Being Called Fat Doesn’t Help Me Lose Weight Anytime Fitness

UPDATE: Comment moderation is ON. This post has received many comments from TROLLS and inconsiderate individuals calling me and my audience “fatties” “fat” “crazy” “overreacting” “racist” and the list goes on and on. If you are coming here to call us names, call ME names, promote your own blog, promote something I think is awful etc….it WILL be deleted and your IP address banned. My blog and therefore my rules. My community if full of overweight women struggling everyday to live healthier for their children. They don’t need anymore more abuse than they already receive. I will not tolerate any abuse toward my audience or myself. Period.

Uh oh, *Getting up on soapbox in a fit of rage…and hormonal because I’m pregnant so watch out*

I’m what you would call “formerly fat”. I was morbidly obese. A big girl. Someone who used to hide in my house and someone who NEVER went to the gym. When I lost all my weight, I did it at home all by myself. No one really helped me, other than Weight Watchers and Billy Blanks DVDs. (Update: Btw, these are NOT sponsors nor have I EVER been paid by either of these brands.)

I can tell you who DIDN’T motivate me to lose weight: elitist fitness people who would stare at me in disgust AND anyone who talked down to me about my weight

And yes, that happened. Frequently.

Obesity is a very serious problem in our society. It’s robbing people of life, energy, happiness and income. This is all true. And most of us have heard the statistics about how if you are overweight you are more likely to make less money than your colleagues of a normal weight. It’s not rocket science, it’s fact, and we discuss this all the time in Mamavation. In fact, this statistic was one of my primary factors in losing weight–because I didn’t want my kids to live through this like I had.

Now some people communicate this in love, and other people communicate this in disdain. You know how I said that elitist fitness people don’t motivate me to lose weight. Here is a perfect example of this–someone who is using this statistic and sensationalizing it to simply sell books. Here is the email I got yesterday:

Title: Anytime Fitness CEO says money is allergic to fat people

This is also a chapter title to his book.

Pardon me. This is my own sidebar after reading this title….WTF?

Body of Email:

Hi Leah,

Words you never expect to hear from the owner of the world’s largest coed fitness franchise are — working out sucks.  But this is no ordinary CEO and his book “Working Out Sucks” is no ordinary book. Anytime Fitness CEO Chuck Runyon’s first book, due out in December, is edgy and provocative and provides a blunt, modern-day take on health and fitness. It tackles societal influences (including Oprah and Apple), asks if parents of obese children should go to jail and raises eyebrows about smoking, seatbelts and much more.

Attached is a sneak preview of “Working Out Sucks”. I hope you will consider a piece on Chuck, his candid book, and how he’s evolved his entrepreneurial roots by building a 20 million dollar international business with a network of more than 1,700 franchises with such a strong following that members, franchise owners and employees are getting permanent tattoos of the company’s logo.

Thanks for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

I couldn’t get past the title of this email. Okay, now here’s the thing. I’m sorry, but when I see things like this, I automatically go back to how I felt years ago when I was morbidly obese. And people who said things like this were the LAST people I was listening to. They made me feel worse about myself, not better. They made me feel helpless, not empowered. They caused me to shut down, not open up. I can promise you, I wasn’t about to go to their gyms to workout while I was demeaned.

In my humble opinion, Chuck Runyon CEO of Anytime Fitness is part of the obesity problem, not the solution. He’s an elitist that looks down on “fat” people and wants to “show them the light.” But the reality is to help people who are overweight, you need to meet them where they are RIGHT NOW and encourage them. Not speak down to them and not make them feel powerless.

There is a very real bigotry problem in the United States and it’s against overweight people. And I can tell you that from a real life perspective, it’s real. People treat you differently when you are overweight. They discount you. They look over you. They don’t even notice you are there half the time. OR they say rude things about you behind your back and sometimes even to your face. And the saddest part of all, It’s socially acceptable. It’s okay for us to do this because “fat” people have a choice and no one feels sorry for people who have choices.

I say bullshit. Bigotry is bigotry. And people who talk like this only make the problem worse, not better.

*Stepping off soapbox*

If you would like to tell Chuck Runyon CEO of Anytime Fitness what you think about his book, you only need to tweet @AnytimeFitness to let him know. I’m not reading it. And I’m not ever going into an Anytime Fitness. (I’ve never seen on in California before anyways.) But that’s just me.

Mamavation
Leah Segedie is the Founder of Mamavation and Bookieboo, a blogger network. After losing over 100 lbs, she started a career mentoring women in health and since then has assisted in over 3,500 lbs lost via the Mamavation community. Leah and her work has been mentioned in Ladies Home Journal, Reader's Digest, Fitness, Women's Day, CNN, ABC, CBS, the O'Reilly Factor, AOL, Entrepreneur, and Yahoo to name a few. She works from home in her fuzzy slippers.
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Comments

  1. I got this email too. Definitely NOT the way to help people. I am with you on this one Leah, thanks for calling them out.

  2. Marie Nichols says:

    wow… let it all out Leah! I do agree with you. Not the way to help people.

  3. i can see why your upset, I mean the way to help others in enouragement not degradation and insulting.

  4. I am behind you on this 100%. People like this are exactly why I haven’t joined a gym. Thank you for standing up for us “fat” people.

  5. Called sensationalism – and they need that to have someone pick up that book and “buy it” I say call for a boycott of the book… and the establishment – show him how allergic to money we can make his business!!

    Oh – I have tweeted this out via my network… and I’l sure they’ll see it….. sooner than later!

    Good on you Leah!
    XOX

  6. WELL SAID LEAH! I am one of those fat girls and I think this is a lot of my issues with trying to lose weight because of all the talking… It hurts more then anyone will no. We don’t need anyone to tell us we are fat, we see it we feel it, we need support to rid ourselves of it!

