The Time I Was Fat Shamed At The Gym

The Time I Was Fat Shamed At The Gym

Keep your comments to yourself, please and thank you.
192
views

As a millennial, I am all too aware of the negative impact that the media has on the minds of young women. I was raised to try my best to ignore the media's false illusion of what a perfect body is, and instead love what I was given. Although I’ll admit that I sometimes do dream of a body that is different from mine, I have never really felt unhappy with my own. I think it’s normal, almost natural to be insecure. With our constant exposure to false realities via social media, it’s almost impossible not to compare ourselves to others.

With that said, I believe that it is essential that we support one another. That we compliment each other. That we don’t EVER intentionally make someone else feel like he/she is not perfect enough...because I really did not think that it would be the words of another woman that would make me feel uncomfortable with my own appearance.

A few weeks ago, my friend and I decided to start going to the gym a few times a week to get in shape. I had just finished my Freshman year of college and it was clear to me that the “Freshman 15” had done its job. However, my decision to start working out more often was based more on feeling unhealthy and inactive, rather than feeling “overweight” or “fat.”

Luckily, my membership came with one free lesson with a personal trainer. We figured that we would learn a few exercises with the trainer to be able to work out on our own for the rest of the summer. However, as soon as we sat down with her, it was evident that she would try to lure us into signing up for long term training.

Now, while I know that employees will do just about anything to sell their services, I was completely unaware that anyone would use “body shaming” as a tactic to get there. She began by creating a "health diary” for us and asking us questions about our diet and daily activity. She inquired about our weight and health goals and discussed how she would help us achieve them.

So far, fair game.

What came after made me want to slap this woman across the face. I’m still not really sure why I didn’t. She told us both to get on the scale. I voiced my undesirability to do so. I have never owned a scale, and have only ever weighed myself at annual checkups at the doctor’s office. My personal philosophy has always been that if I feel and look healthy, the numbers don't mean much. I knew that if I saw them, they would only consume me.

However, despite this, the trainer proceeded to tell me that it was mandatory that I do so. Even after I told her “no!” she continued to pressure me to get on the scale. I'm not sure why I felt like I had to. What would've happened if I hadn't listened? I was the paying customer, after all.

My friend got on the scale first. I then stepped on, dreading the number that would appear. “See?” the trainer said to my friend, pointing to the scale, “She weighs more than you!”

HOLD ON. What? Who even asked you, you amateur, unprofessional, idiotic woman? I don’t know what compelled the trainer to say this, but it frustrated me. Who was she to compare MY body to anyone else’s? If I had wanted to be compared, I would’ve asked to be compared.

She then had us hold up a technological device that (supposedly) measures the percentage of fat in your body. It came to be that my fat count was higher than that of my friend. I don’t think that I would’ve noticed this discrepancy, or really cared if the trainer would not have felt the need to then say, “Wow. Look at that- she has more fat than you!” This really caught me off guard. I kind of just shut my mouth, but I’m pretty certain that my face mirrored my thoughts.

Oh, but the fun didn’t stop there. This woman was having a great time roasting my a** and treating me like I was on an episode of “America’s Biggest Loser.”

The trainer matched my height and weight on a clearly outdated chart she had curated from Satan himself. According to the chart, not only was I not considered “lean,” or “ideal” but my body was ranked “average”.. closer to “obese” than not. She then told me that if I were to lose 20 pounds, I would be in the correct place for my height. I was mortified. I’m not delusional. I know I’ve never been the “super- model skinny” type, but not once in my life had I felt overweight prior to this experience. I just fail to understand how she felt so confident saying this to my face.

The “fat shaming” saga only ended after the trainer took us into the training room to “teach” us a few basic exercises. We had emphasized the fact that we had never worked with a trainer before, and that therefore our performance would probably be far from impressive. Nonetheless, we were essentially harassed for “being out of shape.”

The woman had a new hire watch us as well, so that he could learn how to harass people, too! Turns out he was even worse than her.

