How can I stop giving a c@@p about what people... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K
105,624 members136,430 posts

How can I stop giving a c@@p about what people have to say?


I'm new here, so I really hope I'm doing this whole post thing right. As a big person I am always terrified of other peoples opinions, so scared to the point where I can't bring myself to get up in class without wanting to scream. Even when i'm alone outside and wanting to run,I fear that people will see me and make fun of me, I feel like I lost touch with the person I want to be (a carefree, happy,and healthy person). This problem has gone so far that I'm even worried about saying things online, because I think someone will think it's weird or pathetic. My question is: How do you shed the habit of caring what people think/ being yourself despite what other people have to say?

41 Replies

Hi, you are amazing, the very fact that you have shared your fears with members of this forum is epic !

People who make nasty comments and gestures do so as a way of making them feel better about themselves, they are cowards, they are truly not worthy of your time and thoughts.

I am guessing that you are a young person still in education, have you considered talking with your tutors? I know for sure that the good people in this forum will give you encouragement and the determination to continue your journey to better health. People can be heartless, inconsiderate and unkind, your worth more than that, you are an amazingly beautiful person, keep to the podcasts, to hell with the self obsessed bullies! You will amount to something they won't! Sending hugs and strength 🙇💞👍👌

in reply to Kim196

Thank you! I was a little scared to post this post at first, but I feel like this community is very well put together and is filled the most kind hearted people (like yourself).


Folks are lovely here. Don’t let your fears hold you back. You have to be a bit brave, grrrr 💪🙂 or you wont do anything. Rabbit in headlights sorta thing. We have to don our big girl pants and just do things. We might not be best, fastest, thinnest or whatever but we can give it our best shot and have some fun 😃

Let’s face it, most of us here pitched up wanting to get fitter/slimmer/healthier. We’re all in it together.

Read the various posts. Lots of inspirational stuff about folks’ triumph over adversity, or folks just wanting to get out and move more.

Your needs/wants/desires/aspirations/plans are yours so don’t waste time comparing yourself to others. It’s a pointless exercise. I wanna run like Paula Radcliffe but it ain’t gonna happen, so i’ll just have to run like me instead. That’s ok by me though as before I couldn't run at all 😁

Many of us - me included - didn’t want to venture out in public wearing Lycra for the first time so chose to hide out in various locations. I headed for the woods. There is a wonderful kindle book (99p) which is about a self-conscious lady doing just that. it is a very funny, uplifting read and i urge you to read it. It’s called No Run Intended 😁

I have had various things shouted at me - always by a bloke in a car. You can cry and go home or crack on 💪. To change things we have to do things differently or they stay the same.

Make a start 🙂👍

I will have to admit, this post made me smile, and for the record- one day you're going to beat Paula Radcliffe in a race!

in reply to Scared_Girl

We know and love misswobble on here, and I can assure you that she is not going to be beating Paula Radcliffe in a race ;-)

I'm really pleased that you've stepped out an joined us, S_G. I 'liked' your post - not that I like the way that you feel, but I like the way that you have taken a step to confront your fears. We'll be here to support you.

in reply to MarkyD

Thank you, I appreciate it!

There will always be people out there with opinions. Just because they shout the loudest that doesn’t make them right.

Remember they have their own fears but they are better at hiding them.

The only person you need to please is yourself. Easy for me to say, I know. Concentrate on what you want to achieve for yourself.

1 day at a time. Keep us updated on your progress we’d all like to hear how you are getting on. Good Luck and don’t let the haters win 👍


I think most of us have felt like that at some point, especially in the beginning. I used to go running at the start with a hood so no one recognised me but luckily that was during winter so it was easy to hide. Your confidence will grow as you get better at running. I remember a chavvy teen telling me to go faster. That wasn’t nice. I told him I was going faster than him, who was just standing there. This forum is so supportive and fantastic. Listen to the voices of wisdom. Go to ParkRuns. They are full of nice people of all shapes and sizes. Good luck and keep running 🏃🏾‍♀️👌🏽

in reply to Tasha99

Thank you for the suggestion, epic come back by the way!

