Skip to Content

Fat Woman Running: A Journey to Body Love

I'm a fat woman. Running is not something that comes naturally to most people, let alone plus size running.

When I started this journey, 6 weeks ago, I couldn't remember running since my Freshman year of high school during P.E. class.

Yet, twice a week I find myself putting one foot in front of the other. I'm amazed by what my body is capable of doing. While I'm still very early on in my fat woman running journey, I wanted to share 5 tips that helped me to become a fat woman running!


plus size woman running on green grass

5 Plus Size Running Tips

Disclaimer: Always check with your care provider before starting a new physical activity.

1. Throw the scale away!

Say what? Yes, I suggest you throw your scale away!

I can't even begin to explain how freeing it is to be physically active without my success being measured by a number on the scale.

In the past, I'd get into a new workout routine but the moment I didn't see the scale drop, I'd flop back on the couch. I started this journey without weighing-in and I have no idea what I currently weigh.

I'm measuring success in ways I would've never even factored in before; I sleep like a baby and can run for a longer period of time each week. I've noticed everyday tasks, like getting out of bed and tying my shoes, have become much easier to do.

I'm also experiencing less stress and a greater level of happiness in my daily life by all of the awesome endorphins that I'm producing.

Running for me isn't about weight loss. It's about learning to love the body I'm in today while making healthier choices for tomorrow.

2. Signup for a 5K

A 5k is just over 3 miles and most of these walks/runs are actually more like fun events!

Check out the Insane Inflatable 5K. The key is just selecting one and committing to it by registering.

Be sure to select a 5K that doesn't have any time cutoffs (most don't) and aren't just for runners.

If you're interested in running, you'll want to find a training program that's safe for you. By pushing yourself too hard too fast you'll not only burn out but you can injure yourself.

Lucky for me, I connected with Louise Green from Body Exchange. She helped me put together a customized interval walking and running program. Starting off by doing a 30-minute routine with walking for two minutes and jogging for one minute. I've s-l-o-w-l-y increased my time and pace each week.

You Might Also Like: Exercise Tips for Plus Size Moms by Louise Green

“I know people of all shapes and sizes who have had great success from programs like Couch to 5 K. I've witnessed hundreds of plus size women achieving their fitness goals through learning to run 5 and 10K runs. It's not about the weight. It's about believing in yourself, ignoring social static, pushing through our “perceived” limitations and adopting a no-limits mindset. The body is an amazing machine (big or small) and it will do whatever you train it to do if you allow your mind to join the party.”

Louise Green

3. Find Accountability Buddies

I'm not very good about being accountable to myself so I put together a Facebook group for my close friends to join me for my first 5K.

On the group, we're able to share times and locations where we'll be training to show up and support one another. We also share our struggles and accomplishments. I was surprised, when I started this, how so many of my thin friends were just as anxious to start this journey as I was.

Now they are progressing much faster than I am but they cheer me on every step of the way!

Don't feel limited if you don't have local friends who are interested in starting a new physical activity routine.

There are awesome online and Facebook support groups. You can also find long-distance friends and family members to be accountable to via text.

Text them when you're headed out to workout, share your accomplishments when you're done, and have them do the same!

4. Invest In Good Running Shoes & Sports Bras

So now you've laid a strong foundation by removing your scale from the equation, registering for a 5K and finding friends to be accountable to.

It's time to start getting active!

The last thing you want, after you've gotten all hyped up, is to injure yourself. Getting properly fit for a good pair of running shoes is critical.

This photo is me, wondering what I was doing about to run on a treadmill and get fitted for shoes at Runners Roost. But I did it!!!

And the results were actually pretty cool. I have great balance. Who knew?

I also found out the perfect shoes for me and overcome a fear.

Jen McLellan Selfie

New running shoes are an investment (mine were $150). I had already signed up for a 5K, so I knew I was committed to getting a lot of use out of them. You can cut that cost by at least a third by finding out what type of shoes you need and then buying them online where you can find awesome deals.

I'm just a sucker for a cute salesperson.

As for a sports bra, I did a search on Amazon for plus size sports bras and read a ton of reviews for plus size sports bras. I found a great plus size sports bra that works for my huge boobs. I also bought some great plus size workout clothes including 4XL leggings!

5. Believe in Yourself!

Rolling out of your comfy bed to hit the gym or go to a park is challenging enough.

Also being faced with people who are judging you from the moment you start to move is sometimes paralyzing. For me, if I'm not surrounded by people who support me, I'm hitting my local recreational center. I feel it's a safer space for plus size people to workout.

Beyond selecting a location that is more welcoming, I also believe in myself! I'm on this journey for me and if someone wants to laugh at my booty jiggling then that's their problem, not mine.

You'll probably encounter naysayers as well who will attempt to discourage you and to them I say…


The greatest gift I've gained through this experience is a deeper love for my body! This is just the beginning for me…

Fat Friendly Workout Clothes And Gear

back plus size sports bra

4xl leggings

plus size workout clothes

exercise ball high weight limit


If you're already loving an exercise routine, share below what you're doing. If you're not and want to join me, then share what your first step will be. 

If running sounds like some form of torture (I thought it was, and sometimes still do) then consider starting a local walking group or join a water aerobics class. I'd love to hear from you within the comments!

You Might Also Like: 7 Plus Size Pregnancy Exercise Tips


Jen McLellan, CBE
Follow me


Thursday 9th of June 2016

This is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing your journey.


Tuesday 14th of June 2016

Thanks so much for commenting Karen!


Friday 27th of May 2016

Any chance you want to share what sports bra fits giant boobs and work?


Sunday 29th of May 2016

Kelly I wear this one - :)


Friday 30th of May 2014

Thank you for sharing! I am on a quest for fitness right now. I guess I have always been on a quest for fitness, but lately I have amped it up. I try to get into the gym for an hour of cardio three times a week, a couple of easy walks with the kids throughout the week, a short (but intense) 25 minute workout called, T25, 2 times a week, Pilates one hour a week, Zumba one hour a week and a Bootcamp class. I might sound kind of freakish with my workouts right now since I try to do a couple of workouts a day, but I have never felt stronger! I don't always get to everything, but it's on my radar and on a normal week I have about 250-350 fitness minutes to celebrate. I would love to lose weight, but it seems my body does not know how to do that anymore. So, I just acquire muscle - lots and LOTS of muscle. So, cheers to big strong healthy baby-making bodies!


Monday 2nd of June 2014

That's awesome Nicole! I want to try Zumba one day soon.


Wednesday 21st of May 2014

This is awesome! You are so inspirational! I found I was somewhat good at long distance running when I was in the Army, and it was my workout of choice for a long time. That was, of course, until I rediscovered bicycling. Now I don't want to waste time running that could be spent biking, you know? Biking is soooo much fun. I would do it if it wasn't good for me. When you find something that you 're doing because it genuinely makes you feel good, that's amazing, isn't it? Also, I'm really getting into Derby Lite right now. Love, love, love strapping my skates on every Saturday morning. I may have to join an actual roller derby team some day. ;-)


Wednesday 21st of May 2014

Roller Derby sounds like a ton of fun Jessica!! I hope you do join a team and I can't wait to follow your journey with that. You're awesome!