A little while ago, a trainer came up to me and told me I work out really well but I still have a big stomach. Did he think I do not know that? says Diksha Singhi, a body-positive content creator. This isnt an isolated incident, she explains, and adds that most trainers she has worked with have the tendency to pick on their clients insecurities to pitch their own training or sessions. Working out is seen as a punishment for being fat, she elaborates. No one really talks about how it makes you feel, they just expect you to exercise to lose weight. Different people enjoy different workouts and for me, strength training is more fun than running but I was always encouraged to do the latter in the gym. This made me hate exercising in general. Today, I enjoy it because I have stopped putting an end goal to it and my reasons to workout have changed. If I dont lose the four kilograms, nothing bad will happen, she adds.The urge to exercise should come from a place of wanting to be healthier and to improve overall wellbeing, not because you are being shamed for it. Every single woman I know, regardless of their fitness level, has been fat-shamed in their lives. A 2012 study showed that women are more likely than men to experience weight stigma in their everyday lives. In India and especially for women, body shaming begins at a very young age, think early childhood to adolescence. Comments are made about the food they eat, how they will have difficulties in finding a partner when they grow up and more.The idea that you have to look a certain way to be worthy of a partner is constantly reinforced till young girls and women internalise it. This trauma is then passed on generation after generation till someone stands up to the toxic comments, and stops them in their tracks. In fact, a 2019 study by Fortis Healthcare, across eight major cities in India including Mumbai and Delhi, found that 47.5 per cent women reported having experienced body shaming at their school or workplace, and in 32.5 per cent of the cases it was their close friend who made negative remarks. Well, lets just say that people who shame others for their sizes, their comments more often than not are coming from a place of self-righteousness. They feel better about themselves by pointing out what they think should be fixed in others.Why are Indian women more inactive than menA recent study by an Indian health and fitness app called HealthifyMe found that 53 per cent of Indian women are inactive compared to 44 per cent of men. There are so many reasons for this, including the fact that women face harassment when they work out in public places, they are considered selfish if they take time out for themselves every day, the false idea that working out and weights will make them look like a man, lack of inclusive workout-wear and of course, even men leering at them in gyms.Time to smash the thin = fit stereotypeWere taught and trained to automatically assume that every fat person is unfit and every thin person is healthy. It is ingrained in us that we can just tell everything about a persons health by their appearance, without even knowing them as individuals. Lets say youre at a wedding and you see two people; one is a thin person and the other one is heavier. Both are eating the same food at the same time. Most relatives first instinct would be to come over and tell the latter to not eat, simply because theyre not as fit as the other person. This sends an underlying message that can be dangerous to ones health that being thin is equal to being fit. Everyone deserves to eat food, regardless of their size, explains Singhi.Lack of diversity in gymsClose your eyes and think of a gym. Do you picture people of sizes and shapes exercising there? Or do you see a room full of men doing different workouts while a handful of women are ushered towards treadmills and the occasional cross-trainer? When you dont see people of your size in the gym, you automatically feel like you dont belong there, explains Singhi. Plus, trainers look down upon you because you are on the fatter side. I dont understand why were going so wrong. As trainers, they claim that they want you to be fit but then dont want to put in the effort to train you properly. Most of them will just push you to do cardio and ask you to keep running. This is why working out is important to me. There have been instances where women and younger girls have come to come and told me that seeing me workout comfortably makes them feel like they can do it too!How the fitness industry can be more inclusive Inclusive, affordable workout wearWomen really want to say goodbye to tights with waistbands that keep slipping, super baggy t-shirts that dont make them feel good and sports bras that well feelunremovable. Brands need to step it up and they need to do it yesterday. Trainers should be allies and size-inclusiveSeeing someone who looks just like you killing it in the gym can often serve as motivation in pushing you to enjoy and challenge yourself too. There is no one size for fitness and seeing trainers who dont fit the traditional archetype of fit can make people who feel unwelcome in the gym, feel better. There should be some kind of check carried out to ensure that the coaches and trainers on the floor in gyms do not look down on their clients. They should think of themselves as allies and a part of the community. More empathy and less judgment is the way to go.Three comments to not make and keep your anti-fat bias in checkAre you working out because you dont like the way you look?No. Someone can love themselves wholly and completely but still want to work out to feel good.Did you just start working out-every time they see a heavier person working outYou dont know a persons backstory, so how about you refrain from commenting on it?You're so inspirational!Being overweight and working out isnt something extraordinary or unusual. And do NOT follow this up with a reason why or what made them want to hit the gym!