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Dear fitness center, the BMI chart on the wall is NOT okay with me

Date: August 29, 2013 | Posted By: Katelin

I have a HUGE bone to pick with my fitness center; a fitness center that I was drawn to because, at the time I joined, I thought that its focus was health and physical activity, not weight loss and numbers. This was incredibly important to me as an individual recovering from a severe eating disorder.

BMI Chart graph

BMI Chart? Not in MY locker room!

As if the scale that I am forced to pass every time I walk into the locker room wasn’t enough, they decided that posting a BMI chart, graphic curve and all, was warranted as well.

The moment it caught my eye I was off and fuming, like a racehorse out of the gate. Vroom!

Really? Come on now. Are they trying to make people feel even worse than they already do about themselves? Do they realize how inaccurate those charts can actually be for some people?

Do they realize just how much harm those charts can do without proper perspective and knowledge? Hell, if I were going by that chart, I would be back in an unhealthy place again.

I thought about making a comment about it. I hemmed and hawed about it for a while, but I bit my tongue. Did it bug the hell out of me? Yes, it most certainly did. Was I concerned about it? Yes, definitely. Was it my place to say something? I was not sure.

Apparently, I was not alone in my disgruntlement with its presence, though (to my immense satisfaction). After eyeing it and fuming about it for a few days, I walked into the locker room and it was gone. I can only assume that someone else complained about it. Problem solved.

People exercising in a gym class.

I exercise for health and physical activity, NOT for weight loss and counting numbers on a scale.

If it were to appear again, would I say something? Yes, I certainly would. I would work up the guts to complain. A BMI chart has no place in a fitness center where the aim is to be healthy and active. Enough said.

Tell me: has anything at your fitness center ever irked you or made you feel worse about your body?

Katelin Jordan is a recent university graduate with a Bachelors Degree in General Studies, with concentrations in Sociology and Communications. While currently an eager jobseeker, her interest lies in social issues and social science research. She is the proud pet-parent of her two year-old Manx-shorthair mix cats, Chocolate Chip and Oreo.




What Do You Think?

3 Responses to Dear fitness center, the BMI chart on the wall is NOT okay with me

  1. Clare on 08-30-2013

    Yes! When I joined my current gym, they included a complimentary 'fitness assessment' and a session with a personal trainer. During my assessment I was very clear about NOT wanting to have 'losing weight' as my goal, because I knew it would just depress and demotivate me. I said I wanted to be more active and gain strength, and if losing weight was a side effect of that then great, but it wouldn't work as a primary goal.

    I came in the next week and met my new personal trainer, who looked at my chart and immediately said "So I see your goal here is to lose weight..."

    :( I wanted to smack my forehead right into the wall. I tried to explain my actual goals to her, but she just couldn't get it. Kept talking about how doing these exercises would make me 'lose inches' and how my clothes would fit so much better in a few weeks.

    I still go to that gym because it's nice and close to my house, but it took me a long time to get over that training session and restore my original motivations. And I sure as hell never signed up for another session with a personal trainer.
    • Katelin on 08-30-2013

      Yep! I actually opted out of the free training session at my gym for exactly that reason. I think that there is this misconception that EVERYONE wants to lose weight when they join a gym, it simply is not true, and as you pointed out, it can actually hurt the motivation to go to the gym. Now I work out to be healthy, not to lose weight.
  2. The Real Cie on 09-27-2013

    I don't know if Bally still does this, but when I used to go to Bally Fitness Centers in the early to mid 1990's, they had these "motivational" pictures of celebrities saying things like "so and so used to weigh a WHOPPING 132 pounds, but now that she's eating only salads, she's down to a svelte 112." I joke you not.
    I weighed a lot more than a "whopping 132 pounds" and did not foresee this changing very quickly. These "motivational posters" were very demotivational and did cause me to lose weight--because my bulimia kicked back in.
    Losing weight at any cost is not healthy.