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.



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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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