Self-conciousness

I've just completed week 6 of the programme, but now school is back in term, so there are people already in the park when I go for my morning run. I'm finding that I'm starting to struggle again with feeling really self-conscious.

I'm very overweight, and I'm still fighting to recover from severe depression, so I just can't keep those thoughts about how everyone who sees me running is wondering what on earth this fat lass is doing puffing and wobbling about in public. I feel as though every person I pass is laughing at me.

It wouldn't feel so bad if the running was having any appreciable effect on my weight, but that seems to be stuck resolutely in the 'obese' category, despite following a calorie restriction diet at the same time.

I'm loving the running, but I hate feeling like I'm the comedy entertainment for the school run.

16 Replies

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  • I totally get how you feel. I'm a school teacher who lives in catchment and it has taken 5 months before I have the guts to run outside, and one snide comment and I'll be down again. I'm obese and a depressive too,

    To start off with I went on the treadmill at the gym and hid in the corner, then I drove 5 miles to somewhere no one knew me. Now I just go for it with my music loud so I can't hear the insults (I've never heard any, I might not have even ever had any). I just keep thinking "I'm sorting my life out, and your sufficiently cretinous that you think that insulting me or thinking bad of me makes you feel better. You're the fucked up one".

    I thought I would be pelted, and pointed at and mocked. But I have not been. And I'm starting to think it says more of them than me. I can run 5k continuously, bet most of those can't. Once you have a few good times or long distances under your belt you feel like king kong on cocaine and the rest of the world can go fuck themselves, because you have done good,

  • Hi Adzriel! Well done on geting to week 6, and loving your running. :-)

    I started c25k at 6 stone overweight, ran it on my own in my local park (varying times of day due to working shifts) and inevitably met the local just out of school teenagers many times... Surprisingly I never had a bad word said to me, and even got a bit of 'respect' from them when they were out doing cross country in the slush, as they whizzed past me plodding along! :-)

    I would say turn your music up, think positive thoughts to yourself (I have to that even now as I return with a beetroot sweat stained face) and be very proud of your achievements! Most people are far too wrapped up in their own thoughts and world to even notice you, and by the time they do notice you are gone! Put a cheery smile on your face as you pass people (think mine is probably more like a red faced grimace as I puff along!) and nod or say thanks if they move over; most people are happy to smile back!

    Don't worry to much about the scales - I was on weight watchers, and have lost 3 stone 2 lbs so far, but had several weeks at a time of plateaus, but was definitely changing shape as my clothes got looser and people started commenting on it. Have you taken your measurements, as that is a good guide? I swapped to using My Fitness Pal in July as I was having too much 'free' fruit and my losses have been more consistant; and I have linked it to Runkeeper so my 'calories earned' gets transferred automatically.

    Good luck! :-)

  • I'm the same too. Earlier this year I was eating 1500 calories a day, running 30 minutes 3 times a week, swimming, watching every mouthful I ate, I gave up even occasional alcohol and a half a pound a fortnight was coming off. I'm obese too with around 4 stone to lose. I've been heckled, fat smoking male in a big car slowed down to tell me I was wasting my time while his male passengers cheered. At first I was mortified then I thought 'what a delightful specimen of humanity. Bet his mother is so proud'. I also believe to bully people you must be dreadfully insecure. I've seen karma in action too so his car probably wouldn't start the next day lol. I've also had a trendy young marathon runner give me the 'respect fist action' (teenage son has to tell me what it meant ha ha). I do it for me now. At first I did it cos it burns lots of calories, I love to be outside and I used to be good at running 35 years ago (I'm old as well as obese :-) ) but now I do it cos I'm a runner. I love it!

    It's too easy to say 'don't worry about others' but there are many gremlins in this programme we have to overcome and it doesn't take much to get in the way of success. I had to do C25k twice before I graduated.

    Try and think about why you are doing it and how far you've come. Stick to those great reasons. I'm sure you've thought of practical things like varying time of day or location.

    Best of luck with it - I've just got the official photos from my first 5K race and I look dreadful ( to my eyes) but I ran 5K with others runners and while at the back of the field there were more than 30 younger/slimmer people behind me. I had such a great time and buzzed all day :-)

  • I started at 5 stone over 18 months ago, now I'm just out of the the healthy weight range by 1lb. Fortunately my original route didn't have many pedestrians on it :-).

