Smutty Fitness: The next 45
In July of last year, after being severely overweight all my life and tipping the scales to the "morbidly obese" side thanks to the BMI calculator (I was 5'1" and 225 pounds, for reference) I decided to finally do something about it and really changed my diet and exercise habits. It was overwhelming to realize that, minimum, I needed to lose 90 pounds to be at a healthy place for my body. I had been so unhealthy for so long that even pushing myself while walking was difficult. So I didn't really look at all the different fitness options- I just walked, 3 -5 times a week, and watched what I was eating. Well now 7 months later I am down 45 pounds (halfway there- though most of the time I feel like I haven't accomplished much of anything) and trying to find a form of exercise I can enjoy beyond walking. People keep telling me to try yoga, to try cardio classes, to try spinning, to try barre, to try running, to try the 30 day shred, on and on and on. I am honestly overwhelmed with the options and have no idea where to start, and also, I'm scared at the idea of public exercise. I do most of my walking (and a little bit of running now) very early in the morning before I go to work, when there's almost nobody out, and the idea of exercising in front of people really freaks me out. I am more comfortable in my body at 180 than I was at 225, by far- but I'm also just kind of freaked that somebody might see me and call me names or something, or that I won't be able to do most of what is in the class and I will feel ashamed. Please help me figure out where to start in terms of varying my exercise routine (which is something I actually want to do) and if you have any, please help with tips on how to get over the mind hurdle of working out in public!
First of all, congratulations on your weight loss so far as losing 45 pounds is not an easy feat. You have now proven to yourself that you can do it so there should not be a reason for you to think that you cannot lose the next 45. Here is the thing though: you need to continue to challenge yourself physically but you also need to challenge yourself emotionally. Learning to become comfortable at being uncomfortable is going to be your mantra throughout this next half of your weight loss journey and yes that means you must be comfortable being uncomfortable while you work out in front of other people.
Look into your local community center and see if they offer an introductory weight training class (most do) and sign up and go. Check out a local running shop, like The Running Room, and join their beginner walk/run program. I promise you that you will not be the slowest person there and you will make a ton of friends who will support you and who you can support as well. When I first started running I could not run around the block but because of the support I received from my local running club I ran my first half marathon. If it was not for this club who knows if I would have even tried a 5 or 10km, let alone attempted two Ironman Canada races.
If anything, people are going to be proud of you for your accomplishments thus far rather than judge you and you will surprise yourself how great it actually is to exercise with other people. Not only will you be pushed harder but you will also learn to push yourself harder.
Continue building on your challenges. When something starts to feel comfortable, up the ante and seek out the next challenge. The more you challenge yourself and the more you overcome those challenges the more you will believe in yourself. The more you believe in yourself the more you will accomplish. If you continue to let your fears hold you back you are not going to gain anything. Keep working hard and keep making changes. Try everything! Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the options available, welcome the change.
Do not allow your fears and your ego to hold you back. Be proud of what you have accomplished already and be ok with not being perfect at whatever it is you try next.