Being Plus Size at the Gym and Healthy Eating

You know when you’re both equally excited to write about something and terrified as you don’t know how it will be perceived? Well that’s me right now with my upcoming series. At the end of last year after many months of being incredibly achy thanks to a car accident, my friend and I decided to join the gym. He wanted to do so to lose weight, and I just wanted to be able to go about daily life without constant pain. However, as soon as you start going to the gym as a plus size person, you’re hit with tonnes of questions and expectations. What is your goal? What size do you want to be? How much weight do you want to lose? It’s hard to make people understand that no matter what size I am, I will be happy with it and I’m not doing this to lose weight.
People also perceive that I am wanting to become ‘healthier’ as if I wasn’t a healthy person to start with and that probably annoys me the most. Which is why I wanted to write about my experience with going to the gym, what I’ve been eating, and obviously with being a fashion blog, what I’ve been wearing. I wanted it to be a series where plus size women could find good gym wear, where anyone could find healthier food options and where people could read and hopefully realise that you don’t have to lose weight if you don’t want to.


Being Plus Size at the Gym and Healthy Eating, shemightbeloved, georgina grogan
I thought that if I’m going to be going to the gym to work on my back, it would be pointless to eat rubbish (not that I did much before but to just cut it out completely as it never bothered me) and feeling a little hungry after looking at photos from the Clean and Lean lifestyle, I decided to adapt to that. Basically the Clean and Lean lifestyle is not eating anything processed (foods that haven’t changed from their natural state) so most of our meals normally contain a variation of spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, nuts, spring onions, eggs, salmon, chicken, tuna, prawns, broccoli, leaks, beetroot, rye bread and peppers to just name a few. My family have always ate pretty healthily, until it came to running out of food and no one could be bothered to go food shopping, that’s when we would slip. However, this time after we have all been genuinely enjoying the food, so we’ve made the effort to ensure we have the right stuff in to carry it on.
Eating non-processed food isn’t as expensive as everyone thinks as there will be a lot of food that you’re cutting which are processed, full of sugar or are deemed as ‘unhealthy’ (in large portions anyway). If anything our food shopping for 4 has been roughly the same amount if not a little cheaper and much more enjoyable. I decided to cut out fizzy pops and milk due to not really caring for them. I’ve also quit unnecessary alcohol (dates, catch ups and meals out are deemed as necessary though) and I don’t really have much sugar at all, other than what comes in fruit. Of course, if you are wanting to lose weight then these lifestyle changes can really encourage weight loss.
Being Plus Size at the Gym and Healthy Eating, shemightbeloved, georgina grogan
Being Plus Size at the Gym and Healthy Eating, shemightbeloved, georgina grogan

Being Plus Size at the Gym and Healthy Eating, shemightbeloved, georgina groganWith the Gym I was a little worried about hurting myself further, however, now that I’ve had enough time for my muscles to rest and they’re still incredibly achy, moving is the next step for me. Being plus size and heading to the gym in January absolutely terrified me after what everyone thinks about ‘January gym goers’ and so on, you’ve probably seen and heard all the comments. Although, I imagine the gym can be a scary place for people of all sizes who are going for the first time. I must admit I was absolutely petrified, but now I’ve even been to the gym alone. I find it incredibly enjoyable and relaxing. I realised that no one is actually staring at you like you think they are, they don’t care, they’re there for their own reasons too and everyone is just getting on with it. I also like that I get to ignore my emails for an hour or two and make myself tired or sometimes more inspired before bed.