As a bald 61-year-old overweight man, I had exactly the same reservations about how I'd look going out in week 1. But I decided to be selfish about doing something good for me - starting running. I haven't had any abuse and if I did it wouldn't bother me because I know I'm on track to losing weight and toning my body.


People are bullies, not just in school but everywhere you go throughout your whole life. You learn as you get older to not let people get to you and until then you fake it. Give them a wave and shout thanks for your support if they say horrid things when you run.

Do you have a supportive friend who will run with you to start with so you’re not on your own? People don’t really take notice of you when you’re running. Try not to focus on the people you’re passing look at a tree or car or something.

It’s fab that you’ve decided to do this, don’t doubt yourself now get out there and start your journey to becoming the you you want to be.

Good luck and keep being brave!


This programme and this forum are amazing. So supportive and just a bit life changing. I'm so sorry you're having a rough time. People can be so cruel. I wasn't overweight when I was younger but I had a stammer. It made me crawl into my shell for years. I never spoke willingly in class.

I'm a teacher now, have been for nearly 30 years. I don't stammer. I never have in class, no idea why!! I'm old enough now to not care what others think of me.

Keep us in touch with your running! I'm overweight now - again - and I'm doing what I can through more exercise and eating less......!! After a few months of running I don't care who sees me now! Even when I'm sweaty and disgusting!!

Good luck! 😃😃😃😃


When you get out there to do the first steps of couch to 5k it’ll make you giggle It did me! 😁 I told no-one at all what I was up to so I felt all conspiratorial 😎👀 Nearly 57 and standing in a wood in unfamiliar clothing. It was like first day at infant’s school. I bloody loved it though💕 Still do, bit I’ve ditched the balaclava


Hi SG. Well done for taking the first step towards re- building your confidence. You are a unique person- nobody in the world is the same as you so celebrate that. I love this quote from Dr Seuss:

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Once you start to run following this programme, your confidence will grow with each run and that will do wonders for your self-esteem. Don’t allow other people’s views to dictate how you live your life. Get out there and concentrate on one run at a time. There’s always encouragement from the folks on here. Big breaths- you CAN do it 👍🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️

Thank you for your support! That's one of my favorite Seuss quotes too!


You are a brave person to share your fears and, I’m sure you’ve realised, this is such a supportive forum that you’ll only meet with kindness and understanding here. We are all ages, shapes and sizes and at different stages in our journey. But many of us didn’t want to take that first step out of the front door. Well done for saying what you feel and knowing what you want for yourself. Very best wishes for your running, we’ll all be cheering you on !

People who say anything are jealous of the person you are becoming. The drive and motivation you have. My wife laughed at me when I started exercising, dieting and running. She’s now dieting, sharing my weight loss with friends and running. Kind of ironic really. Be you and ignore what anyone says 💪


You aren’t alone in being scared and you have come to the right place for support while you do C25K (and beyond if you need it). This is a lovely forum, full of encouragement. Many of us are battling extra weight and have life challenges, mental health issues, confidence issues... it’s normal!

As you mention ‘class’ I imagine you’re younger. The human brain goes through a major re-wire during teenage years. Unfortunately society dictates that we’re shoved into a small room for most of the day, in large numbers with others of a similar age, and then expected to make sense of the world together. No wonder the opinion of others in class seems so important.

One of the things I’ve learned since school is that other people are usually very nice and kind - given a chance. Doesn’t mean I lend them money, and want to book a mini-break with them, but most people can be nice enough to be around. And if it turns out they are unpleasant without good reason, then that’s their problem, nothing I did. Hang out with positive people outside class (like us!), look for the good in everyone and try to understand those that seem to want to hurt you. Likely they are hurting inside themselves (jealousy, self-doubt, frustration, fear...) and they can’t handle it. You, on the other hand, are stronger.

