Years ago, I met some wonderful people that I call my clown friends (they really are clowns sometimes and the reason I can juggle fire). They were quirky and it was wonderful. I had always had the same spirit in my heart, but was too worried about how people saw me.
The clown friends set me free. I learned to not really care so much about what people think of me.
I hear that many people would like to go to a gym, but it intimidates them. They envision a world of models and bodybuilders who will stop and stare if they walk through the door. I'm here to tell you: It sure isn't true! In fact:
Anyone who thinks you don't belong in a gym is a lunatic.
This sentiment goes for all kinds of exercise, actually. If you're wanting to lose weight, who cares what you look like when you exercise? I'm sure my chub makes all sorts of weird movements while I'm sweating away, but at least I am working on it!
I've been going to a gym off and on for years, and I've been a big gal the whole time overall (ah, I love food too much, though it's getting much easier). I go on the treadmill. I swim. I go to the yoga class and try out other ones sometimes. So far I haven't ever seen anyone look at me in horror. I even had a guy chatting me up once (hubba hubba).
Once in a while I think I do wonder what would happen if I turned around while I was loudly *thunk thunk thunking* away on the treadmill. Would I see them with their mouths hanging open, amazed at the fact that I dared to join them? (Our minds are weird, aren't they?) But I shake it off and step it up.
If it makes it easier for you to feel comfortable, dress like the natives. Places like Target, Ross and T.J. Maxx have some nice, fairly inexpensive workout clothes. You can also try Freecycle or Craigslist for free options. I usually wear a pair of capris with a T-shirt. My current favorite is one I got from Woot.com. It has a picture of a dinosaur chasing a man with the caption "Exercise: Some Motivation Needed". It rocks. Here I am wearing it at the Manhattan Beach 5k. That one rocked - beach race in the moonlight.
I realize that changing your mindset about the gym and exercise in general can be hard. You can do it though! Just get out there and moving, no matter where you end up doing it.
How do you feel about the gym? Exercise? Clowns?