I obviously consulted a personal trainer and doctor beforehand as I’m still due an MRI scan to see what’s going on and I would definitely recommend for anyone with an injury to consult professionals first and seek advice. For myself I’ve found that for my lower back aches going on the exercise bikes with back rests, rowing machines on a low resistance, weights on the lowest levels and short walks on the treadmill are the best exercises for me. Unfortunately, being a naturally competitive person, although I’m not intending to lose weight, I have been setting mini goals at the gym but in more of a way of improving my back by doing more and more every time.
Being Plus Size at the Gym and Healthy Eating, shemightbeloved, georgina grogan


For anyone who’s tried exercising with an injury, you’ll know that it’s very easy to over push yourself which is why some days I end up even achier. Through this I can safely say that my best advice would be to take things at your own pace, don’t think you have to be that guy running next to you, or the lady who’s cycling her heart out. An understanding and non-pushy gym buddy is also great for this, but just take things easy and remember the most important thing (as long as you’ve been cleared for it) is to move.
This is just an opening introduction to my series and to put any questions at bay. I haven’t really been posting much about going to the gym until very recently due to how I know it could come across, so I hope this cleared up anything and next week I’ll be moving onto the funner things such as bras, clothes and shoes!
  • Good for you! I hope the gym helps, being in constant pain sounds horrible. I have also started going to the gym a couple of times a week because I want to feel better (after sitting at a desk all day, I just have to get moving), and it really annoys me when people think it’s just to lose weight.

    • It is, for example I am crying today haha! Exactly my point! I’m at home all day working and I just need to MOVE haha! I hope we both keep it up and just ignore people 🙂 x

  • I think its great to highlight that going to the gym isnt just for loosing weight. I barely exercise and when I do try its mainly because after the workout or warmup i feel less stress in my shoulders and back from the day. x

    • I never believed that exercising made you happy, I thought it was just a trick, but I do believe it now! 🙂 x

  • Great post, with a very valid point that being fit and healthy doesn’t mean being skinny. I’m looking forward to following your journey.

  • Lucy Johns

    Ah what a great post, it is so important to highlight that going to the gym does not automatically mean weight loss. As long as you’re confident and happy, that’s all that matters. Cannot wait to read the rest, especially what you wear to the gym, being a plus size gal myself, it’ll be great to see some outfit inspiration from you!

    Love Lucy xxx

    • Thank you hun! This is exactly what I wanted people to hear 🙂 xx

  • Thanks for posting this! As a larger woman and having an anxiety disorder that revolves around social situations I’ve always been too nervous to go to the gym alone and none of my friends are interested in going with me so I purchased a pilates machine to use at home. Like you, my goal isn’t to lose weight but to become healthier at whatever size I happen to be. Weight loss would just be a nice side effect. I look forward to reading and being inspired by your series!

    • Aw thank you for such a lovely comment! Sometimes exercising at home can be amazing but I feel that I work harder at the gym as there’s more options so I don’t get bored. You should it sometime, you never know you may love it like I do! xx

  • I don’t go to gyms because I don’t want to deal with the staring and the silent judging, which is a shame.

    • It’s honestly not bad at all! I was terrified but if anything people are friendly!

  • Karen

    I would love to be able to eat healthier and cut out a lot of the sugar and crap, but I have a real problem even trying new foods. Although your food looks beautiful, anything raw gives me the weirdest creeps ever! I’m good with a variety of vegetables and fruit, but no salads, raw veggies, sauces, fish etc! It makes me feel really bad when I see how well so many other people eat, but I just can’t be like that! I eat at least five portions of fruit and veg a day, but I do like ham, cake and biscuits too!!
    I do a lot of exercise but couldn’t cope with the gym, I’d end up wanting to hurt somebody in there if they gave me on of their pre-judging looks! My husband started going a year ago, and although morbidly obese, he is super fit, flexible and strong. He still gets the looks from the gym bodies, judging him for being fat and being in there, but fortunately although it winds him up, he will go anyway as he enjoys it and knows it must piss them off that somebody of his size is fitter than them!

    • Awww bless you! I have quite a few people in my life who are like that and it’s difficult for them, but slowly if you try introducing little things, you may find yourself coming around to it!

      Hahah It’s tempting but usually it’s just the same as what you’d give out in a more of a ‘wish I was working as hard as them’ kind of look, but they do come across as bitchy haha! I love that, it truly proves than you can be fit at any size! Tell him to keep up the good work and never let them put him off! 🙂

  • Lilly Hoyland

    I had exactly the same issue the other day. Don’t get me wrong, I am actively trying to lose weight as well. I have 5st that has crept on since I started driving and working shifts, but the main goal of going to the gym was to strengthen my core for pole dancing, and to become aerobically fit enough to pass a bleep test for future job prospects. But the first thing I was asked was ‘how much do you want to lose?’