There are a couple of things that will help when running - the first is earphones! When you have your music playing and the app encouraging you, you won’t notice strangers saying things, or people won’t bother commenting in the first place because you can’t hear them. If you run on your own, choose a quiet time of day and a quiet location - letting someone know where you are running, and when you are expecting to check back in again. In industry we use this all the time and call it a ‘lone worker’ buddy system - it’s just for safety and confidence. The next thing is to say a brief ‘hi’ if someone is walking the other way and catches your eye. You get the first word in before they can say anything stupid, and you are then a real person, and a friendly person... people almost always smile back - because they’re surprised. If they don’t, that’s nothing to do with you - they may not have heard you or just have their own problems that day.

It’s so tiring - worrying about what others might think. And even though it is entirely understandable, this worry isn’t going to help you, in the slightest. Best to put that effort, and focus, into doing something awesome that will make a difference. Good luck 😘 and keep posting to let us know how it goes!


You’ve made a great start to answering your question just by starting C25K. The help advice and support from both experienced and new runners on this forum is amazing. Welcome to this running world malarkey! The C25K programme really works !! Keep us posted on your running 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️ journey 👍😉👌💥😀

One thing I love about running is it makes you view your body in a completely different way. Over time as we learn to run a switch in our brain changes and we see our bodies as machines that have power and Stregnth. This happens to people at different times but most runners I know respect their bodies because they can feel what they are capable of. Trust me I have lost count of the people I see on here getting up at 5am to go for a run because they don’t want to be seen! Then I hear they have their first running bottoms that are tight, then they are doing their first event or Parkrun and then finally they are here helping someone new with their Confidence because they understand exactly how you feel and they know one day that feeling will pass. Good luck with your running journey, it is only the beginning,


I don’t know how old you are but when I was younger I was exactly the same. If someone said something nasty it would play on my mind for ages. I can still remember instances from years ago when someone was nasty to me but it’s funny how we don’t take the compliments to heart in the same way!

I am now at the point in my life where I can honestly say I don’t care what people say or think and would happily tell them where to go!! You are the one out there running and doing something positive not them. Deep down they are jealous because they don’t have the guts to do what you are doing!



I saw your post and read what you put on your profile.

There's not much I can add in response which has not already been said by the rest of the community.

If you are looking to manage your weight and to eat healthier, one thing that worked for me was to use this site: There is a phone app as well.

In this, you can log all your meals, snacks and drinks. There is a massive food database, so you should be able to get accurate calorific intake information. This will help you become aware of what different foods contain.

For example, one of my favourite treats was to cook a sirloin with my own home made blue cheese sauce. When I added together all of the ingredients, I was totally shocked at the outcome and have not made it since: 680 calories for the double portion that I made! That was just the sauce!

Once you're aware, you can make conscious changes. I occasionally indulge in a KFC or inhale a bar of fruit and nut, but I know what I'm eating and what I need to do in order to burn it off.

It's not for everyone, but I found it helpful.

Happy running.


You are here... you have started this.. you are amazing...

No one will criticise, laugh, judge or bully you... we all run together.. all shapes, all sizes, and all ages( Me..very old.. ) :)

Check this post out for great advice...

Then.. head out... steady and slow... wear what is comfy and just run.... folk may stare.. they are jealous... but more often than not they are too wrapped up in their own lives to notice us:)

The more you run, the less you will worry... and know we will all be there running alongside you :)

This is the hardest step and you have taken it...Find the real you... and run:)x


Hi S-G. You've already had some great advice here and I hope you feel more comfortable than you did.

May I suggest updating your user name to something like "Not scared anymore girl" or if that's too cumbersome then something using the words like Fabulous, Superstar, Champion, anything positive?

Listen to Oldfloss and the others. There's always someone to help, advise, guide or just be friendly.