  7. Leah-

    I’m not pregnant and hormonal, but I AM fat. And this pisses me off, BIG TIME. I was going to write a whole lot more, but I’m going to write my own blog post and send it , along with a tweet about how THIS fat gal isn’t allergic to money- she spends it on my gym that is supportive and all my lovely social media and things that garner support for my quest to lose weight.

    I’m seriously steamed.

  8. I can’t tell you how I feel about the title of that email because I can not put my disdain into words. To say I’m offended is an understatement.

    Here’s what I know – Yes, I’m fat. I’m overweight. I’m obese. I GET IT. I see it every time I look into a mirror. I see it every time I go into a run of the mill clothing store only to realize there is NOTHING in my size. I see it on the faces of judgmental people whether I’m at the gym or a restaurant. I absolutely do NOT need it pointed out.

    I have many MANY issues I’m working on to make my life better as well as to create a better life for my family however I am NOT working on them because of some misguided scare tactic from someone who happens to own a health/fitness club.

    MY OPINION – I can’t speak for anyone else but my weight issues have developed due to other issues related to self-image, disordered eating, insecurities, and negative self-esteem. Guess what Chuck, Scare tactics don’t resolve the underlying issues.

    I’d be curious to know what qualifies Chuck to make such an egregious statement. Has he ever felt the judgement of others because of a weight problem? Has he ever worked his ass off to lose weight to fit into society’s standard of normal? Has he ever battled any form of addiction to better understand the shame and disappointment that is already present as we succeed and fail time and time again? My guess is no – otherwise he would be more understanding and supportive instead of condescending and judgmental. And quite frankly, how does that build respect for anyone, Chuck included.

    Be the change you want to see in the world. I get that obesity is an epidemic, but instead of chastising the obese and overweight, empower them. Empower us…

    Rant over. Just livid that his ignorance will probably sell a lot of books and may even be nationally recognized which just condones a wider epidemic – ignorance. After all, I do not know a single overweight person that would say to you, “I’m fat because I like to be fat. It’s my goal in life. ” UGH!

  9. Since when does obesity take away someone’s humanity? Are we not still people who matter in this world?

    Fat people make him money everyday. If all he wants in his facilities are fit people maintaining their fitness, than he’s doing a good job at guaranteeing that’s what it will be.

  10. Monica carbajosa says:

    Could not have said it better myself!

  11. I’ve been training clients since 1997. I’ve trained thousands of hour now with all different shapes and sizes. When I first started I was super fit, rocked the skinny jeans and wondered if I’d be judgy when a heavier client came in.

    To my great relief I found I’ve only been compassionate. My sister has had a lifelong struggle with weight and I got where they were coming from and how hard they were trying and how devastating it was for them to ask me for help because they felt they couldn’t do it on their own. As you said, I met them where they were and began from there. A little bit stronger than the week before, a little bit more strength and muscle tone than the week before and we’d keep building and building. I’ve seen some amazing success stories. I’ve shared lots of happy tears and hugs.

    The last couple years as I’ve gotten older (and more into social media) I’ve found the struggle with the weight kicking in and as an incredibly educated person from the fitness industry to struggle with my weight is just maddening. I appreciate even more what my clients feel because they’re struggling with less information.

    For the owner of a gym to basically look disdainfully at 66% of the US population is pretty stupid. He’s cutting off his nose to spite his face.

    But look at it this way, only 15% of any given local population is a member of a gym. And that’s just being a member that doesn’t mean that they actually go … there are hundreds of ways to get in shape that don’t involve going into a brightly and badly lit box with blaring music and jangling colors.

    Perhaps instead of his elitist attitude he should think about how to promote wellness within his facilities and get higher percentage of buy in from his members. Oh wait, that would increase wear and tear on his equipment and would cost him more money … maybe this is all just a clever ploy to get people to fork over money every month and then not show up. That’s the most profitable business model in our industry, they even have a name for it “head shop.”

    Kudos to you Leah for standing up and crying foul. Go get ‘em honey.

    Lisa

  12. Chuck Runyon says:

    Leah,

    You are correct when you say, “Obesity is a very serious problem in our society. It’s robbing people of life, energy, happiness and income. This is all true. And most of us have heard the statistics about how if you are overweight you are more likely to make less money than your colleagues of a normal weight.” And, I also agree when you wrote, “people treat you differently when you are overweight.”

    So as you stated, society is dictating that ‘money is allergic to fat people’, and I purposely titled the chapter that way because the book is a candid, no bull approach to living a healthier life—and looking better is just a positive side effect of regular exercise. I believe, however, being healthy is more about how you feel about yourself, how you view the world, and how your health influences everything in your life—relationships, work ethic, hobbies, income, and daily decisions you make. Personal health is not about biceps, bikinis, or what the scale says—I’ve met plenty of unhealthy skinny people and tons of healthy overweight people.

    But, here’s my request:

    Don’t judge me, or the book, on only a six-word sentence. Don’t practice word bigotry without reading more of the book—just as you ask people not to judge others by their weight.

    Get to know me by reading a small portion of the book. If you read my portion (consists of brief micro chapters; about 60 quick-read pages), you’ll find huge doses of empathy, humor, tough love, and motivation.

    You’ll understand that I have a huge heart filled with compassion for those that battle disabilities and unlucky genetics. In fact, 100% of the book profits are being donated to http://www.Limbsforlife.org, which provides prosthetics for those who can’t otherwise afford them. Read the chapter about my brother titled “50/50”. If you do, you’ll see that I care deeply, and my motivation for writing the book was to help change lives—not make fun of them.