    • It’s so annoying! We just want to get stronger and be able to do more things! Pole dancing sounds amazing, maybe I’ll move onto that when my back is better!

  • This post made me hungry haha! I’ve lost over 8 stone so far with a few left to go. Dropped from a size 26 to a current size 16/18. It’s hard work but if you want it enough the stares in the gym and the pain is totally worth it! Good luck xxx

    • Gosh what an achievement! As I said, I’m not really looking to lose weight but it’s fantastic that you’ve stayed so motivated! xx

  • Great post and I’m glad you wrote it and published it. I look forward to reading the series.
    As you rightly said, I think everyone feels or is judged when they walk into a gym. I’ve actually decided to not sign up to a particular gym, as even at my lightest weight before having a baby I felt very much like a duck out of water when I’d move to the weights area. I could feel the eyes of the all the guys and I swear if I hadn’t of left, one or a few of them may have passed out from holding their breathe to ‘puff’ themselves up to look bigger. I felt like a female peacock with these guys strutting around and flexing..
    Your meals look amazing, you eat so much better than I, I wish I had the will power when it comes to eating better.. I just tend to not


    • Hahaha I completely know what you mean with the weight area! We’re at a 24 hour gym so we go for a wonder when it’s really quiet! Not eating is the worst thing for you though, I can go hours without food but it does more damage than good! It really helps to just not have any tempting food in the house at all, that’s worked best for me as I can’t just go and grab something quick, I have to make the effort to make it 🙂 xx

  • sara smith

    Personally I’m looking forwards to being able to go back to the gym, and I *know* I’m going to get all kinds of looks from turning up with a brace, but to me I’d rather get fitter and back to where I was before last July and then better. For me, it would be nice to lose some of the weight that went on due to being immobilised for so long, but that’s not my raison d’etre for the gym it’s purely to rehabilitate and get myself as good as I’m going to be. Hoping it sorts out the niggles I’m feeling from overcompensation on my right side as well.
    I too am really looking forwards to some inspiration over outfits for larger ladies for the gym – I’ve got an old t-shirt and shorts that was my ‘gym kit’ – does the job, but not necessarily stylish….

    Big thumbs up from me!

    Sara xx

  • Meaghan

    Thank you for a very thoughtful post. It’s unfortunate that there are still people that associate being plus size with leading an extremely unhealthy lifestyle. Over the past couple of years I have been slowly changing aspects of my diet, because I want to be healthy. I didn’t do it to lose weight, but more to gain energy and to extend my life.

    Good luck! I can’t wait to read the rest of your series. Xx

  • Sophia King

    I now embarking on a healthier lifestyle with more exercise for the same reason as you. I had a car accident 12 months ago and fractured my spine, which flared up a pre-existing issue and I have suffered pain since. I was really scared of exercise because every time I tried to do anything I would be in agony. I’ve since had an MRI and it has revealed lower chronic back pain. It was a massive shock to me as I went from being incredibly active and flexible to basically having the body of an 80 year old! I was becoming dependent on painkillers and felt really low so decided to try pilates! I have now been doing pilates for about 4 months and have noticed a huge difference. I am now able to walk for longer without pain and am sleeping better! I’m actually being referred to physio too so fingers crossed I’ll be back to my usual self soon! I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying your rehab too and hope it continues to go well! We’re too young to have bad backs!! xx

  • I loved this post, it’s really inspiring to see that no matter what fitness level, shape, size you are the gym IS for everyone and it shouldn’t exclude plus size. Everyone is there for their personal reasons & I think it’s great that you’re sorting your back out. My husband is currently do the same thing with me, whilst I try and lose the excess weight I’ve gained since we got married. The meals look delicious & I will certainly be trying some of the options you have suggested!
    Rebecca xxx