'Fat shaming' causes long-term effects - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

'Fat shaming' causes long-term effects

MISSOURI (KFVS) - The story about a fitness trainer “fat shaming” a woman is all over the internet.

He's being criticized because he posted a picture of a woman who sat in front of him at a Cardinals game on his company page.

In the post, he documents what the woman ate during the game, and writes "unhealthy is never okay."

According to a report out Friday, he has now apologized. He allegedly wrote on the Shark Fitness Training Facebook page:

"I would like to take a moment to express my apologies to the individual in the photograph I posted and those it upset. One of the things I have learned quite painfully over the last couple of days is how sometimes something that is well intentioned can be executed poorly. I care deeply about the issue of obesity, and I have helped many people improve their health over the years. But it is right to say that I should not have posted an anonymous picture of a someone on social media in the manner I did.

My intent was to communicate to my clients and followers that we all have choices and start a conversation about obesity which is causing a great deal of harm to our nation - from its burden on the health care system, its declaration as a national security risk, the health problems and early deaths of some great people and its impact on individual rights. I believe in fitness, it's what I do and I hope to encourage others to continue to stay on track to be the best they can be. I'm sorry my method ruined that message. I have removed the offending post and would welcome the opportunity to speak one on one with the individual if she is willing."

Before all the criticism, he wasn't about to.

Still, some experts say he should have just kept his mouth shut in the first place.

A Missouri counselor said hurtful words or pictures can cause negative long-term effects and for those trying to lose weight, it makes the process that much harder.

"For me it's all about calories in calories out,” said Daren Essner, who began his weight-loss journey back in January.

Twenty-five pounds down, he's proud of his progress, but said it wasn't easy.

"It was more of a self-conscious thing. I looked at pictures of myself and I wasn't happy,” he said.

Essner said it was when other people started to notice his change in weight that motivated him to keep going despite hitting several road blocks.

"You get a month in and people start to notice and you feel great,” he said.

It's the negative attention people feel that concerns Anna Majors, a counselor at New Vision Counseling.

"They don't know the whole story,” said Majors.

She said more than 70 percent of her clients are dealing with some kind of self-esteem issue.

Many of their biggest fears are situations the woman faced after visiting the Cardinals stadium.

"It will create toxic shame and toxic shame doesn't move forward. Toxic shame is something that in counseling help clients work through so that they can begin to move forward,” she said.

Essner said he blocks out the negative by focusing on the road ahead and getting back to his high school weight.

"This morning I weighed 189 and that just really put a smile on my face,” said Essner.

Majors said a lot of weight problems are partly genetic and you can't assume that an overweight person is always eating badly.

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