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MaisyS's avatar

I'm terrified of attending an aerobics class. It sounds stupid I know but I need help. What advice do you have?

Asked by MaisyS (605points) July 28th, 2019

I hate my body. Desperately. I hate my stomach and my thighs and my lovehandles. A little back story. I went through a severe round of depression some years back when I was 9. By age 12 at the height of 5’2 I weighed 210 lbs thanks to binge eating. At which point I became anorexic and my weight dropped to 125 pounds at the height of 5’4 aged 14. Now I’m 15 and I’m 5’5.6 but I weigh 157 lbs, thanks to the return of my binge eating habits due to another bout of depression.
My mother has put me on a diet and given me a goal of being a 130 lbs by the end of the year. She’s also trying to get me to attend aerobics classes.
I live a sedentary lifestyle with no exercise as such and barely have stamina.
My mother’s plan is all well and good but for some reason every time she approaches the notion of an aerobics class I feel like crying, which leads to cutting. I’m okay with dieting, but because when I was younger my parents often told me I was fat and berated me, telling me it was my fault because I didn’t exercise enough, I can’t stomach the idea of an exercise class. Exercise has become synonymous with worthlessness and the worst period of my life in my mind. Not to mention that I was born with a calcium deficiency and hence have weak bones, and my hand eye coordination is deeply lacking. School sports is no help either because instead of working with me on my issues my coach just scolds me and gives me detentions or forces me to play with the basketball team and tells other students to make fun of me every time I slip up or make a mistake. And that’s why I’m also terrified I’ll make a mistake in any exercise class I attend.
Yet I hate my body and want to change. I’ve dieted many times before but thanks to my depression I always bounce back to being overweight, if not obese. How should I handle this? Is there any alternative you can give me to an exercise class please? Or some regime or something that will improve my stamina or something so I at least don’t make a fool of myself if my mother forces me to attend one?

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14 Answers

chyna's avatar

Hi and welcome to Fluther. You don’t have to go to a class to exercise. You can do it at home. You can start by walking and increase your speed and distance weekly. You can get aerobic DVD’s and do them at home. You can do sit ups, push-ups, leg lifts, etc., all at home. You need to just get up and move. Perhaps getting into an exercise regime, even if it’s just walking, will help with your depression. I don’t know if you see a doctor for that, but if not, maybe you should. Good luck!

MaisyS's avatar

Thank you so much for replying chyna. I’ll definitely check out some exercises I can start with at home :).

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I’m sorry to hear you are struggling, depression is no fun especially at 15. My advice would be don’t go to the class. Instead identify an activity that you will enjoy. That’s the key to staying in shape, your activity should be something you want to do and will actively make time for it. “Going to the gym” usually is not it. It could be dancing, martial arts of some kind, bicycling, hiking… whatever your pleasure is. Try a bunch of things and identify what it is that gets you excited. Not only will that help you with your fitness goals it will help your confidence. At your age you can master something like this as well.

For me it’s bicycling. If it was not for mountain biking I’d weigh about 300 pounds.

MaisyS's avatar

Thank you for your response. I’ll look into some active things I can enjoy although a lot of them get booted out thanks to my weak joints… I tend to dislocate joints at the slightest exertion haha but I’ll see if there’s something I can start off gentle with and slowly work up to higher levels with.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I read a quote the other day: “To conquer your demons you must face them.” It’s hard and scary but I always find that In braver than I thought I was.
Also, maybe you could find loose fitting, comfy clothes for class. Long shorts and a Tshirt.

MaisyS's avatar

Thank you Duchess_lll for your reply. I think that might help, wearing baggier clothes to hide my flab haha. Seriously though that is a good idea to help me preserve my pride while I wobble around. And thank you for your encouraging words :) it’s true that you have to stare down your demons.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Good luck.
As an older women it frustrates me to no end that society tries to shove us into skin tight,form fitting clothes like swim suits and aerobics suits, even sports uniforms, while the guys get away with comfy, loose long shorts.
I bought a pair of men’s swim shorts at Walmart, and a Tshirt, which I plan to wear to swim. I would not be surprised if “someone” called me out for not having “proper swim attire” for a public pool.
Just close your eyes and know lots of jellyfish are cheering you on! Which you probably can’t hear because Jellyfish don’t cheer so good.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Build up to aerobics. Just get out and walk. Do THAT. You’re a bright girl, and will quickly notice that your metabolism notches up, while both your mood and poetry will improve. You’re only 15, which means you will improve rapidly if you can make yourself put forth the effort. Get used to walking until you reach the point where you enjoy it. At THAT point you will have muscular tone and strength in your tendons to fortify those joints in your legs. You’ll also have the stamina to kick ass when you dive into aerobics. It’s Summer. I suggest swimming. You will shock yourself at the discovery that exercise sharpens your aptitude for processing those thoughts in your busy head.

