Losing weight after 50 is not easy and that’s why I constantly encourage women over fifty to add exercise to their daily routine. Recently I was shocked when a woman asked me “Am I too fat to exercise in public?” My first thought was no way! I’ve been a gym rat for over forty years and I have never viewed anyone as inappropriate for “public viewing.” I struggle with weight just like everyone else and when my weight goes up I would never allow my size to keep me from the gym or an exercise studio. As losing weight after fifty is so difficult, movement is essential and sometimes the home is neither conducive nor convenient to an ongoing exercise regime.
I decided to sit down with a few fat (their word, not mine) clients and discuss this topic openly. Here is the exchange we had — the questions are theirs and the answers are mine:
Losing weight after 50 is impossible for me. I know I should workout but am I too fat to exercise in public? The answer is a simple no. No one is too large to exercise in public.
Won’t everyone stare at me? People look at other people all the time because that’s human nature. It’s also human nature to assume the worse, that others are thinking “what’s that fat pig doing here in my gym/exercise class?” Remind yourself that just the opposite could be true: others may look at you and be thinking how awesome you are for not letting your size stand in the way of your health! Either way, it’s not about other people — it’s about you! Stop worrying about what others may or may not be thinking. Consider what you think about your courage! The reality is most people are looking at themselves when they are exercising, not you. You’re just not that important to them!
What can I wear to the gym that won’t make me look so fat? I can’t find anything in the stores! Losing weight after fifty is hard especially when you live in a world where fat shaming is an ongoing theme. The worst thing you can do is put on over sized sweats that are unbecoming on everyone. What I suggest overweight women to wear is a pair of dark, fitted, ankle length leggings paired with a tee shirt that is a little fitted at the shoulders and looser at the bottom paired with sneakers that have a subdued color palette. You don’t want to be wearing bright white sneakers!
I’m in the gym . . . now what? If you are not taking classes, the best way to familiarize yourself with the gym equipment is to set up an appointment with one of the gym’s personal trainers. Most gyms offer one free introductory session so make sure to ask about that. If you want to try a machine but don’t know how to use it ask!!! Don’t just do what you see others doing as usually they’re doing it wrong! You can always go home and search online for the correct way to use certain equipment. Or contact me and I’ll help you!
How can I overcome my embarrassment in the locker room when I change? Honestly, when I’m in the locker room the last thing I am looking at is another woman and I think most women feel the same. If you are just too embarrassed to change in public you can always use a bathroom or shower stall.
What should I do if I suddenly feel dizzy? The best thing to do is to sit down and drink some water. Don’t feel the need to keep pushing yourself to finish an exercise — you can always go back to it when you feel better.
Am I too fat for some exercise classes? Your health, not your size, should be what determines which classes suit you best. You must consult with your physician prior to starting any exercise program and this is especially critical if you are very overweight. Many gyms and exercise studios offer beginner classes and I think those options are best. You can always go to a class a few minutes early and speak with the instructor about your concerns. And most importantly, if something doesn’t feel right stop immediately! Just because others are doing an exercise does not mean that you have to keep up with everyone else.
I break into a sweat easily when I start to workout and can look like I just stepped out of the shower. What can I do to control that? Sweating is common when you exercise. You do have options to contain your embarrassment. Make sure to bring a small towel from home that you can carry with you while you are exercising. If you feel yourself overheating try to exercise near the fan or air conditioner. I always do this! You can always bring a second set of workout clothes to switch into to finish your routine.
Should I eat before I exercise? I usually recommend not eating two to three hours prior to exercising. However, certain medical conditions require you too eat at certain times and if this is the case then make sure to have a small meal. As losing weight after 50 is so difficult, it is better to have your stomach a little empty to prompt the body to use your fat, not the contents of your stomach, as fuel.
Sometimes I lose motivation to go to the gym. What should I do? The best thing to do is to have a workout buddy. If that is not possible, pre-pay for an exercise class or personal training session. Once you’ve paid for something there’s a much better chance of you sticking to it!
Losing weight after 50 is difficult and no one is too fat to exercise in public. Always remember to be proud of yourself for actually taking action instead of just talking about it. If you stick with a good exercise routine you’ll amaze yourself by the results that you can make. Have faith in yourself and remember no one is judging you except yourself!
This post is an overview of my fitness philosophy:
15 FOOD & FITNESS RULES I FOLLOW