Woman stands up to gym bullies in an open letter for fat-shaming her

Everyone has the right to work out at a gym without worrying about bullies, fat-shamers and trolls
Everyone has the right to work out at a gym without worrying about bullies, fat-shamers and trolls

A health and fitness club can be an intimidating environment for some and no one wants to be watched and ridiculed while they work out.

One woman who discovered she was a target of three gym bullies penned the most empowering open letter to the women who made fun of her, reports British Glamour

READ MORE: Body shaming, fat shaming and vicious gossip

She titled the letter posted on Reddit, "The overweight girl at the gym," and opened with a direct statement: "I'm the fat girl." 

According to the letter, It was her first week at the gym and she had noticed three other women who exercised after working hours just like her. 

"Today I found out they have been snap chatting pictures of me and making fun of me, but I don't mind," she began.

"I'm glad that you haven't gone through what I've been through. I used 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," she revealed.

According to her.ie she continued, talking about emotional eating and self-love: "Then she died, and I ate my feelings and gained more weight.

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," she confessed.

"It really sucks that society, and your parents raised you that it was okay 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," she added.

READ MORE: Woman takes a novel approach to body-shaming internet trolls

Body confidence coach Michelle Elman wrote a compelling Instagram letter addressing fat-shaming at the gym. She underlined the importance of making the gym a fat-friendly environment. "Never laugh at anyone in a gym, ever," she reiterated.

View this post on Instagram

I saw a post the other day that said “never laugh at the fat person in the gym. They are bettering themselves and that should be encouraged”. You know when you see a post and think SO CLOSE, but you missed the point entirely. 1) Never laugh at a fat person. Full stop. Not in a gym, not anywhere 2) Never laugh at a person ever. 3) Never laugh at anyone in a gym ever. 4) When you oppose fat and “better”, in a sentence like that you have already made the assumption that the person is unhealthy. Health is not an appearance. 5) Because you have used the word fat and not unhealthy, you have already made the assumption that every fat person in the gym is there to lose weight. And here is what CAUSES a lot of problems for fat people in the gym. Some go there for fun, some go there for health but because everywhere is so weight loss focused, it becomes this exclusive club where the people who have not achieved “results” do not feel welcome. Fat or thin, working out for aesthetic results is one of the things that cause an unhealthy relationship with your body. It will result in overriding your body signals to stop and rest, it will mean you undernourish yourself and it will mean that you devalue any movement you do that doesn’t result in a skinny waist, big bum or abs. The same goes if your priority is weight loss, not health. This leads to a pass/fail mentality that is determined by an arbitrary number on a scale. And yes it’s pretty much arbitrary if you discount your time of the month, water retention and muscle growth. I am so invested in making the gym a fat-friendly place because the gym has been the home to so much fun in my life. Yes - the gym can be fun! Especially in London where I don’t always have friends at my disposal, the gym has been my escape from stress, work and my phone. It is my chance to connect with my body and FEEL my body! So stop punishing your body. Stop categorising certain types of movement as a “proper workout”. Stop measuring how long to work out by the number of calories you’ve burnt! And finally, PTs especially, stop assuming every fat person wants to lose weight! • Sports bra: @lovepanache @panachesport

A post shared by Michelle Elman (@scarrednotscared) on

A child therapist commented on the open letter on Reddit, highlighting how some adults do not grow out of the bullying stage.

“Yes... this is horrible. I am a therapist for children and see bullying incidents like this so often. The sad part is that many people don't grow out of this bullying stage... and then become adults.

They take the easy route to make them feel better for whatever insecurities they have,” she said.

One woman sent her an encouraging message letting her know that she is not the only “non-model” at the gym. 

READ MORE: “I went from the overweight girl who couldn’t exercise to a spinning instructor”

"I'm the girl whose skin is hanging off her all over the place.

At my last gym there was a gorgeous woman whose shoulders and upper arms would make a dude jealous; gorgeous to my eyes but obviously not in it for the svelte femininity aspect.

Another woman had somehow misplaced one of her legs (her replacement was pretty cool looking though).

Another worked out in a hajib. We're out there. The sisterhood of the non-models at the gym. We're with you,” she reassured her.

Have you ever been body-shamed at the gym? Chat to us here

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