Dear Cassey: Why does my fitness journey feel so lonely?

Hi Cassey!
I am a plus size girl. I started my health journey about a year and a half ago and while there have been plenty of bumps along the way, I have made slow but steady progress with my health and fitness levels.
What advice would you give me to stay motivated along my journey when most of what I see out there in online fitness communities are people much smaller and fitter than me? They look at me and treat me like I’m just a fat girl pretending to like exercise.
Other comments I’ve gotten are condescending like “well you’re not that big” or “why aren’t you losing weight faster?”
It’s hard to stay positive and motivated and I don’t have anyone going through this journey with me so it just feels really hard sometimes. I know I’ve come a long way but people can be really mean/rude and even though I try not to let it bug me it hurts.
Seeking Sincere Support
paper dolls holding hands on clothesline support

Hi Seeking Sincere Support!

  1. UMMM WHAT?! It makes me so angry to read that ANY fitness community is making you feel unwelcome or like you don’t belong.
  2. WELCOME TO THE POPSTER COMMUNITY. Whatever support you need, we’ve got you.

Let’s put the haters aside. I want to take a moment to congratulate you on on your journey so far! A year and a half is a LONG time to commit to those changes. ANY change at all, actually.

The first thing I want you to do is really process and be proud of that accomplishment. I know the kind of progress that comes with a true lifestyle change like this one can feel slow (and maybe slower than you’d like). But the changes and progress you’re seeing are still HUGE and they’ll impact your life forever.

I know it’s difficult to stay motivated when you don’t have a solid support system. BUT, your tenacity and persistence is inspiring! Dealing with the rude and judgy people out there can be emotionally and physically draining. So, how do you deal? Here are my thoughts:

Your size and/or body type DOES NOT represent your fitness journey success. 

Nope. ANYONE can enjoy exercise. For a variety of reasons! I am SO TIRED of people assuming a person must not be working “hard enough” if they don’t have the “perfect” body. That kind of thinking is ridiculous.

Your journey is your business.

Your “why” is YOURS. No one else has the right to judge what motivated you to set out on this journey.

There isn’t one “right” journey for everyone.

There is no “losing weight too slow.” That’s not a thing. Gradual progress is still progress. Plus, even if you started this journey because you wanted to lose weight, I bet you’ve noticed by now that the progress you can’t necessarily “see” actually feels the most rewarding!

Last thing.

Remember that MOST people really do mean well, even if they don’t fully see how their comments may discourage you. On my own journey, I learned that a lot of people didn’t understand my why. But the support I found in the people who truly DID understand really outweighed the negativity. And the most important thing was to constantly remind myself of all the good I was getting out my journey.

Keep a journal. Write yourself little love notes. Keep your eyes on the road and don’t let judgy, discouraging comments or comparison lead you off course. And think about the ways you can help others with what you’re learning! Because I PROMISE you there are plenty of others out there with similar struggles. We need to stick together!

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

24 thoughts on “Dear Cassey: Why does my fitness journey feel so lonely?”

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  1. Akshita jain says:

    Hi Cassey! great tips and guidance…I do have a question…well instead of calling it a question I should say I need your advice on some stuff.
    I am 19 and a girl …here is the thing …I am lean (really thin) …and i have tried a lot to get fat (fit) and a month ago I have started eating proper diet too (I am vegetarian so I have to opt for alternative options for protein intake)and for exercise I play badminton and do some jogging to keep myself moving as i don’t want to be lazy and unhealthy. And I tried these types of things in past too and was unsuccessful. Now that I have given a shot again I constantly fear failing and think of giving up. But I really wanna get in good shape and prove my self that I can do it l. I would really appreciate your help if you suggest me to get rid of my lean body and strengthen my mind as well.
    Lots of love from India.

  2. Jenna says:

    I just stumbled on this blog and I love it. This can relate to this post. I just started my journey and don’t have the greatest support system, so I understand the lonely feeling. Thanks for sharing your story , and to Casey – thank you for your advice and kind words.

  3. Teri says:

    Hi Cassey!

    I’m a pretty curvy girl who exercises regularly and loves her body. I do a lot of pilates (mostly your videos because you’re awesome) as well as daily walks and yoga. I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t take my fitness seriously because I don’t have a skinny or “perfect” body. The truth is, I love being curvy and that’s the body I’m comfortable in. Being thin isn’t my goal, being healthy is. I’m not working out to get the body they think I should have, I’m working out to be healthy and happy.
    How do I convince people that my lifestyle and fitness is valid even without being skinny?

    1. Stormi says:

      You go girl! They’ll just be mad their wrong 😉 I have the samee problem ✨

  4. stormi says:

    Hi Cassey! I know this may sound extremely stupid but I have had body image issues since I was 7. I was always compared because I had to much muscle and didn’t weigh 45 lbs. I’m not plus sized but I was always bigger than the other girls. Want to know the messed up thing? Kids mannequins have beauty standards. Yep. It hurt me. Apparently I’m thin to my friends but I’m about 10 lbs overweight. One of my friends even insulted me saying “if you wanna loose 50 pounds stop eating like a pig, milk is unhealthy.” I remember going home and balling my eyes out. I try everything. My metabolism is too slow. Literally. I tried everything. Please help?

