An Open Letter to my Local Gym

Dear Highland Fitness:

My husband and I are members at your gym. There’s no doubt you have a great facility and a successful business. I have enjoyed many of your group fitness classes over the years. What I’m writing to you about today, however, are your ill-considered Weight Loss Challenge signs that piss me off every time I set foot in your building. Let me just say, had you been running this ‘contest’ about 18 months ago, I probably would have won. Lose Weight and Win $500! But what is the value of $500 when you almost lose your life?

About a month ago, I was discharged from an eating disorder residential facility where I was treated for Anorexia Nervosa over 4 1/2 months. Upon admission, I was considerably underweight, severely malnourished, and nothing more than a shell of my former self. Lose Weight and Feel Great! In total I lost 1/3 of my body weight, even though I was already within a healthy weight range. My growth charts showed that I weighed more when I was 10 years old than I did at my present age of 24. I definitely did not ‘feel great’. I felt like shit. I was the most sick I had ever been, and it was life or death for me. This may shock you, but I actually had to gain weight in order to become healthier. I even had a nasogastric feeding tube for 2 1/2 months to provide me with enough nutrition to survive.

The point I’m trying to make out of all of this is that promoting weight loss as the primary indicator of ‘healthiness’ is complete bullshit. What ever happened to promoting healthiness as a lifestyle balance instead of a number on the scale? Had I won your stupid contest, the money wouldn’t have made even a small dent in my treatment bill which totaled well over $100,000.

I know my words won’t change anything. The only thing I’ll get out of this is a small peace of mind that I stood up not only for myself, but for the millions of men and women who believe that losing weight is all they have to offer to the world.

Thanks for nothing.

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