Advice: I'm embarrassed to work out

Max Pemberton

Dr Max Pemberton advises on how to start working out at the gym when you're feeling conscious of others

Q: “I’m the heaviest that I’ve been 
in years, and although I want to lose weight, I’m too embarrassed about my size to join a gym. What’s the best way to get started when your confidence is low?”
—Brenda, 50 

 

A: It’s strange how we seem able to be so kind towards others, but when it comes to ourselves, it’s often in such short supply. We’re often our own worst critics, never congratulating ourselves when we’ve done something well, instead focusing on our failures. So let me congratulate you. Well done. Loads of people have difficulty with their weight.

You’re not alone—the majority of the adult population in the UK is classed as overweight so your struggle is incredibly common. But you—unlike many people—have decided you want to do something about it. First of all, try to remember that while you might be very self-conscious in the gym, no one else is going to be bothered. Trust me, all those people with toned abs and sculpted bodies are far more interested in themselves to notice anyone else. Besides, remember that everyone has to start somewhere and a fair few of them will have been just like you, unsure and uncertain. If you’re really nervous about starting out in the gym, why not get a personal trainer for a few sessions to help you devise a plan. 

Remember though, going to the gym is only part of weight loss—it’s far more important that you focus on your food. Why not consider paying for a few sessions with a private dietician to help you build confidence around changing your diet. You’ll find that at weight loss classes everyone is in the same boat as you. Some may have been going longer, but everyone will remember what it’s like to start off and they’ll give you lots of encouragement. Go for it, I know you can do it.

Got a health question for our resident doctor? Email it confidentially to askdrmax@readersdigest.co.uk