    I was careful with my calories, not strict. I put what I ate and what I ran and what I wanted to lose a week into myfitnesspal, followed it's advice and the weight came off slowly.

    Don't rush, don't fret about it. It'll happen :-)

  • Congratulations on completing week 6 and glad you're enjoying your running :)

    Have a read of your profile again if you are feeling a little downcast, particularly the bit about getting out there.

    You've no reason to be worried and should be really proud of yourself.

    Good luck with week 7 and we will reserve a space for you in the sofa-less graduate lounge :)

  • I started off feeling really self conscious (and overweight and puffing and beetroot faced and with a history of depression - actually I still am all of those things!) so I completely understand how you feel. You are doing something fantastic for you and no-one is going to think badly of you. Before I started running I used to walk a lot and would see people of all sizes and fitness running and thought they were amazing to do so. You are one of those amazing people who is getting out there and improving your fitness and health. My Dad always used to tell us as kids 'do what you want to and as long as you're not harming anyone, don't worry about what people think of you, it's their problem'. My Dad is sadly no longer with us but his words always stick in my mind. Like you, my weight hasn't changed but I have toned up and I definitely feel better, especially my mental health. Lots of people on here have said they haven't lost weight when they started running so please don't get too disheartened. You're three weeks away from graduation, think how far you have come already and hold your head up high when you're out there and be proud of yourself.

  • Hey Adzriel,

    I can only agree with what has been said before. I'm also overweight and I'm a member of the Beetroot Face Club... I haven't lost any weight doing this plan nor have I lost any inch (or: I don't see I have). The reason for this is, in my case, that I still don't eat the right way but if I could finally manage to do so, I'd transform probably soon (I'm trying everyday so one day I will get it).

    Like deekay64, I have just done my first 5k race. I'm still waiting for the official photo but I uploaded one in my last post (Run of Colours: Check!). I'm the chubby and pink faced lady with the number 214 on the right. Unfortunately my face colour doesn't come out good enough because it was a lot pinker than on the photo.

    What I want to say is: I look horrible when I run. I also wondered what people might think about this fat lady "running" in the park. On my route, I have to pass the fully glassed breakfast/dining room of a hotel at least one time so can't only see myself in the reflection of the glass but also have a large audience. At first, I was very self-conscious about this and about being seen in the park but, to be honest, everyone is to occupied with his or her own thoughts to really see you. And if they do, they'll forget about you within seconds. You are just another runner to them. If they really think about you, I'm pretty sure most of them think that you are a (still) overweight person who realized that something has to be done. And if they aren't complete a******, they will respect you for taking the step towards a fitter life. Depending of how large the city is where you live, you'll see most of the people only one time. Some of them will be in the park at the same times as you are. What will they see? They will see a runner who is determined to improve health/fitness etc and they will respect you for this as they have seen you so many times before and see that you are aiming for your goal and don't give up after one or two runs.

    You are at Week 7 now! This really shows your determination! Don't care about those looks (if you really should get some, I never did actually). These people are probably glued to their couches and you are not! You are doing this for yourself! If you are pink and sweaty, you've worked out hard to look like this. Wear your beetroot face with pride (ok, I also had to learn to see it that way).

    I wish you all the best for the last weeks of the program! Enjoy and don't worry too much about what anyone might perhaps be thinking. The only important person is you!

  • Adzriel, you're inspiring. You're actively fighting depression and addressing its side effects (weight gain) which shows amazing strength. See yourself as a role model......that's how I view you after reading your post and profile. X.

  • Hi Adzriel, YOU are a star! :D ... And bigger stars shine soooo much brighter to show us the way!

