I'll start off by emphasizing that I'm not the only one. I am one victim of internet trolls and bullies. I am not the first and I will not be the last.

In the society we've created and live in today, it's almost frowned upon to be a woman and live a healthy lifestyle. Hitting the gym every day is "obsessive," eating vegetables and chicken is "lame," and having abs is "disgusting" and "manly." What I think of as dedication and commitment, twice as many people are going to see as "gross" and "unattractive". Honestly, that's perfectly fine. That's your opinion and you're entitled to such. I've learned over time I'm not going to be everyone's cup of tea and I'm okay with that, but what I'm not okay with is fit-shaming.

To me, fit-shaming is the way someone attacks another person for their eating habits, their commitment to fitness, the amount of muscle they have on their body, the degree of leanness they have reached, or just their overall "fitness" lifestyle. It's incredibly similar to fat-shaming, just directed towards fit people instead. Fit-shaming usually takes place over the internet (thanks to our favorite keyboard warriors) and sometimes straight to the face. Sometimes they're disguised as backhanded compliments, but other times, they act as daggers to mental health and self-esteem. For example, the following comments are real and taken directly from my Instagram account:

You're anorexic

This picture is 1000% photoshopped lol


Oh honey! Praying for you

You look like a flamingo yuck

Your body is so ugly

Are you a man?

That's f*cking gross

You looked way better before

Is that a giraffe?

You look like a monster from Dark Souls 3, go eat a damn sandwich


You're messed up smh

You have a problem

If you think it sounds extreme, it isn't. It's ridiculous and it's real. Think of what would happen if I said any of the above relevant things to someone morbidly obese? I would be charged with hate crimes and bullying. Why does being fit and healthy make things any different? I workout and train because I love it, not for anyone else or for their judgment -- whether they approve or not. I don't ask people for what they think about my body, but for some reason they still feel inclined to tell me their opinions. (You know, because I totally work out to please them, I forgot.)

Remember, this is an inside look on my experiences alone--it doesn't even begin to dive into what thousands of other women are dealing with on their photos and posts every day. What implores another human to say these kinds of things? I will never understand the logic, reasoning, or motive behind these types of comments and I feel truly sorry for the men and women who go to these lengths to feel better about themselves. Your "concern" for how my body looks is not concern; it's hate, it's hurtful, it's insecurity.

I should note that each and every comment listed above was made by an individual I have never met or heard of in my entire life. They are strangers with one purpose, and one purpose alone: to let me know they are miserable in their own skin.

In a world of so much destruction and terror, we need to build each other up. We need to celebrate our accomplishments. We need to love our bodies, love the people we're becoming, and love the people in our corners. If you are, or have ever been, a victim of body-shaming, remember you can't please everyone and change what they think about you. At the end of the day, remember that you are more than just a body. You are an image of hard work that no money can buy. You are the epitome of passion, work ethic, self-respect, dedication, and discipline, and no one can take that away from you.