Be magnificent.


If anyone is mean to you just yell ‘five years’ at them and carry on. They won’t understand - the best defence is after all to confuse the monster and run away - but you will. I hate pop stats but one hour and a half a week exercise adds that to your life. Five whole years! You are amazing and brave already - what is greater in a human being than striving for better? That is something to admire and you are already doing that. Well done you. Xxx

Hello and welcome! You have already taken the first step now keep going.... I don’t understand how this program works but it does amazing things to your mind ... it teaches you the ability to fight of the demons and you also learn to run too. The motto I think is “slow and steady” this takes care of your body and the other is “keep posting” this helps as the support in this forum is second to none


You’re in good hands. It is such a positive forum. Head held high go get em!! Don’t forget to share 😘

Try thinking about it this way... most strangers won't know you, and they're too interested in themselves to take any interest in anyone else, so just get out there and go for it. When I started C25K I only ran in jogging bottoms because I didn't want anyone to see my white skinny legs and knobbly knees (they're like something you'd see hanging out of a nest). With the recent spell of very hot weather I really struggled so I ended up in shorts. After the first couple of runs I realised all those people in cars driving past weren't looking at me so now I don't care, shorts it is. The sense of achievement you get from finishing your runs will outweigh any embarrasment you may feel. After a couple of goes you'll wonder what you were worrying about. Good luck.

Remember you are lapping those that are on the couch.


It's hard.

Start with standing up for yourself. Be your own best friend. If they said what you want to say, would you support them? Then support yourself.

I have a list of various sayings on my bedroom wall that have helped me over the years. One of these is a list of my good qualities and things I like about me. I used different colours and sizes of text (the bigger, the more I really believed it). You really wouldn't believe how hard or how long (it was a work in progress over at least a year) it took to create that list. It really helped... and still does.

There are so many easy sayings about ignoring others but believing them is so much harder.

I really try to live by "what anyone else thinks is their problem"

But I've also found others to be true "be yourself - because ultimately there is nothing else you can do"

"There are more helpful people waiting to help than not" that one really is true.

When I'm running down the street with sweat literally running down my face... most people smile, or laugh in a disbelieving manner (why would anyone work that hard especially in this heat)

Size really doesn't come into it. The bigger you are, the more likely people are going to support you, not mock you.

You really can't risk not doing things you want and need to because of the opinions of others. You do what you need to do for you and be proud of who you are. That's all anyone can ever ask for. And you'll feel so much better for it, I promise. 👍😉

Welcome aboard 🤗 and there's no such thing as a right or wrong post... there's just posts 👍😁


Many years ago someone told me that I would stop worrying what other people thought of me if I knew how rarely they did! Tack about a backhanded compliment! It’s true though, runners are almost invisible - except to other runners, and they’ll be supportive. If you’re concerned about one or two bullies in your clsss, choose a time and place to run where they won’t be around. If you’re worried about random strangers- don’t be, they probably won’t notice you and anyway you’ll soon have run past them and won’t see them again so who cares?


EarPods/ earphones are the answer. I am always stunned when I look up to see smiles of encouragement instead of sarky sniggers. In the last few days I have been anxious passing groups of teens hanging around the areas I usually run but in all honesty they just don’t seem interested. I also listened to Bryony Gordon’s audiobook Eat, Drink, Run and that helped me over the hurdle you are talking about. Well done for starting - you are already on your journey so good luck


Every day I go out to run I worry about what people will say or how they will look at me. Over the years I’ve put up with taunts and fat shaming, smiling through the pain but always (ALWAYS) knowing that the nastiness says more about the other person than me.

You’re here and you’re showing up that’s all that counts.