    I'm one of the older 'heavies' on here. Started back in Feb carrying about 4 stones more than 'expert guides' reckoned I ought to be carrying! But my motivation was not first and foremost to lose the weight, but to get as fit as possible to prepare for retirement. My elderly mum is immobile (double hip and knee replacements which havent worked well) and has always been a heavyweight. My two sisters too are buxom women. So I fully understand that we sometimes have additional family genes and body shapes to cope with too! :(

    I soon learned from this forum that non-running folk outside shouldn't matter one jot - it's all about developing your own self esteem and that comes with help from the amazing people on this forum. In their own personal worlds so many difficulties and fears have been overcome, so they can and do fill your own heart and mind with a real sense of triumph and pride and a 'can-do-anything' attitude. :)

    You are so close to graduation now you should be buzzing with excitement - because, honestly, we're all buzzing for you too!

    Towards my graduation day I started on the 5:2 eating regime. I hadn't lost an ounce from running alone (though I did change shape and lose inches - which was noticed!) Now, some months later I can happily say I've shed a stone and am feeling better than I did years ago. Clearly, I still have a way to go, but my resolve is steady! Still running, still 5:2 ing, and loving, living semi-retired life to the max!

    Hang in there hunnn, looking forward to seeing your smiley graduation blog very soon, take care :D

    Linda X

  • Thank you guys, you've all made me cry now! But in a good way!

    I'm using My fitness pal too, and I'm sticking to it, despite the lack of progress with weight loss. Without the running to keep me motivated I'd have given up tracking my food weeks ago, I know because I've done it before.

    You're all right though, I only have 3 week to go until graduation, and I WILL get there! I just need to remember that the teenagers mocking me now have no idea what the next 20-odd years will bring them. They have every chance of finding themselves in my shoes by then, and if they do, will they have the courage to get off the sofa and run?

    I'm working from home for a couple of weeks due to massive public transport disruption here in Sheffield, so I'm going to use my lunch hour to make some play-lists for my ipod, so I can look forward to running to my own music in 3 weeks! (Is it just me, or is the music in the programme a little disappointing?)

  • If I remember correctly my weight started to come off when I got to the 45 minute mark.

  • Your amazing, you are getting out there and doing the right thing. Most people who look at you running are probably thinking "I wish I could do that", if they have wondered why you are doing it, for any sensible person its obvious, you are improving your life. Just keep at it, it will all get easier and you can hold your head up high just like the rest of us on here, your a runner, it takes a lot of effort for everyone even those not over weight so good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

  • You've had some great comments from other people here, but I couldn't just read and run! You are doing this for yourself, keep that in mind and stick with it. It will pay off in the end, both regarding weight, and as your confidence grows, I hope like me it helps with your wellbeing too. It's so empowering to be able to take control and do something really positve for yourself, no one else, but yourself.

  • Can I add to everyone else's encouragement? I started C25K a year ago having already lost some weight but still fairly big and wobbly. I was definitely very self conscious when I started - especially when I got to my local park for R1 Wk1 and discovered there was a triathlon taking place with a ton of very fit people there!

    If you look through this site you should be able to see that many people (myself included) didn't see much of a weight loss from running. A leaner, more toned body is far more normal. I was rather disappointed (not in the body but in the numbers on the scales) as my weight loss had already slowed a lot and I'd hoped to kick start it by running. I don't know if it's your kind of thing but I did my dieting with Slimming World and really appreciated the encouragement and camaraderie there. Overall I lost 3 1/2 stone in the end, and the doctor is well satisfied with that too! I've even braved the swimming pool - far more terrifying than the park for me!

    Good luck with the program - you're doing exactly the right thing by getting out there!

  • Observe them closely; are they laughing at you? I suspect not. I doubt that they are paying a blind bit of notice. And, as many people have said previously, it don't matter a hoot if they are anyway. You're doing this for you, not them. And you're already doing well so keep at it. Go girl, Go!!!

    PS - I'm also based in Sheffield. You might want to think about setting yourself a target of entering the 2014 Great Yorkshire Run. This year's is on Sunday 29th September. Go along and have a look, there's a great atmosphere.

  • Adzriel - What have you done. You have triggered such amazing & encouraging comments here & that helps all those of us who are reading. I am now just within the recommended BMI but am still self conscious when I run. It's all in my mind though & even my husband said he was amazed at my running. Just remember how far you have come & let that build up your confidence. I know I am being silly by feeling silly & have started smiling and acknowledging the people I pass & it's all been very positive. Very good luck to you & thank you.

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