    In addition, I’ve co-authored the book with two highly-respected professionals. Brian Zehetner is a nutrition and strength expert, and Rebecca DeRossett is a psychologist with years of experience helping people achieve positive behavior change. If you read those pages and still don’t like what you read, that’s fair. But, don’t judge on the weight of six words.

    • Mamavation says:

      I can appreciate you coming on to my blog to defend your book and your reputation. But the fact still remains that you created a book and one of the subtitles is “money is allergic to fat people”….I mean, did you NOT think that was going to piss anyone off? You are trying to be provocative to sell more books by stomping on the feelings and sensitivities of others. And guess what? PEOPLE DON’T LIKE IT.

      My “no bull” approach: And now you want me to take DAYS out of my life to read your book because you feel you were not judged properly. What about me? I mean what do I get out of it? You’ve already offended me and my entire community and now you want me to forget all about that, open my mind and spend days trying to be “open minded” about your message. Here’s the thing, you may be a CEO and very busy, but I’m a mom and I would argue even busier. And my time is more precious because I’m spending the vast majority of it with my children AND my community building them up. Other than perpetuating a hostile culture to overweight people, I have no idea what you do all day.

      Here’s the bottom line: don’t put things in print that you think are going to hurt people. Especially if you don’t mean it. What you call a “no nonsense” approach, I call offensive. That’s it. I’ve been morbidly obese and when I look at things like that I’m offended. And now that I’m on the other side, I have a duty to speak up for people who don’t always have a voice. Obese people don’t always have a voice…they get stepped on every day. I’m here to say to you, that you are perpetuating a culture in the fitness industry that is part of the problem. Period. Walk a mile in a morbidly obese person’s shoes. It’s not fun. And using the word “FAT” in your book isn’t gonna make that person feel any better.

      I’m also very curious about how it also says that you think mothers with obese children should go to jail. Really? I mean…here we are again with the elitism. You must know best because you have all the answers oh wise fitness guru.

      Oh and finally, when I google “Chuck Runyon” this post comes up as 9th on the first page of the google search. That really sucks for you. You may want to call one of those agencies that hide these sorts of things in google searches. Just some free advice. (Damn…I had to add that in there because I’m hormonal and pregnant.)

      • I have so much to say but only a quick second at the moment so I must say about the “parents of obese children should go to jail” thing…try watching Food, Inc. and see who REALLY should be punished for our food and obesity epidemic!

    • I am glad you stopped by to comment. I think the mistake here comes from trying to be provacative to sell and not expecting judgement. That does not add up. The PR pitch is neant to get attention and sell…yours did not do this. Instead negative reactions and PR is the result. I agree the title and PR pitch turns me off. I do not want to read the booj now. First impressions online and offline mean something. The book could be excellent but your marketing and PR is faulty. Intentions could be great but marketing lacked here and you have given a community of people you could have helped the wrong impression. That is sad. Hence why the vast majority of moms and women do not ise gyms…judgement and fear of!!!

      Excuse any errors…I am on a smartphone.

  13. I do agree, that’s not the way to help somebody trying to lose wieght and gain back control of their weight. It angers me how some people do act to “help” others. Not just about weight but this is the treatment i got growing up to get better grades..by my father. Being put down and berated. Did it help me to get better grades and improve the things i really needed help with? Not at all, infact it made it worse like you said. I feel there are emotional eating, cause i have that problem at times. I get what your saying and wish there was more support out there. I am about 50lbs overweight myself right now also. I still cannot bring myself to like or repost or whatever because the sad bottom line is were saying don’t hassle me because i like to stuff my fat face!! it would be nice to get some understanding on that, but that is what it comes down to. Don’t bug me and let me act like a pig. Thanks i don’t like the judgements either and if you get somebody that is understanding cool, but i don’t need everyone faking to be kind to me because i cannot remain disciplined. There are plenty of people who over-spend, over-drink etc…the list goes on. Stop being rediculous and wake up to reality. People don’t feel sorry for fatasses who can’t stop eating. I don’t feel sorry for myself i get frustrated that its difficult to stick to a diet and excercise plan for my own good.

  14. I appreciate Chuck’s response and now I’m wondering if his PR company wrote the header … maybe we should be mad at some nameless person who needs to work on their skills ;-)

    That said, this is a great discussion or the problems for obesity and I’m glad it’s getting an airing …

    L–

    • Lisa,

      That was my initial reaction too. I wonder if Chuck reviewed the pitch before it was sent out?

    • Mamavation says:

      Yes, they wrote the header but by his own words he’s telling us that’s what a chapter is called in his book. So she WASN’T that far off the reservation.

      • Yes… thinking he might need to locate a PR Firm specializing in crisis management at this point. The pitch email is very offensive and it’s pretty clear isn’t about to get the attention he is looking for. It wouldn’t get a second look from me and I get a LOT of pitches everyday.

        I can understand the art of using sensationalism for the purpose of increasing book sales – but really – I’ve never even heard of this gym. I have zero interest in purchasing this book, because the title just plain sucks. (pun intended) Great way to inspire people by telling them they HAVE to do something that sucks? Yeah. Not getting that.

        Maybe it’s just me – but I really love working out (but being a full time working Mom to two boys just don’t leave the extra time I want for working out – changing that though). I think if you think it “sucks” you are stuck in a rut. There are so many great ways to exercise that I don’t understand why you wouldn’t just find a workout you enjoy…?

        Thanks for speaking up for us other bloggers Leah so we don’t have to deal with bad pitches like this!

      • You know I love you Leah but I think you were pretty harsh in the follow-up comment to Chuck Runyon. His decision to come on your blog and respond directly to your criticism was very big of him and what he said won me over (personally).

