Our dieter Lucinda really wanted to start taking a yoga class but was extremely fearful that she would be judged negatively by both the instructor and the other people in the class. Lucinda is not alone in this fear. In fact, a number of our dieters have told us that they’re reluctant to go to the gym because they’re afraid that other gym-goers will view them disapprovingly. We’re working hard with Lucinda and others to combat their reluctance because we think it’s essential for dieters to get over their fear of other people’s judgments.
We don’t want to mislead dieters. If they have a lot of weight to lose, some people may indeed make negative judgments about them, but what dieters don’t realize is that these thoughts are likely to be fleeting—in people’s consciousness for milliseconds—and then they’re on to thinking about something else. In reality, most people at the gym are really just focused on themselves. They are there with a clear purpose and a routine, and for the most part, they’re paying attention to their workout–not to everyone around them. In fact, many gym-goers view the gym as “me time” – a clear period of time where they don’t have to focus on anyone but themselves.
We help our dieters develop a “so what,” attitude. “So what if some people make these superficial judgments about me? I’m going to do what I need to do to reach my goals.” Our dieters have been able to generalize this idea to a variety of non-weight related situations, too: “So what if people….don’t agree with my opinion/think I’m too spirited/don’t like what I wear.” Getting over their fear of the gym is often an important first step for our dieters in reducing their fear of other people’s reactions in many other life situations.
With this, “so what,” attitude in mind, Lucinda went to her first yoga class last week, and told us she was thrilled she had done so. She reported back that the instructor was very kind and encouraging, and she didn’t feel out of place in class. Lucinda is excited to start going to yoga weekly and is very happy she didn’t let her initial reluctance stand in the way of achieving her goals.