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.
Mamavation
Mamavation

Latest posts by Mamavation (see all)

2016-11-16T11:05:01+00:00 November 15th, 2011|Activism, Featured|37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. Alysa Bajenaru, RD November 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    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 November 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm - Reply

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

  3. lorrie November 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm - Reply

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

  4. Jammie November 15, 2011 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    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!

  5. Wendy November 15, 2011 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    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.

  6. Monica carbajosa November 15, 2011 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    Could not have said it better myself!

  7. Lisa Johnson November 15, 2011 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    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

  8. Brian Zehetner November 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    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

  9. Mia November 15, 2011 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    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.

  10. Jamie November 15, 2011 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    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.

  11. Melanie November 16, 2011 at 6:43 am - Reply

    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.

  12. Amanda November 16, 2011 at 11:22 am - Reply

    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.

    • Wendy November 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm - Reply

      Amanda-

      Well said. I’ll continue to give my money to a gym that is encouraging, kind, caring, and inspirational. Not to, (love the word) buffoon.

  13. Wendy November 16, 2011 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    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.

  14. Rob November 17, 2011 at 3:58 am - Reply

    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.

  15. KRis November 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    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!

  16. Leah Segedie November 18, 2011 at 12:20 am - Reply

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

  17. LORI YATES November 18, 2011 at 2:34 am - Reply

    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!

  18. Heidi Back November 18, 2011 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    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.

  19. Heidi Back November 18, 2011 at 2:50 pm - Reply

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

  20. Gena Morris November 18, 2011 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    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.

  21. Amy from Resourceful Mommy November 18, 2011 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    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.

  22. Christine November 18, 2011 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    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

  23. Mamavation November 18, 2011 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    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.

  24. Lyn November 19, 2011 at 6:19 am - Reply

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

  25. Missy November 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    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.

  26. danielle November 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    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.

  27. Deanna November 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    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.

  28. LORI YATES January 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    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.

Leave A Comment

MAMAVATION

JOIN THOUSANDS OF OTHER MOMS IN

DISCOVERING WHAT IS TRULY HEALTHY.

SIGN UP TODAY FOR OUR NEWSLETTER AND

RECEIVE OUR FREE TIPS ON HOW TO

MAMAVATE YOUR HOME.

Thank you for sending!