        I get that you were clearly offended by him using the word “fat” because it didn’t motivate you but I can say that some of the blunt-but-true comments made to me became fuel for my fire when I was losing weight. We’re all so very different and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to anything in life.

        And just a side note – the phrase “off the reservation” that you used is actually really offensive to most Native Americans… it’s up there with “Indian giver”. I didn’t know that until becoming more active in the community because of Peach’s adoption but I think it just goes to show that we all have to have grace for each other.

  15. Hey Alysa,

    As a fellow RD and co-author of “Working Out Sucks,” I can assure you that 6 words does not sum up our book. As Chuck mentioned, it’s inspiring, humorous, and educational all at the same time. You should definitely give it a read…

    The most disturbing thing about this blog is that many of the people that have commented talked about boycotting the book. This doesn’t affect us, but it does adversely affect a wonderful charity, Limbs for Life. I’d ask those of you that forwarded Leah’s comments to reconsider.

    Thanks,

    Brian Zehetner MS,RD,CSSD,CSCS

    • Mamavation says:

      Hey Brian,

      I personally just donated $100 to Limbs of Life. I think that will make up for any “damage” I’ve caused.

      Have a nice day!

      Any one else who wants to donate…let me know…I’ll give you a shout out on twitter YO!

      • Money well spent, Leah!!

        And I read your response to Chuck, and if you’re actually offended by the chapter titles in our book, I have to say…you’re pretty easily offended. That’s just my personal opinion. And I say that having worked with thousands of clients as a dietitian and trainer over the last 17 years. They say never judge a book by its cover, and I would add “or by the first 6 words you see.”

        But minor controversies and differences of opinion like this will just create more of a buzz around the book, which will increase our readership and the money donated to Limbs for Life.

        Oh, and if your thread here was 1st on Google, that would benefit the book and our charity even more, so you have things backwards.

        Thanks again for the donation!!

        BZ MS,RD,CSSD,CSCS

        • By any means necessary, eh? Is that really your goal here? No press is bad press to you, so who cares if you offend people, especially those in your target market?

          You amaze me with how much of a tool you are.

          And I sincerely hope that, with this post being on the first page of Google, it will also come up for your name’s search, too. This way people can read and see your TRUE colors and choose NOT to use your “services” in the future. It seems, with all your education and background in the fitness/nutrition realm, someone forgot to teach you tact.

          • Amen Lisa. I am absolutely disgusted and appalled by his response. it show just how cold and inconsiderate the author/owner of anytime fitness is toward people who aren’t slim and fit.. and that he REALLY DOESN’T WANT US FAT PEOPLE IN HIS GYM

          • I am referring to Brian’s arrogant response.. not Chucks. i wasn’t offended by Chuck’s response, however he does seem to just be trying to make himself look good, and fix his image rather than truly caring about our feelings. asking us to be open minded, when he isn’t being open minded. A really rather poor apology. Infact it wasn’t an apology at all. just an excuse for his title, all the while promoting his book. Obviously all he really cares about is that people buy his book, not the way his harsh title was taken… (except maybe how it could ruin his image. I think coauthoring with the likes of Brian was a big mistake on his part too.

        • Mr Zehetner MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS,

          Unfortunately those six words DO sum up your book since they were in the TITLE of your PR pitch. This is the first impression that someone gets of your book and quite frankly, coming from someone who has struggled with their weight all of their life, it is offensive. There is nothing inspiring, humorous or educational about calling someone “fat”.

          You go on to state that Leah is “easily offended”. Excuse me? Have you ever been morbidly obese, Mr Zehetner? Your personal opinion speaks volumes about your character. The fact of the matter is that Leah and many others WERE offended by your PR pitch and subsequent remarks. Is this how you deal with your clients by dismissing their feelings and telling them they are overreacting?

          The last thing an overweight person needs is for some “expert” (and I use that term very loosely) to lecture us and tell us why we aren’t successful. You would understand this if you could come down from your elitist fitness throne that you gaze down at the “fat” people from.

          Perhaps you should spend less time “helping” others with your 17 years of experience and more time focusing on your own insecurities. It must be sad to have to go through life justifying your “expertise” by constantly including your qualifications in an online forum of all places. In my personal opinion (see I can do it too), you are screaming “Look at me!! Look at me!! I’m relevant and need to be listened too because I read some books!!” Seriously?

          YOU are what’s wrong with the fitness industry.

          Voiceless (and apparently easily offended)

          • This “Brian” is a joke. Various accounts of his “expertise” can be found around the internet. He is in the biz. for all the wrong reasons, as he is attracted to the money, not in actually helping people.

            He is one creepy looking dude.

  16. You are right and I don’t care what “his take” is! The only thing people like this understand is money, so a bunch of us not buying his book and joining his gym is the only thing that will change “his take”. Nit to mention, he is a man and that’s a whole other issue!

  17. I think maybe Chuck and Brian need to find new PR people.

    I would rather donate directly to Limbs for Life than buy a book that is titled in such a condescending and crass manner.

    Money isn’t allergic to my fat behind. So I urge anyone else who knows money isn’t allergic to their fat behinds to donate too.

  18. Chuck and Brian,

    How do you expect ANYONE who could possibly benefit from your book to want to read it with headlines like that? When it is highlighted in the way it has been, it’s the last book I’d ever want to read.

    You might want to talk to you PR about that. Sounds like they aren’t representing your book as it should be.

