I went to a fitness studio this summer that was really great. It was clean, well priced, had friendly staff, great location, good hours, and the classes were energizing and fun. The only problem was that diet culture was pervasive before, during, and after class.
The studio’s social media is filled with before and after weight loss pictures, quotes to make you feel bad if you miss a day of exercise, and posts about eating clean.
During class there was mention of doing certain moves because “no one likes a muffin top” or that we had to work harder because the instructor ate/drank too much that weekend and therefore we probably all did too…
Now I think about my clients who are early on in recovery or new to intuitive eating and going to this fitness studio to try out a new form of joyful movement and they’re hit right in the face with diet culture because the studio owners are assuming that everyone coming to their studio is looking to change their body or lose weight which is 100% not the case. People exercise because they want to feel good, because they want to clear their head, because they want to improve their cardiovascular function, because it’s fun, because they like being with other people…. People exercise for all different reasons and this is an open letter to fitness studios to not tailor your services just to the people who want to lose weight or change their bodies because you’re losing customers and making people feel bad about themselves.