Embarrassment and Exercise

Hi all I'm just looking for a bit of advice

I'm overweight, asthmatic and very unfit, and I'm finally starting to have the time and motivation to do something about it but I still can't get over embarrassment aspect of exercise.

Going for a fast walk will leave me red, sweaty and gasping for breath and I find it SO embarrassing to walk past people in the street. I've been looking into the couch 2 5k program too and I think it's something I can push myself to do just the thought of other people seeing me is so embarrassing and puts me off it all together but I know I should do something to better myself.

Has anybody else experienced this? Or any advice of how to overcome it?

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10 Replies

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  • Hi and welcome, sn0wberry :)

    You could be writing about me!! Before I found this site, I had become a recluse, too embarrassed to even step into my garden!! I knew that I had to increase my activity levels, in order to increase my fitness levels. I couldn't leave the house, so started moving more indoors, eg, exercise videos, just walking around the house, easy strength exercises.

    I then moved on to going to quiet places, away from my home, early in the morning, when very few people were about and started walking. To start with, it wasn't very far and I sounded like a steam train, but as time went on, I got fitter and was able to walk further, until eventually I could walk in front of people, without feeling embarrassed.

    I used the same techniques when starting the C25K and still prefer to run when nobody else is around, although I don't cringe with embarrassment now, should I happen upon other people :)

    Just take your time and you'll get there :)

    Take a look at the Pinned posts section to the right of your screen (bottom if you're using a mobile), read the Welcome Newbie thread, then move through to the challenges, where we hope you'll find at least one that will appeal to you.

    Move down to the Topics, to find a variety of threads, collated into specific topics for ease of access and we ask that you also 'file' your own threads, so that others won't miss your important news.

    Take a look at the 12 week plan, as a lot of people have been successful with it, making sure to enter your details into the BMI calculator, to get a calorie allowance tailored to your personal requirements. Don't forget to take your starting measurements and a 'before' picture, as they can be very motivating on days that the scales refuse to co-operate.

    We run daily weigh-in's and you'd be very welcome to join us. The threads can always be found in the Events section, to the right of the home page, bottom on a mobile.

    We've found that to get the best out of this community, we need to be active on the forum, as it's where we exchange information, get motivation and inspiration and make friends. We hope that you'll join us here, regularly, too.

    It's only left for me to wish you well on your journey :)

  • Oh I let the fear of embarrassment put me off for years. One reason I always liked swimming is because you don't get red and sweaty, and because I obviously don't have my glasses on, I can't see anyone's expression in the small dash from the changing room to the pool! So if they're grimacing at my body, well I can't see so who cares.

    Is finding a park that's quiet an option, instead of power walking/running on a busy street? I used to do that until my fitness and confidence was boosted a little. Now I do laps around a busy park in Brighton, and I've never actually seen anyone staring, or grimacing, or seeming doing anything other than going about their day.

    So I guess the main way to overcome it is just to try it out there and try it, and as you realise nobody is really looking at you or judging you, your confidence will grow :)

  • I agree with the others that picking areas that aren't that crowded is a good start. There are loads of hills near me that are great for hiking up (and collapsing when you reach the top wondering if you'll ever breathe again) but often I don't see a single other person when I'm walking so if I'm sprawled on the floor it doesn't matter!

    I work at a school and we get a huge discount on the gym/pool there, but for the last 5 years I've been paying for one in a town 15miles away - so consequently never went and wasted loads of cash. I now go to my school one three or four times a week because it's so easy. And yes, the kids I teach do see me wobbling on a cross trainer, but ultimately I've just stopped caring. I want to live into my 60s/70s/80s and the way I was going before I doubt I would have made it. And I might encourage other kids who don't fit the sporty model to do something - you never know. I can guarantee I'm the fattest person in that gym by a long way, but I'm doing something for my future so who gives a **** what anyone else thinks.

    I think you have to remember that your body is amazing - it carries you places, transforms food and oxygen into energy, removes waste, allows you to see and experience the amazing wonders of the world. And now you want to pay it back by making it easier for it to do its job.

    Final note - most people are far too self-absorbed to even notice what you might or might not be doing! I think it's always worth remembering that...you think they're judging you, but actually they're way too busy instagramming their latte! :)

  • you sound like a fantastic role model for the kids you teach, well done

  • Thanks old bean! I try! 😁

  • Hi

    Where I live they have an exercise referral scheme through the GP. You exercise with people who are all in the same boat so there's no embarrassment. Check out to see if there's one available in your area. Best of luck to you

  • You should set a goal. How much weight do you want to loose? Why do you want to loose it in the first place. You need something to aim for or you will not get motivated. Find out what you want and ask yourself if you are able and willing to reach the goal. If you answer Yes, you have established a goal. Everything you need is goal and a decision that you will loose it not matter what it takes. Create the image in your mind of how your body and circumstance looks like when you reached the goal. Visualize your goal every day and take massive action. Just give it everything you've got. You have to fall in love with the idea of getting uncomfortable in the beginning - that is where the magic happens.

    Your welcome.

  • I started couch to 5k as an inhaler user but not strictly speaking asthmatic. Same as you describe, I would get out of breath just walking and was mortified how unfit I'd let myself become. I went for my first couch to 5k run very early one morning at a local deserted canal path (hence the name). My track suit trousers were so tight they were like leggings and I was certainly embarrassed to be seen. I only had old canvas shoes as footwear and the rest was just my normal clothes. It was a shambles but I did it, then I posted on the couch to 5k forum, received masses of support and encouragement, and the rest is history! My asthma has now developed and I have to be careful how I manage it. But I can run, I'm a healthy weight, I don't get out of breath walking, it can be done. You've just got to start. Asthma, self-consciousness, all excuses. Just start :)

  • Hi.

    Well does it matter what people are thinking? Most people are thinking of themselves anyways. Don't play with others imagination. I used to have the same problem. If your overthink it, it just seems much more real than it really is. In the end people might have a quick thought about you, but it will not last long, and they continue what they are doing. If you always wonder what people is thinking about you, it tends to feel so real, but there is no evidence they even think.

    :)

  • Have a look on YouTube. A few ppl here use Leslie sansone's walk a mile at home videos. Until you get a bit more comfortable, maybe you could walk on the spot at home? It's a good workout, I've tried it, but if the other movements are too much, just walk.

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