They say weight is just a number. But for someone who is overweight, it can mean the difference between working toward a healthier lifestyle and giving up on weight loss and fitness for good.
A study published in BMJ Open looked at the relationship between perceived weight discrimination and physical activity. Researchers learned that those who experienced weight discrimination are less physically active.
This researched surveyed thousands of men and women in the UK. Overall, the more a participant weighed, the more they felt people were judging them based on their appearance.
It’s not just about looks, though. Those who have faced weight discrimination in any context often lack the confidence to work out in public.
As a result, this can have devastating results for those who want to lose weight, build muscle or just start developing healthier habits. If someone is too afraid to set foot in their local gym because of the way they look, their chances of making positive lifestyle changes drop significantly.
It’s not OK to judge someone who’s trying to make fitness an important part of their life. You don’t know their story. Today could be the day they decided to try running on a treadmill for the first time. So encourage them. Remember what it felt like to work out in public for the first time. We’re all just trying to do our best, the best ways we know how.
MP’s Take: Nike launched its first plus-size collection in March 2017, and for good reason. Everyone deserves to show up to the gym in clothes that make them feel comfortable and confident, regardless of their weight. While it’s not all about what you wear, it makes a difference. Worrying about judgment based on appearance seems small, but it’s enough to completely sabotage your fitness goals. It can happen to anybody. Stay strong. Wear what makes you look and feel good. Keep going after your goals. If the person on the machine next to you is judging you based on your appearance without getting to know you, they’re not worth the anxiety.