Anxiety at the gym

Anxiety at the gym

So I’m fat. No amount of pulling my stomach in is going to hide it. There are days I don’t mind it. I never like it but there are days I think “I’m happy, I have a great life, Brad loves me, who cares what size I am!”

These days are few and far between.

At work I can ignore it.
At home I can ignore it.
Out with friends I can mostly ignore.
Performing I can always ignore it.

At the gym, well that’s a whole different matter.

At the gym, where I’m going to try and get fitter, I often get body image anxiety. And by often I mean every singe time. I’m not exaggerating there, I get it every single time.

Sometimes I can ignore it. I switch it off by saying “hey, you’re doing something about it!” but other days I can’t. Yesterday was one of those days where I couldn’t turn it off.

In I walk, ashamed of being so big and wondering which member of staff is judging me.
[None of them are!]

I get changed, trying to find a spot where no one can see me because, well, who would want to?
[No one! Not because I’m fat but because straight men rarely want to see other men naked, and yes, most of them are straight — we can smell our own!]

I walk to the exercise room, noting how busy the pool is because if it’s too busy I’m not going in because people will judge me.
[No, they won’t! They don’t care, they’re there to swim, not look at me!]

I spend thirty minutes to an hour on the treadmill, panicking that my fat feet make too much noise pounding the treadmill.
[My feet aren’t fat, they’re feet! And no one can hear me as they have their music playing!]

I then move to the weights. I pick up two dumbbells and do some bicep curls but I’m constantly seeing the other guys looking at me.
[They’re not. They’re looking in the mirror watching themselves work out. I don’t even appear on their radar!]

I move to a machine to get away from the guys watching me.
[Again, they’re not watching me, they’re watching themselves, I’m not important!]

I don’t spend long on the machine before anxiety gets there better of me and with everyone watching I get embarrassed and leave.
[No one watches me!]

I go back to the changing room and the staff stare as they know I’ve not been there long.
[The staff are actually more concerned that physically and mentally I’m okay and not worried about how long I’ve been there – I know this to true, they’ve proved it!]

Again I find a corner of the changing room where no one will see me.
[Again, they’re not interested in seeing me!]

I shower and dry off in the shower cubicle and panic that the towel is too small and won’t go around me.
[Our towels are huge, they swamp me even now.]

Back at the bench I sit and wait until people have left. They don’t want to see me dry my fat belly.
[No, they don’t want to see it because they don’t care!]

I leave and keep my head down so I don’t have to interact with the staff because I’ll make up a lie about why I’m leaving.
[They won’t care about that, they just want me to get a good experience from the gym.]

I sit in the car and do all I can to not get upset about everything that I think that just happened.

It won’t matter how many times people tell me the pieces in [brackets] as I already know the truth. I know no one cares what I look like. I know the other gym users are interested in themselves not me. I know the staff care. But right there are then it doesn’t matter. It never matters.

I’m fat.
On bad days I detest myself.
On good days I’m just fat.
I don’t mind being fat.
I just don’t like how I feel about it.

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