It's hard enough just getting to the gym, and the last thing anyone needs is others ridiculing them for their body or the way they workout.
But sadly, sometimes things like that happen, and we just have to pull through. One woman wrote about her personal experience of overcoming such negativity after allegedly being bullied repeatedly at her gym by fellow members. Instead of giving up, or finding another space, she wrote a powerful open letter to her bullies on the popular Internet forum Reddit.
"I'm the fat girl. This is my first week at the gym and every night after work, the same three girls are there. Today I found out they have been snap chatting pictures of me and making fun of me, but I don't mind. I'm glad that you haven't gone through what I've been through. I use [sic] to be in shape, I broke my hip and had to give up all exercise. Then my grandma got sick and I took care of her full-time, I couldn't leave her alone because I had no help, so I gained more weight. Then she died, and I ate my feelings and gained more weight. Now I'm a size 22. I don't hate myself, or my body. I love who I am, and that took me my entire life to be able to honestly say those words. I love myself. It really sucks that society, and your parents, raised you that it was OK to try to hurt someone that's trying to better themselves, instead of trying to lift them up. But I'm not mad. Thank you for reminding me to keep pushing after I had a really long day. In a month when the new year shit has worn off, I'm still going to be dieting and working my ass off at the gym everyday [sic]. It's not so you, or anyone else, will except [sic] me. It's for me. I hope anyone else, who feels ugly or is over weight [sic] and has decided to make a life change will keep going. Forget the skinny girls who laugh at you, or the muscly men that tell you you're gross, love yourself. Let's teach love, today's world needs it."
While most people would feel hurt and never want to go anywhere near the body-shamers again, this woman decided to turn the situation into a positive one.
She's using the experience to send a message about self-love, kindness, and understanding.
Since the letter was posted online five days ago, it has generated many comments. Users are sharing their own experiences of being bullied at the gym, while others are offering words of support, encouraging the writer to keep up her goal.
One part-time gym worker explained how some gyms have a zero-tolerance policy about harassment, "At our gym, we feel it's our responsibility to make sure our members feel safe and comfortable when walking through those doors. We have a zero-tolerance attitude when it comes towards [sic] people like that. Please don't let that bring you down, or discourage you ... Congratulations on your lifestyle change, keep up the good work!"
The Reddit user's post is similar to another woman's post explaining how she was shamed on the way to the gym. In her own viral open letter, she explained how she turned her anger into strength, and that she did not let negative words stand in the way of what she wanted to accomplish.