  19. All throughout my childhood I took Ritalin and Aderall because I was diagnosed with ADHD. There were times when I was 5’6″ and 98 lbs because I never ate. For those that know, Ritalin and Aderall are forms of methamphetamine.. As a result, when I got off of those prescriptions when I was 13, I slowly started gaining weight. Going from a super fast metabolism that an amphetamine gives you, to the shock of basically no metabolism will cause a person’s body to do that. I should have never let my weight get as bad as it is now (I am considered “morbidly” obese), but I can agree that talking down to someone who is overweight is counter productive. There was a point in time where I even got a personal trainer. He wanted to take me to this gym that had a bunch of body builders and said “the embarrassment that I feel will motivate me to be more like them”. Needless to say, that was the last session I paid for.
    When you are fat, your frame of mind has to change before you lose weight. Words don’t make you lose weight.

  20. I read the press release and the book pitch. I agree with Leah; it is potboiler.

  21. I may be fat but NO ONE is allowed to call me that but ME!!!

  22. Well… they did say the book was provocative.

    That being said, I’m one of those people that thinks she’s fatter than she is, but still aware that I need to lose another two dress sizes after a VERY happy six months of sleeping in and eating out too much. I know I can’t motivate myself every day, so I punish myself by not buying new clothes until I get back into my old dress size AND I lean on the positive influences of those around me that also want to stay in shape. I don’t want to hear that I look fine. I’m not happy where I am. But I also don’t want to hear that I’m a piece of shit, either. All that would accomplish is making me spiral into depression and possibly get fatter. At the very least, it would make my days drearier. I don’t understand the psyche of those that need to be punished for not being perfect. Maybe that’s something they need to deal with in therapy. Not for me to say.

    Things happen in life and weight fluctuates. Responding positively with positive people around us is the best option.

  23. I’m glad you spoke your mind, Leah. Hopefully your post will make people think about words and the effect they have on people.

    As for Brian’s response, I’m kind of shaking my head. Being number one on a Google search isn’t always a good thing. For instance, if I look up ‘bad PR pitches,’ the now infamous situation with the Bloggess is number 8. That’s not good ( for anyone but Jenny, that is).

    It would seem that Brian and Chuck from Anytime Fitness and the all those involved with the book “Working Out Sucks” would not want their names, company and book title in any way linked to words like bad pitches, offensive or boycott. Some kids of buzz can backfire.

    In this day and age, the saying the all PR is good PR isn’t true.

  24. It’s 5:52 in the morning. I should be asleep right now. The reason I’m not is because I decided to check my email after I got my husband off to PT. Usually this is a quick thing this early in the morning because my daily Groupon and Hungry Girl emails aren’t pressing enough to make me lose sleep. You know what is pressing enough to make me lose sleep? Hearing that “money is allergic to fat people”. It piqued my curiosity. I decided to stay awake and read the blog post. You see, I’ve always known I am fat, but I had no idea I was also poor. I was not initially blown away by any of this. Poor PR work was evident enough for me, but then I stumbled on some words that always seem to make me mad. “No nonsense”. You see, those words seem to be used when people want their bullying to be socially acceptable. Then I scrolled through the comments only to see the authors throw hissy fits within the comments. Mr. Runyon has decided to play the childish angle of turning the “bigotry” around on us. Mr. Zehetner….well….he’s playing the “I know you are, but what am I?” approach. A fine choice for my 4 year old, but I, naively, expected more from someone with so many letters after his name.

    For me, what this boils down to is this:
    You can’t say anything you want without dealing with the consequences of your words.

    As such, I will not be purchasing this book, or contribute to a charity that is allegedly benefitting from the buffoonery of its authors. I have multiple Anytime Fitness locations in my area. I will not consider a membership with this chain.

    Money talks. Even the money of fat people.

    Good Day, sirs.

  25. Oh, and I am STILL FAT, but less fat than before. So, is money less allergic to me? Is losing weigh like a great big ‘ole allergy short in the butt of money? Hey, it likes me now! Those last 5 pound were a Benedryl for my cashola!

    ” Anytime Fitness CEO Chuck Runyon’s first book, due out in December, is edgy and provocative and provides a blunt, modern-day take on health and fitness. ”

    Another way of saying the author(s) had to resort to belittling, and embarrassing people. I will not buying this book.

  26. Kimberly @christlikemommy says:

    Maybe being overweight has caused my skin to thicken over the years but I really don’t feel like I am offended by this. And this could be a sad thing on my part. I would like to read the book first before settling on a definite judgement. Right now, I can see valid points in both arguments but if we are going to start fighting the “F” word (fat, lol) then shouldn’t we do more than just nitpick at one brand, or one book?

    • Kimberly @christlikemommy says:

      Me again, does anyone have links to more info about the book? I would like to read some of the pitches, etc that were mentioned in some of the comments above. Tha ks in advance!!

  27. There is a difference between being thought provoking and being hurtful. Those looking to lose weight don’t need a book to hurt them any further. If the content is nothing like the title, the author(s) should have rethought their titles.

    http://www.theariesmommy.com/2011/11/sticks-and-stones.html

  28. Encouraging people to lose weight means being supportive. No, you don’t need to blow sunshine up their butts, but you certainly don’t insult someone to motivate them (motivate to buy a book or lose weight? I am not entirely clear on THEIR motives here). Anyway, I applaud you now that you are so fit and thin for not forgetting how hard it is for everyone who is not at their ideal weight, Leah.

  29. And, as someone formerly in the media, I can tell you… the adage “all press is good press” as they seem to think here does not ring true. Just ask BP. I believe all the BPs in my town have been converted to Shells.

  30. thank you Leah for venting because this helped me to decide what facility never to use. I had been looking into getting a gym membership and seeing as anytime fitness was just 10 minutes away, and the certain facility had a rather cheap discount deal last time I called them I thought of checking their current deals and getting a membership there. thank you so much for helping me to realize just why I DON’T want a membership with them. I will definitely be tweeting out to anytime fitness, my opinion!!