  5. Beau says:

    Dear Commenters on this Thread and Seeking Sincere Support
    I’m a fellow plus size girl it’s been a tough transition realizing I no longer fit into the clothes I have or am as slender as I used to be. Jameela Jamil’s podcast iWeigh has really helped me reframe my mindset around diet and weight loss and body image . Don’t let fitness influencers , celebrities with plastic surgeons and nutritionists and personal trainers make you feel bad about how you look. Cultivating body neutrality helped me while I’m recently restarting my fitness journey. It’s the mindset of seeing your body as a vehicle that, when treated with care, can help you move about the world in a way that brings you joy. That’s it. No thinking about how you look, either good or bad. Hope this helps in whatever small way.

    1. Tough but Trying says:

      Thank you so much for this!

  6. Dee says:

    Hi Cassey! Could you please help me overcome my weight plateau! I have been working out everyday and eating healthy, trying my best to avoiding any unhealthy processed food. I feel i have reached a stagnant point and not moving ahead. This gets kind of discouraging no matter how many times i try to look at the positives. Please help!

  7. Jasmine says:

    I’ve been struggling with bloating for 3 years now and I have bad anxiety. I am currently a teenage girl trying to lose weight, gain muscle, be flexible AND healthy all at the same time but I keep having these ‘off days’ where i just feel like sitting down 24/7 doing nothing at all: of course I get up a do the calendar that you have for us but while i’m doing it I break down into tears and feel worthless. My stomach is always bloated so I think ‘Maybe it’s my stomach that’s stopping me from seeing the results I want.’ I’m confused and I don’t know what to do about it. My whole life is filled with worry, exercise, diet, unhappiness, anxiety and being active. I know it’s hard to answer to what I’m saying but is there any answer that you may have or help me with? Thank you Cassie.

    1. Brittany says:

      Hey Jasmine – The bloating & anxiety might actually be from a GI condition called SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth). I was FINALLY diagnosed with it after struggling with very similar issues and having no idea what was going on! Even when I was doing everything “right.” I would highly recommend going to a GI doctor and outlining everything you’re dealing with (also mention SIBO because it is often under diagnosed!) It took me going to multiple doctors and feeling supremely crazy. The test is a simple breath test – not painful, not invasive. Bacterial overgrowth in your small intestine can cause major bloating because it feeds on the nutrients in food you eat (really simple, healthy food can make it worse – apples, avocados, sweet potatoes, for example – they are high in FODMAPs which help the bacteria thrive.) It’s really important to get SIBO diagnosed and treated because the bacteria can cause nutrient deficiencies and then you end up with low micronutrients (Vitamin D, magnesium, etc) It finally took my micronutrients to become low enough for a doctor to take everything I was saying seriously and test me. I really hope you can get tested & treated (it does take a while to completely heal bc it has a tendency of coming back… I’m still on the road to recovery.) I hope that makes you feel a little less anxious! And if it’s not SIBO, I bet a GI doc might have helpful solutions for the bloating & anxiety – the brain & gut are super connected!!
      <3 Your anxious + bloated + active sister over here

  8. Mai says:

    Hi Cassey,

    I’m starting my fitness journey after what feels like months of being in quarantine (better late than never though amiright?). I ultimately had two goals in mind: get lean and toned, and to also work on running long distance. Do you think it would be too much to run cardio in the morning (twice a week), then work out 5-6 times throughout the week in the afternoon?

    I want to practice running cardio, but don’t know how to fit that while doing the July workouts! I love doing your workouts and honestly it brings me such joy to be able to finish a whole video! <3

  9. Julia says:

    Dear Seeking Sincere Support,
    Sometimes it feels lonely, but please remember that you are never alone. There are always other people going through similar struggles. Also, please remember that you are worthy, and do not listen to the haters. Instead, feel bad for the haters, they must not be super happy with themselves if they have to criticize others. I am sending so much love. I don’t know you, but I know that you are doing great and remember to give yourself credit and stay proud ❤️

  10. Meghan says:

    I work out only for my body image. Everyone (and the scale) tells me I’m skinny bordering underweight, but I just don’t see it. Looking in the mirror, I see curvy thighs almost touching each other and I hate it. All the fitness influencers I follow say that weight and body image should never be the motivation behind working out, but that is what fuels me.
    I think it’s okay to want to be skinny. I think it’s okay to follow the fashion. It’s the trend of the moment, no different from what shoes you wear.

  11. Emily says:

    I hope Question Asker knows how proud we are of them! It’s really hard comparing ourselves to others but you’ve been working so hard on your fitness journey! The POPsters are your new cheerleaders!! Woo! Xx

  12. Madi says:

    Dear seeking sincere support. I can understand you because I loss weight very hard😭. But never give up. You can do it. Yes is hard. Yes is terrible. But just think about how you feel after workout. I know is hard to be the fat girl… I’m the same. But I don’t want to give up. I can do that. My dear we can do it. All my love.