seawulf575's avatar

Welcome to Fluther! I think the key is a regimented period of activity. Your mom thinks an aerobics class would be a way to have you get exercise on a regular basis. There is some merit in that thought, but as others have said, you don’t need to go to a class to get exercise. You can exercise at home in your house or walking the neighborhood, or you could get a gym membership. Let’s look honestly at some of the pluses and minuses of an aerobics class and home exercise regimens
Pluses:
1) An aerobics class would meet on a regular basis, meaning you would have something driving you for regular exercise.
2) An aerobics class would be filled with others that are like you…thinking they need to tone up and lose a few pounds (BTW, 5’5” and 157 isn’t horrible…don’t beat yourself up over that). With other people you might find someone with whom you have shared interests and with whom you could talk and work with.
3) There is someone leading the aerobics class that can help you with proper form and to demonstrate how exercises should be done.
4) Home exercise allows you to avoid the feelings of embarrassment that you seem to be feeling
5) Home exercise allows you to work different exercises and muscle groups as you need instead of doing a set routine all the time (as in an aerobics class)
6) Most exercises that you can do at an aerobics class can be duplicated at home and you can find apps or diagrams online to show how to do the movements

Minuses:
1) Aerobics classes cost money
2) You have to travel to an aerobics class which can be inconvenient
3) There is nothing driving you for home exercise. To set up and follow a regular routine requires a lot of drive. We humans tend to want to hit a rut and stay there.
4) Exercising at home does not allow you interactions with other humans who are going through what you are going through. Support groups are great!

You can probably add to this list. But here’s some thoughts I have on your concern. You have allowed others to dictate to you how you should feel about yourself. God made you perfectly…accept the gift. We want to take care of our bodies and enjoy our lives, so if that is your purpose, embrace it. No matter where you decide to exercise, you are always going to be there…you are the common denominator. So you have to be your own coach, player and cheerleader. Push yourself to always exceed. Push yourself through that annoying period where you start feeling a bit sore and think that giving yourself a break might be a great idea. Push through it. Don’t over do it, but don’t slack off either. You will lose that pain soon enough. Set realistic daily or weekly goals and stick to them. Don’t cop out and make excuses for not meeting them, but don’t get depressed if you don’t. Just try harder next week. Always be evaluating your own thoughts and efforts and be critical…but remember you are trying to please yourself with this effort.

MaisyS's avatar

@seawulf575…I’m almost 5’7 actually, just short by half an inch. So I guess yeah 157 lbs isn’t too bad at all, but it feels terrible since I’d lost so much before that. But you’re right I shouldn’t beat myself up over it, I should just work towards a healthier weight without the guilt. Easier said than done though. Thank you so much for your response, it made me feel a lot better.

MaisyS's avatar

@stanleybymanly thank you so much for taking the time to reply to another one of my questions :).

MaisyS's avatar

Oh goodness I just noticed I put my current height in as 5’5.6 sorry it’s 5’6.5…my bad haha.

LostInParadise's avatar

It is easier for me to exercise in a group setting, even for an individual activity like treadmill. Have you checked out any 24 hour gyms? I belong to one and, while there are many people who appear to be in good shape, there are plenty of others who quite clearly are not. The gym’s slogan is “judgement free zone”, so there must be a lot of others who feel the way that you do. The down side is that they don’t have group classes like aerobics, but they can show you a program that uses various pieces of equipment.

jca2's avatar

I haven’t read the previous responses yet.

You wrote that your mom gave you a goal of 130 by the end of the year. If you weigh 157 right now, do you think 130 is do-able within five months? Others may say yes and others may say no, but I’m wondering if you think it is?

Also, maybe aerobics is not for you. Maybe pilates is your thing, or swimming or tennis or any number of other sports. Or maybe you’re better off just walking around your neighborhood or at a track, a few times per week. One thing about aerobics or any group activity is that it may not be good for people who are self conscious.

On the down-side about walking around a track or in your neighborhood, when the weather gets bad, that may inhibit you. Where I live, it’s frigid for at least four months out of the year. Can you afford a treadmill and do you have space for one? That may be an option to get you moving in the comfort and convenience of your own home.

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