    • Kimberly @christlikemommy says:

      I do agree here April. While I am not offended by this, seeing how many people are helps me to realize how insensitive it was. I personally would never go to their gyms just because of the way I was NOT welcomed to their facility here in my town. I had Inquired about a family membership for myself and my husband and just kinda got “the look” and a cold personality from the attendant that was working.

      • and to me, even aside from the book, the way you were treated… that just proves how they feel about people like us. then why open a gym in the first place? gyms aren’t only for people who are already slim and fit.. it’s also for those of us trying to get to that point.

  31. So you read the title of one chapter of the book, and then jumped to conclusions that were based off of subconscious self serving biases?

    How can you expected to be taken seriously by anyone?

    • First impressions are crucial. I can’t speak for anyone else, but the material was not nearly as offensive as the immature responses from the authors. I think I’ll take that seriously.

  32. That book, that author and his ridiculous followers are pathetic.

    Dominating and putting down a segment of society is the oldest way to feel powerful. Whether it is race or weight or religion, it is bigotry and it’s a tragic statement on society that his book will sell and his gym will continue to grow as his target market of buff gym regulars feel even better about themselves as they laugh at the fat people outside and then go in and feel part of the cool crowd.

    It wreaks of the past.

    I hope that we can do our part in moving society towards acceptance and pulling the country together to solve the obesity problem. He is not at all interested in solving it he’s just busy getting rich and fit.

    But online you and other bloggers are part of a movement of success. Let’s continue down that path and show our families and communities how we should behave.

    And no I’d never join that gym now.

    • I just read through all the comments including those from the authors. While I always try hard to see issues from both sides, I feel in this case the authors planned and knew this book would cause controversy and talk which is likely a huge part of why they publically state that all proceeds are going to a charity. They can hide behind that, not really worry much about the actual sales and still have the name of their gym flying all over the place.

      I understand why they came on this site to defend themselves but why make a chapter title offensive, email blast hundreds or thousands of bloggers with that offensive title and then be surprised (or pretend to be).

      Sadly here they are trying to say that you shouldn’t be offended and imply that you sharing your hurt and outrage is overreacting and unfairly judging them. That response from bullies… dare I say especially from males who say that the women are just overreacting.

      To the authors and supporters of the book, I agree that I have not read the book and nor do I plan to. But you should expect a book to be judged from a chapter title and from a pr email. I hope that getting this negative press wasn’t part of your promotion plan because hurting people for personal gain is not okay.

      We need to all work together to try and fix the obesity and health problems. So let’s try to stay positive.

  33. Hmm.

    I was thinking pretty much the same thing that Chuck said before I got to his comment. That judging the book by that one title is maybe a bit over the top. I think Chuck represented himself fairly well here… Brian… not so much.

    I blogged about a similar situation regarding a “humor” column written by a Dr. Kelly for a trade publication where he was very repentant, the editor of the publication.. again.. not so much.

    I agree that the obese seem to be about the last segment of the population where it seems to be socially acceptable to belittle, harass, and discriminate against and this is not a good thing. I’m trying through my own blog and through other advocacy to help fix this. I would suggest Chuck and Brian investigate organizations such as the Obesity Action Coalition (obesityaction.org) or find other similar organizations to put some of their efforts towards helping.

    I will say I was not offended by the title, not because I don’t think it was stupid or anything, but rather that I choose not to be offended. I will not give someone else that sort of power over me. Does it bother me? Yes. Will I potentially do something about it? Maybe. But I see no value in being offended. Ok, maybe the choice of words had the potential to be “offensive”, but I don’t think it’s quite the same. Someone can “act like an ass” without “being an ass”. A difference between an action and a state of being I guess.

  34. Without reading the book, I cannot truly form any opinion here. What I do know is that if someone is looking for a self help book to help them with weight issues, there are a ton out there that are supportive and very informative and that can easily be identified by flipping through the book before purchasing.

    I would like to point out that sometimes being overweight makes us so self conscious that we feel like others are judging us or staring at us because we are doing it to ourselves. I have lost 57 pounds and when I am at the gym and see an overweight person working out, sometimes I do look at them, but it’s because I respect them and because I think it’s great that they are taking care of themselves.

    I look back on times that I felt rejected or judged and I can identify now objectively that a lot of the time it was my own bad vibes that were causing the rudeness directed towards me. Think about when you are shopping and nothing is fitting and then you feel disgusted, but you have to find something to wear to an event so you go with the one thing that didn’t make you want to bash the dressing room mirror in. Then you go to the counter. Do you really think that you’re standing there all cheery and bubbly towards the sales person that has been standing at the register for 8 hours?

    I met an athlete some time back in my playgroup and I thought she didn’t like me and because I was fat. Well, she became one of my best friends and a big supporter and cheer leader for me in my quest to get healthy. I look back and realize I was intimidated by here, therefore, I didn’t feel worthy of being liked by her.

    Take two seconds to put yourself in someone elses shoes. As for gyms, if you feel uncomfortable at a gym, well there are 20 more down the road from that one. Go find one that suits you and don’t be self conscious about working out. You are there for YOU!

