to Cranqs about strength training, too. It's one of my the major things that has made me proud of what my body can do. Plus, it's made my *kitten* look great, and that's always nice. :flowerforyou:
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 32,261 Member
    Walking is a great way to start, don't discount it. You've already lost a lot of weight, so give yourself a high five for that!

    Try focusing on your success, not your perceived faults. Most people are only thinking about themselves, so don't worry about them.

    Any exercise you do will get easier the more you do it, so if you start on the workout DVD, just do what you can and rest when you need to, then do it again day after tomorrow and it will be easier. You'll be surprised how quickly you improve. No one does the whole thing all the way through at first.

    Consistency and repetition over time brings results.
  • I must say you must be in some real pain with your legs… and I guess you must be aware of what not to do…

    Have confidence in what you have achieved so far ( 40 lbs is a great achievement – be proud)

    Have you considered taking up swimming or cycling?

    Don’t be to eager to use exercise to lose the weight, it just adds to the benefits and your body will shift the weight from where it wants to only, with the deficit food intake…
    While you are resting your legs, you can continue to do low impact activities, such as cross-training, cycling or swimming. There are low impact cario exercises out there which I feel you will benefit from, and listen to your body and thoughts to guide you through times when you are in need of a rest…

    Moves will feel foreign, if your body hasn’t learnt the moves/positions… so take your time.. You need to enjoy the journey other wise it becomes a chore…

    People can be really evil in what they say to others, but you need to put that to one side, it’s not easy but has to be done for self gain and character development.. It just takes time and effort.. You can do it because you have come this far and your willing to open out to every one here on MFP…

    Take care…
  • enidite
    enidite Posts: 93 Member
    Thank you so much . I appreciate your responses and encouragement. I am so glad that I am not the only one with these issues.
    Yes, the weight loss comes from the eating, and it has been going well, but I really want to be all around healthy and therefore I think the strength training will have to become part of my exercise routine too . I live at a lake, so sometimes when I have a little time I start running a little with my dog by my side (she is always ready for a walk my constant companion on my walks here) when no one is around (it is NOT pretty believe me), but you are right I need to learn to get over this fear.
  • jayliospecky
    jayliospecky Posts: 25,023 Member
    I think walking is highly underrated. If you're getting your heart rate up, and you enjoy it, keep doing it!

    If you WANT to run, however, you should. I have many friends who run, and they come in all shapes and sizes. I have one friend (I forget her weight because frankly, I don't think about it, but she might be 230? Not sure) who runs in races all the time and has done a half-marathon as well. Of course, like others have already said, you would have to take it slow to get started.

    Confidence is a big issue for me as well; I HATE doing any kind of physical activity in front of people. I used to do videos in my home, treadmill, etc. just to avoid going out. And my husband had a weight set when we got married so once I decided to start lifting it was right there for me.

    The more you exercise, though, the more you build your confidence. And I think it is a helpful reminder to think about what your body can DO, versus just what it looks like (which can be a trap for those of us working on weight loss.) While I still work out mostly at home due to convenience, I'm not nearly as self-conscious when I AM exercising in public; I have even gone running in the city when visiting family for a weekend. And I can work out in a hotel gym without constantly thinking about what everyone must be thinking.

    The head games are a big part of weight loss. You may have to talk yourself out of worrying about what others are thinking on a regular basis. But it's worth it. You are worth it. :flowerforyou:

  • You are awesome.

  • meshashesha2012
    meshashesha2012 Posts: 8,344 Member
    until your shins and lower legs get accustomed to the stress of running, i suggest something like these calf compression sleeves

    you can also try running in a pool . that way you get to run but none of the impact

    congrats on your weight loss so far and like others have said, walking is also a really good exercise
  • CompressedCarbon
    CompressedCarbon Posts: 353 Member
    I run like a sasquatch flailing through the woods at times, i am far from graceful.... i've seen pictures, its not pretty

    This may be the most accurate description of me moving that I've ever read. And because I turn a lovely shade of red/purple when I exert myself at all, it just adds to the overall attractiveness I don't feel when I'm at the gym. But here's the great thing. With earbuds in and my music playing, it's like there is a screen or one way mirror between me and everyone else in the gym. And it's awesome. And I no longer care that my face is lit up like a stop light. Because I'm there doing my thing and everyone else is ignoring me (listening to their own beast music) and doing their thing. And it's all good.

    But when I'm not in the mood to jockey for stuff at the gym, there's always the outside. I can wog (part walking, part jogging/running) for as long as I like and no one is watching or caring.

    As others have said, you've already lost 40 pounds. That is fantastic! You should be celebrating that! You don't need to be perfect today, just be better today than you were yesterday. That's all you need.

    I think you should save your post because I think in a year, you'll be posting in the Success section of the forums, telling us all how far you've come and how much stronger you feel and how proud of yourself that you are. Because you are.
  • I'm a realist, so I'm going to level with you here- especially because you basically just summed up EXACTLY how I feel about the prospect of joining a gym. :)

    I've been jogging 5 or 6 days a week for 6 weeks now, and I absolutely love it. I cannot confine myself to a treadmill because I get dizzy on them. I love being outdoors for my jogs. That being said, I've also had the "Oh hell, what am I going to do when some fit person looks at me and thinks I'm ridiculous" fear. Every day when I went out for my jog, I would get out of my car, stretch a bit, seriously consider getting back in the car and going home, but then go to the trail and start anyway.

    Most days, people only pay you the same amount of attention you pay them. If you give a brief wave as you pass, they usually will, too.

    Then, one day, in week two, it happened. I was jogging and I saw a really fit couple jogging toward me and didn't think much of it because everyone had been so friendly up to that point. But when they got fairly close, I saw the husband look me up and down, turn to his wife and mutter something, and she let out a loud "HA," looked at me, and then playfully smacked her husband's arm.

    I knew that man said something hurtful about me and that his wife had thought it was humorous. At first, I was pissed. I considered turning around and going on a cursing rant, but I realized that no amount of cursing or anything at all from me could undo whatever made those people into a-holes. You'll do well to remember that also. The WORST case scenario is that what happened to me that day could happen to you. Sure, I was hurt right when it happened. It was ten minutes into my jog and I usually go for an hour or so. But by the time I finished my jog, my body was tired in the best way and I was proud of the work I had done. And I just decided I didn't really care what that man had said. And you can't care what people say either, if they say anything at all. They may pity you and I because we're not in the shape they're in, but at least we can lay our heads down at night knowing we're good people who wouldn't judge or mock someone who was doing hard work to take care of their body.

    I wish you the best of luck and remember, you have to be the one to do what's best for you- it's not anyone else's job! <3
  • kelly_e_montana
    kelly_e_montana Posts: 1,999 Member
    I've been 235 and I've always felt "safer" at the gym because I know people are primarily there to work out. It must be something about my town. People randomly yell stuff at me while I'm running, whether I'm bigger or littler. And since it's only about 35,000 people, everyone is always like "Hey were you running yesterday?" or they pull over and try to chat with me while I am working out. I love the gym, my pole fitness studio, my yoga studio and CrossFit. I love fitness and enjoy trying different things. But, overall I always feel more comfortable working out in a fitness environment than in the streets of my town.