The Time I Was Fat Shamed At The Gym

The Time I Was Fat Shamed At The Gym

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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

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An Open Letter To The Girl Trying To Get Healthy Again

"I see you eating whatever you want and not exercising" - Pants
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Dear girl trying to get back in shape,

I know it's hard. I know the hardest thing you may do all day is walk into the gym. I know how easy it is to want to give up and go eat Chicken McNuggets, but don't do it. I know it feels like you work so hard and get no where. I know how frustrating it is to see that person across the table from you eat a Big Mac every day while you eat your carrots and still be half of your size. I know that awful feeling where you don't want to go to the gym because you know how out of shape you are. Trust me, I know.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Trying To Lose Weight In College


The important thing is you are doing something about it. I'm sure you get mad at yourself for letting your body get this out of shape, but life happens. You have made a huge accomplishment by not having a soda in over a month, and those small changes are huge. I understand how hard it is, I understand how frustrating it is to not see results and I understand why you want to give up. Being healthy and fit takes so much time. As much as I wish you could wake up the day after a good workout with the 6 pack of your dreams, that just isn't the reality. If being healthy was easy, everyone would do it, and it wouldn't feel so good when you got there.

Remember how last January your resolution was to get back in the gym and get healthy again? Think about how incredible you would look right now if you would have stuck with it. The great thing is that you can start any time, and you can prove yourself wrong.

Tired of starting over? Then don't give up.

You are only as strong as your mind. You will get there one day. Just be patient and keep working.

Nothing worth having comes easy. If you want abs more than anything, and one day you woke up with them, it wouldn't be nearly as satisfying as watching your body get stronger.

Mental toughness is half the battle. If you think you are strong, and believe you are strong, you will be strong. Soon, when you look back on the struggle and these hard days, you will be so thankful you didn't give up.

Don't forget that weight is just a number. What is really important is how you feel, and that you like how you look. But girl, shout out to you for working on loving your body, because that shit is hard.

To the girl trying to get healthy again, I am so proud of you. It won't be easy, it will take time. But keep working out, eating right, and just be patient. You will be amazed with what your body is capable of doing.

Cover Image Credit: Stock Snap

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As A Plus Size Woman, 'Sierra Burgess Is A Loser' Is Offensive And I'm Not Here For It

The first teenage plus size romcom and she can only get the guy through catfishing? Rude.

tiannat
tiannat
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As of now, most teenage girls have watched "Sierra Burgess Is A Loser" on Netflix, probably because we all have a love for high school romances and Noah Centineo's face. I was interested in the film after watching "To All The Boys I Loved Before" because it was the definition of a fantastic teen love story. So, when I saw another Netflix love story that also featured Noah Centineo, I was all in. However, the film was right, Sierra Burgess is a loser. The film had a perfect opportunity to showcase a plus size teen girl dealing with relationships in high school but turned into a catfishing fiasco stuffed with backhanded confidence and offensive underlying messages.

1. She is introduced as an average teenage girl. 

http://www.futureofpersonalhealth.com

The film begins with Sierra getting ready for the day. As she gets out of the shower, they show a shot of her feet, which is something not everyone pays much attention to. However, for me, I notice that her legs and ankles aren't super tiny, which is something I can relate to because I am also a plus size teen. She looks at herself in the mirror, wet hair and all, and positively affirms herself, something that I totally appreciate. If the film would've continued on this route, I would've loved it.

2. The bullying is unnecessary. 

https://maggieandbeth.tumblr.com/

What's a high school movie without some bullying? Well, in this case, it is so unnecessary. Sierra gets bullied for her appearance but only by the classic mean girl, Veronica. No one else really seems to care about her appearance. She isn't ugly, Sierra was actually fairly pretty. Sure, she was a little awkward but why does the attention of being plus size always have to be taken in a negative way?

3. Meeting Jamey was actually meant to make fun of her. 

http://bcnoist.tumblr.com/

The whole reason Sierra even gets Jamey's number is that Veronica was making fun of her. I understand that this was just a part of the bullying but the entire situation was doomed from the beginning. After Sierra realized that Jamey was not actually expecting to talk to her, she should have admitted the truth. Who knows? Maybe he would've liked her? I mean it was her personality that won him over, even if he was imagining Veronica's face.

4. The whole basis behind the lying was because she was ashamed of her appearance. 

http://livelovecaliforniadreams.tumblr.com

Again, going back to her appearance, SIERRA WAS NOT UNATTRACTIVE. However, the classic skinny, popular girl seemed more appealing, yet I do believe that if Jamey knew it was actually Sierra, he would have been down for it. But, because her hair, her makeup, and her body isn't "perfect," she feels the need to lie.

If I watched this movie as an insecure teenager, what would it have taught me? That if you don't look like a Veronica and more like a Sierra, the best option is to lie about who you truly are. Um, no. Wrong answer.

5. Then, she has this crazy breakdown. 

https://adrideran.tumblr.com/post/

Honey, no. We all understand that everyone has insecurities, but what happened to the magnificent beast at the beginning of the film? Where did she go?

Go and get your Jamey already, be proud of your appearance. You're great.

6. "You're not exactly everyone's type, but you're my type."

https://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/

I'm sorry, but no girl wants to hear, "You're not exactly everyone's type." I know that is endearing because he actually ends up liking her. Yet, why was that necessary whatsoever? If you like her, you like her. There was absolutely no need to bring up her insecurities. I just think that this should not have been the resolution. I believe there was a perfect opportunity for him to say something like, "I like you because you're you," or "You're perfect to me." His approach just seems like a backhanded compliment.

At the end of the day, sure, Jamey and Sierra end up together. However, why does a movie about a plus size girl have to only cater to her personality? I'm sorry, but this is showing a completely negative light on the topic.

It tells plus size girls that they will only be loved for their personality and not their appearance. But, I would like to say, all women are beautiful and I want to see a movie where the boy falls for her, for all of her, not just for her personality. Make that and I guarantee it would have done WAY better than this mess of a movie. Even comparing it to "To All The Boys I Loved Before," she wasn't perfect. Lara Jean was quiet, shy, and very reserved. She was beautiful but not known for being the prettiest girl at school. In fact, she usually went unnoticed. However, she still gets the hot jock that everyone teenage girl dreams of.

Overall, "Sierra Burgess Is A Loser" had the potential to inspire young women, yet I finished the movie feeling more insecure than when I started.

tiannat
tiannat

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