  35. I think if we should put into perspective the fact that no one has yet found the magic pill to encourage, motivate, inspire, coach, and yes even threaten and shock those who are amazing people but have not yet found a way to overcome their challenges of living a healthier lifestyle. So while I have not read the book and could yes judge it by its socking chapter title that would imply I will make no money if I am fat…how do we know that while it yes offends some, for others this might be the one thing that motivated them to change their life. I am not sure what the “ah ha” moment was that had all of you losing your weight or living a healthier lifestyle but I will tell you that something happened to cause a change in your behavior. So in telling people not to read this book because the title offends you or provokes unwanted feelings of the person you use to be could potentially stop someone from having their “ah ha” moment. I have always respected people who have a voice and can give both their opinion as well as be open minded to maybe theirs is not the only opinion. So while yes it was a shock to read the chapter title I agree with you…isn’t one of our life quotes…don’t judge a book by its cover? If we can all put our ego’s aside, the reality is this is not about the author of the book or the author of this column, it is about how we lose amazing, talented, educated, inspirational, and motivational, hard working, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and parents every day to all types of diseases related to an unhealthy lifestyle and how can we help them together. I think personally attacking someone who you do not know and their motives before you read the book and even going so far to say you won’t donate now to the charity he has chosen to give all the profits too that supports giving people a better life is far more damaging than I am sure anything in this book. The reality is whether we are unhealthy because we smoke, because we do drugs, drink too much or are overweight…people out there are trying to help and find ways to get through to those we have not yet found a way to do it on their own…are we really that confident that this book can’t make a difference in someone’s life when we haven’t even read it? I lost my amazing grandfather because he died of diabetes when I was young, he was obese and no matter what we did we could not convince him to change his behavior to lose weight…so he died young and never saw me grow up…he thought working out sucked, maybe if I had told him I knew it sucked but let’s try anyway instead of just that he needed to do it…it would have been his “ah ha” moment.

    • Ahhh…I donated $100 to that charity the day this post came out because one of the authors said I was hurting the charity. You may not have read that in the comment section. Btw, I didn’t tell anyone to boycott in this post. I just said I was doing it. My audience has the right to do whatever they want. And they CAN think for themselves. None of them are stupid, in fact I would argue they are mostly way above average. My message resonates with them because I’ve put their feelings into words. No one likes to be called fat. That’s not difficult to understand.

  36. I’m also noticing that most of the negative comments are from men…interesting.

    • Thanks for your clarification Leah. My main concern was just like we don’t like to be prejudged by our outward body type or lifestyle we were in turn in this communication prejudging this man by the company he runs…i think maybe had it been someone with weight challenges writing a book from their point of view and spoke about not being able to make money because they were being judged by the world on his/her weight, we would have embraced them. Sadly because it is someone from a “gym” we assume he is not in support of us, does not understand us and instead mocking us. That someone is finally telling us from a fitness background that they know working out sucks…might be the start of bridging the gap instead of putting us always in opposite camps. Leah thank you again for clarifying and awesome donation!

      • Mamavation says:

        The simple fact is Debra my audience and I don’t like being mocked and called “FAT”…that’s kinda the bottom line. Chuck and his co-authors are doing a GREAT job playing to the audience that is already working out at those gyms, but not to people who really need the help. The people who really need the help don’t like to be mocked and looked down upon because they are usually highly intelligent. The whole “working out sucks” idea isn’t new. There aren’t really any new weight loss ideas out there right now. I can’t even begin to tell you how many weight loss books there are…I get flooded with PR pitches everyday. I don’t foresee this book really going anywhere anyways because it’s not written by Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper, etc. But what IS important, is a overwhelming culture in gyms where overweight people are not really welcome. And people who use the term FAT to describe overweight people are precisely the people that perpetuate that culture. It’s hidden elitism that makes people uncomfortable. And then to have those same people say they are really wanting to solve the obesity problem…well, maybe the statistical aspect, but not really the people. People require compassion. And I’m not sold that they are in it for the people. At all.

        • Leah,

          I’m curious to know -when was the last time that you either belonged to or visited a gym? More specifically an Anytime Fitness. It sounds like you have had a bad experience along the way. That being said do you think it’s unfair to lump all gyms and gym goers as elitist? Some of the nicest people I’ve met are at my local Anytime Fitness. Not only the owners but also the members. We are all there working together to get healthy no matter what challenges we are facing, not only physical but emotional as well. When I need an hour to myself , to take care of me, away from the stresses of daily life-the gym is where I go. There are elitists and mean people out there, yes that’s life. The one place I don’t find that is at my gym.

          • Mamavation says:

            I was part of several boutique gyms after I lost all my weight. And today I work out at Cardio Barre, so yes, I do go to gyms…but I tend to stay away from places that I’m talking about. There ARE good gyms out there, but most of the big boxed gyms I’ve visited are not that way. There IS a culture of bigotry in the US. Chuck and I agree on that point. His interpretation of that statistic is what infuriated me, because it wasn’t said in love, it was said in disdain. “Money is allergic to fat people.”

  37. LORI YATES says:

    Wow, let’s call the truth, the truth! For me, I was FAT, yes, 307lbs fat. When I owned my truth, I wanted to do something about it. I was met with encouragement and truth at the ANYTIME FITNESS gym I workout at and continue to work out at. My fitness trainer, stayed honest with me about my weight. Her truthfulness did more for my confidence than others who didn’t have the courage to to be truthful. My trainer Alexander Seal and my ANYTIME FITNESS gym in Lakewood, WA also kept my training fun, humerous and never once left me feeling bad about myself.

    Fat is not a bad word, it is the truth and I am thankful for ANYTIME FITNESS for the compassion and positive motivation to help me turn fat into fit. I’m a lifer at ANYTIME FITNESS and will not consider ever joining another gym.

    Today, I am fit, healthy and in control of my life. May time working out sucked, it sucked big time, but I wanted change and I made it happen!

    I have read some of the book and what I have read, I like. I will be recommending this book to everyone I know, it is how it is and I respect the truth!

  38. I’ve been steamed about this for a few days, so it took me a while to organize and compose my thoughts effectively. BUT I did it and here they are:

    http://www.resamichelle.com/parenting/mamavation-monday/an-open-letter-to-chuck-runyon-the-ceo-of-anytime-fitness.html

  39. Heidi Back says:

    I wouldn’t buy a book with that title. The title tells me that skinny people are the only ones who can make money. It tells me that because I am “fat” I can not. It screams that fat people are poor trashy losers. That’s just the feel that I personally get from the title.