For years I felt the same, everyone will be looking and laughing at me plodding along, and it stopped me getting out there. Forums like this are wonderful, full of encouragement and support. I really believe now that the people we think are looking a laughing are really looking and feeling a little envious that we have the guts to get out and give it a go!! 🙌


Hi Scared Girl! I would say that it’s a common challenge, so no one is thinking your pathetic! Quite the opposite. It’s not easy sharing our fears. But it’s sometimes the only way you get to realise OMG other people feel that too! And in this case that’s so absolutely true. Now your decision to start running is all about you! You created a vision of a runner and you’re making it a reality for you.

Now it just so happens that there are other people on the earth we occupy and some of them are runners who have been where you are and felt the same and some who wish they could pluck up the courage to be exactly like you. Should anyone have the audacity to laugh (which is actually more highly unlikely than you think), you also have at least 90% more people who admire you for doing it. You’re not looking for admiration from anyone but the person in the mirror! Imagine looking at yourself and seeing and saying how fantastic you are. If you go out scared someone is going to laugh, you will soon realise that it’s nothing like you expected and the only laughter will be coming from yourself after you’ve done it, for thinking that way in the first place. This is your time. You’re in your zone and you will love it! Keep going!! Do your thing, your way! It’s an amazing feeling! ❤️

I did the Couch 25 K a couple of years ago and then I noticed how much I thought of big people running "Good on you" but also realised I looked at people running but didn't REALLY see them if you know what I mean. This is a FABULOUS confidence builder place and people are really helpful as they have ALL had doubts at one time or another. Go for it and amaze yourself and you will not bother what other people think. But I agree with other comments confidence will come. Trust in yourself and this running course. YOU CAN DO IT.

I always think that other people's comments towards you says more about them than you. The older I get the more I realise this is true. There will always be people out there like that but don't let it stop you or knock your confidence. You are doing an amazing thing and as the weeks go on your confidence will improve. Keep going, you sound like an amazing person and I wish you all the best in everything you do xx


I'm also a person who is thinking about other's opinions about me. And I know I shouldn't do. But I'm learning to stop that (sometimes ...) and just do what I want to do. The C25K program helped me a lot to stop that thoughts during running! :) I did thow other interval programs before and I was always thinking, omg, what do the proper runners think when they see me heavily breathing and (currently) walking!! With Laura on my ears I felt like having a running partner with me. She was talking to me and so I wasn't focused on other runners/walkers/car drivers. During the first weeks I changed my thinking. If I now see someone looking at me with a wry look I say to myself: it's ME who is doing sport, I'M doing something for my fitness, and what about YOU?? so f*** off! And if it's a super good runner who's looking at me like I'm a snail ... then I say to myself: hey, you started running some years ago, too!

But fortunately there are also nice and positive people out there. On my routes I encounter some people who I have seen several times or just for the first time and they are smiling at me, giving a "thumb up" or saying something positive.

In the meantime - at least related to running - I think I'm doing this for myself and not for the people out there! It's good for me, I have fun ... so everyone out there can think what he/she wants and then should do it better!

Happiness and confidence are very attractive traits in people whatever they look like. Sometimes you just have to fake it for long enough and after a while they become real. Keep telling yourself to be positive and not care whether other people have negative thoughts. We all care what others think to some degree. The extroverts appear to find life easy but they suffer the same anxieties as everyone else. I know it sounds like positive thinking, self-improvement hogwash but it works. Keep telling yourself you are brave_girl not scared_girl. You can make it happen. (On the other hand there is no such thing as a fast Loris.)

Let your haters be your motivators! You’ve done so well to put yourself out there, we all started at the start line, full of doubt and anticipation, so many of us are achieving distances we dreamed of In our mere youth. Get yourself out there, be proud of yourself sand what you’re doing, put your headphones on to drown out the sounds of the sh1t talkers, all your virtual buddies have your back! Best of luck, stick at it you’ll be great xx

I wish I’d have found this statement earlier.

“The way people treat you is a statement about who they are as a human being. Not a statement about you.”

I hope this helps. It’s certainly helps me when people are being cruel and nasty.

Keep going regardless. You can do this. x

You may also like...