    Dear Cassey,
    Thank you for your workouts, for your time. I really appreciate for your advice, your talking and your support from the videos. When I feel very down I watch your videos and I start to do the exercises. And I feel better. I love you so much.

  13. Amy Slater says:

    Hi Cassey,
    Is it okay to wear a sports bra and activewear everyday, how many days should you wear where activewear for?

    1. Cassey says:

      It doesn’t really matter! Wear activewear whenever you want.

  14. Freaky eatter says:

    Hi Cassey, I have lately been gaining a lot of weight in this lock down. I am a college goer and previously due to my busy schedule I managed to stay quiet fit even without any work out. But now since I am out of my schedule it’s getting quite difficult to maintain my weight and I’ve been trying to follow your work out plans however since I have never been into the work out thing it is really difficult to stay motivated.

  15. Aw, I would love to be your Fitness friend. So it’s not so lonely 🙂

  16. GlowOwl112 says:

    Hi Cassey, I’m ‘technically’ a healthy weight for my size (I’m basically a hobbit) however as much as my main aim on my fitness journey is to get fitter and put on muscle I also know I could easily lose weight to be even healthier (6lbs for an ideal body fat %). I really do want to lose some weight to feel more confident and to just be happy in the knowledge that whatever my brain see in the mirror that day, the numbers don’t lie and I’m healthy and beautiful no matter what lies my brain sees.
    I’m lucky that my boyfriend supports me, but everyone else in my life either doesn’t approve of exercise or actively trying to improve my diet and they DEFINITELY don’t like that I want to lose weight. They think it’s unhealthy or unnecessary and I feel kind of stupid because ‘I’m too fit to want to lose weight’ and I’m too small to feel bad about my body..
    Do you have any advice for how to stay positive and not feel guilty for not being fat enough or unfit enough to feel bad about myself or want to lose weight? I’m tired of people bigger than me telling me to shut up about my body because I’m tiny. Plus, being small, the tiniest weight gain shows on me. You don’t have to be overweight to feel insecure in your body and I wish didn’t always feel like I had to explain myself to people and justify my feelings.

    (I love you btw Cassey ❤️)
    From a Small Hobbit Girl

  17. Liz says:

    As someone who has been the larger person in fitness classes and felt like I did not fit in, it is ALL about the community you have around you. I totally understand where you are coming from, and it can be really hard.
    There are a lot of people in the fitness world (honestly, any community) that are mean, that are cliquish, and that generally don’t care about others who are outside their “group” (just look at what is happening in the CrossFit community right now!) However, there ARE fitness communities out there that are supportive, that just want to work out with you and celebrate your victories, whatever they may be. It took me about two years to find one in my city, and when I did the change was immense. The community I am a part of now is incredibly diverse, and is just a group of people who love sweating it out and challenging each other. I loved this place so much I became certified myself and now teach there. I know it can be hard to not have that, and feel like you are being judged and don’t fit in anywhere. Don’t give up. Keep trying new classes, follow instructors online, find YOUR fitness family. It IS out there. Good luck, and congrats on everything you’ve achieved so far.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Dear Cassey,
    How can I become more confident?
    I’ve realised within myself that I get insecure or even jealous so easily. Small triggers like my boyfriend talking to or about another woman (for example just mentioning a co-worker etc., something completely innocent) will trigger me into a crazy spiral of suspicion that I luckily realise is unfounded and more about me than him. BUT- even though I realise it, it can still keep me up at night (imagining ridiculous hypothetical scenarios) and just drains me of motivation for anything because I feel so worthless. And often I’ll feel so bad about the fact that I’m so insecure so that doesn’t help either.

    I know this all comes from just having waves of insecurity so I would like to know what you do to build confidence and be more self assured. <3

  19. Ginger says:

    Hi Cassey,

    I am a 14 year old girl and I started my fitness journey last year but have been more consistent with it from the start of this year. I really need some advice on how to stay motivated.

    Recently I have been having a hard time finding workouts that I like, most of them are either too hard or I’m not excited to do them. I have also tried following different workout programs that promise a flatter belly or rounder butt, but when I don’t get the results I feel discouraged.

    Another unmotivating factor is my food. I am Pakistani so a lot of our food is oily and not the healthiest. But my family doesn’t want me to completely stop eating our traditional food and to be honest neither do I. So I don’t know what I should do because I think my traditional food might be stopping me from getting the results I want but I also don’t want to stop eating it completely either.

    I have also recently been having a lot of mental breakdowns because of how I look and because I’m not getting the results I want.

    Do you have any advice for the above questions?

    Sending lots of love,
    Lacking Motivation

    1. Tough but Trying says:

      I know exactly what you are going through. I am also 14 and have trouble staying motivated with my workouts. What I’ve found that helps is jumping around different types of workouts till I find one that is fun and I like. I am currently doing a lot of dance workouts because I love bow they make me feel. As for the food problem, the closest thing I have to that is my family eats a lot of sugar that’s hard to say no too. How I’ve dealt with that is only saying yes to it sometimes. You dont have to completely stop eating your traditional foods, but maybe eating them in smaller quantities or less often. These are just some suggestions, idk if they’ll help, but I hope they will!
      Stay Strong,
      Here to Help