  40. Heidi Back says:

    And yeah. I just judged a book by it’s cover. Sound familiar?

  41. I wouldn’t waste my time with a company that didn’t have enough respect for themselves not to represent and brand themselves with such degrading behavior. You can’t berate or shame someone into real change, you can on the other hand completely turn a person off with your behavior. Well done on that account Anytime Fitness.

    Leah, Thank you for standing up for your community, yourself, and the millions who struggle daily with their weight. You are a brave, strong woman and I’m proud to know you.

  42. Yes I agree with some comments that SOME people are motivated by cruelty. But a lot of times, that approach is extremely harmful. After I had my babies, I was called “fat”. Adding the hormones on top of the cruel comments and I developed an eating disorder. I starved myself. The truth? I was only 130 lbs at 5’6. I was far from fat. But that’s how I started to see myself because other people were calling me fat. Yes I lost weight and I lost it fast. But I was far from healthy. I went from a healthy weight to underweight and unhealthy. You don’t know what your words can do to people. Some people hear those cruel comments and do the opposite. They begin to shove food in their mouth because they are emotional eaters. That injures them even worse. Then the self esteem problems just add to this. Yes you may be “motivated” by cruel comments but most people will have self esteem issues after that cruel motivation. It changes people. You may not see it in yourself but others see it. We need to encourage and motivate others to get healthy the right way. Change their life style to a healthy lifestyle. We need to come together to help each other.

  43. Hate against people who are overweight is the ONLY form of bigotry that is still socially accepted. As a middle school teacher I stood on hallway duty and listened to my principal say under his breath, “Jesus, eat a fucking salad,” as an overweight 13 year old walked by, and I watched as the old boys’ club of teachers around him laughed and gave each other knowing glances. Had he called a student the N word or slammed them for their religion, no one would have laughed. And I would not have stayed silent, which I did out of my own shame for being overweight.

    Thank you for changing the way people think, thank you for changing the way people live, thank you for being a POSITIVE, NON-JUDGMENTAL option in a sea of negativity that does nothing but break us down emotionally driving us further into our unhealthy habits.

    I love you and everything you stand for and do.

  44. Leah,

    You inspire thousands of people with your story and your determination. Don’t let a few jealous losers bring you down. You are living proof that you can overcome your challenges with a balanced, sensible and compassionate approach without resorting to name calling.

    – Christine

  45. The co-author of the book commented this morning. He apologized for being snarky to all of you. Then he went on to ask you all to email him for a copy of his book for free. I deleted his comment. Not because I didn’t want you all to know that he apologized but because using my network to get free bloggers to review his book would mean he has a partnership with the site, which he does NOT have. No free commercials here. You have to be a friend of the site. I think he’s getting enough buzz already.

  46. Oddly enough, what bothers me the most is his classifying human beings by weight: “Fat People.” Like we are a different species or something.

  47. Leah,

    Previously I had asked you if you worked out a gym and I just got done looking at the Cardio Barre website where you say you work out. Every woman is in shorts and a sports bra, all in great shape, not one over weight and there is a trainer holding up a woman’s thigh. All of that coupled with the celebrity testimonials is about as intimidating and eletist as it gets! I’m confused, I thought you stayed away from these type of places. I’ll stick with my Anytime Fitness where I know I can work out in sweats and no make up and never feel intimidated.

  48. I’ve read what the Anti-Jared had to say. I’ve seen MizFit’s take. I’ve read all the comments on those blogs and now on this blog. It seems that the offense is the use of the word “fat.” “Fat” was was not used with compassion – it was not used with love. Ok, so the authors could have been more compassionate. But what about the slams against the book and against the company and the company’s CEO? Has there been compassion anywhere on this site or in these comments? I can’t see it. I saw where Chuck Runyon came on the site asking to not be judged by one chapter title. And I saw how he was slammed again and again by people that say they are just looking for some compassion. I just think that maybe we should all be kinder to each other. Maybe it was unfortunate PR. Maybe it was bad wording used by the authors. Maybe none of them understand obesity or how painful it is to be obese. And maybe they do. Maybe if everyone were just a little bit kinder to each other, people would not feel the need to suppress their pain with food.

  49. Hey girl, Wow you really got the pot stirred with this one. Great responses…. I do have to say that maybe the owner or writer or whomever went about the title the wrong way but I’ve seen worse things in my life. :) Fat is a very strong and hurtful word. Who wants to be Fat? No one that I know of but where I see we go wrong is not taking care of the problem. Take control of your life and try and do something about it. Sure it may be all you need is a little medication for slow or dead thyroids or just exercising. It doesn’t matter where you exercise or work out just do it!! I have to say I am a fan of Anytime fitness and that’s only because I Zumba there three times a week. But to classify all Anytime Fitness into one lump because of this title is insane. I applaud all those that take heart and reach out to others that need a friend. See a heavy person, extend a friendship and look deep into their eyes you’ll see a person ready to come out and live again.

  50. LORI YATES says:

    I have read the book “WORKING OUT SUCK” and why it doesn’t have to. It is brilliantly written. First it isn’t about feeling good, it is about facing some hard core truth and deciding to take action. I found it motivating. I like ANYTIME FITNESS and cannot say enough about the positive difference this gym has made in my life and in the lives of so many of my friends.

    It is sad that the fitness community gets so focused on book titles and how they might come across, that the bigger picture gets lost. People are motivated in many different ways, no one specific way works for everyone.

    I encourage people to actually read the book before judging it.

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