Throughout the session, the new hire said things like “see- their basic knowledge of exercise and form is completely lacking.” And, “wow, they’re way too young for their bodies to be shaking like that.”

I left the gym that day feeling really distressed and flustered. On the one hand I knew that these people would say just about anything to get us to pay them what they wanted. But it was also too hard for me to ignore and completely disregard all the comments they had just made about my body.

The next day I walked around feeling like an "oompa loompa." It was difficult not to stare at myself in the mirror every time I passed it, just to pick at another part of my body that was “too big.”

But I do think that there is a lesson to be learned from this experience. I often struggle to speak up. I’ve never been one for confrontation and usually shut my mouth when I feel attacked. I now realize from this story that not only should I have spoken up, but because I didn’t- I really hurt myself.

No one is allowed to comment on my body. No one is allowed to tell me that it’s not perfect enough. And no one is allowed to push me to do something I don’t want to do.

Although I really don’t think that their words will ever completely leave me, I refuse to allow them to take over my entire life. I will NOT only eat salad every day, or jog until I feel like I’ll faint. All I can do is my best. The body that I have is the one that I will have for the rest of my life- I might as well learn to love it.

And for all the trainers out there, please remember: you can motivate someone hundreds of ways…don’t let body shaming be one of them.

Cover Image Credit: google

Popular Right Now

22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

51059
views

"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's illustration

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Here's Why That Infamous Social Media Cleanse Is Exactly What You Need This Summer

You may have heard a friend say they're taking a break from social media.

103
views

You know yourself better than anyone else. You're probably reading this on a phone, desktop, or tablet device. These days, people have a reliance on technology that I couldn't even imagine 14 years ago. We are hardwired to our devices and this won't change anytime soon. We eat, breathe, and sleep with our smartphones in hand. The smartphones not being able to leave people's hands is not just because they want to text and call. The smartphones not being able to leave people's hands is largely due to social media.

We go back and forth among apps, from Twitter to Facebook to Snapchat to Instagram to LinkedIn to Google+ to WhatsApp. Social media is weird in that it lets you instantly share information, ideas, interests (career interests), and essentially yourself. In the palm of your hand is someone's life that they choose to publicly share. Social media dictates how we connect with organizations, communities, and individuals. The whole social media in the palm of your hand thing makes it seem impossible to disconnect. However, nothing's impossible.

The social media cleanse is something you can consider, if you need to disconnect. Personally, I do not see any reason to take a detox anytime soon but it is always a good idea to get your head out of your phone. It is crazy how much we use social media on a daily basis. If you are an iPhone user, you can see the breakdown of applications used by checking your battery usage. It is truly more important to pay attention to what is going on in the real world. It can be hard to remember just how much we use these sites and apps actually to be social. If you want to disconnect, you need to understand you will be missing crucial information.

People use social media to be social whether it's sharing a meme on Instagram or inviting friends to an event via Facebook; you wouldn't want to miss the Facebook invite. By breaking away from social media, you can remember what life was like before Instagram and Snapchat notifications plastered your phone screen. Social media is instantly gratifying, and you may not want that. You can delete the applications off your phone and take a break if needed. A social media detox may be beneficial for some, and if I ever find it necessary for myself, I will not hesitate. There are pros and cons, and as I said before, you know yourself best.

Social media should not control your life. A friend recently posted on his Instagram story that "Instagram is toxic" and that he'll be taking a break. By him taking a break, it really opened my eyes as to how social media makes everyone feel. Some people like Instagram, and other people like my friend can happily live without it. I was still able to see him in person and to call and text. A social media detox can be beneficial. Maybe this summer, you'd like to see yourself use less social media. Delete the application off your smartphone, turn off your tablet, or close the Internet window on your computer. Maybe a social media cleanse is needed -- you be the judge.

Cover Image Credit:

https://www.pexels.com/photo/apple-applications-apps-cell-phone-607812/

Related Content

Facebook Comments