Kynadi Hadley was terrified when she joined a new local gym on Tuesday, January 3. “I stick out in a room full of fit people and I was worried people would stare at me,” the size-22 Alabama native tells Us Weekly. But Hadley, 20, powered through her fears and spent 45 minutes sweating on the stair climber and treadmill. “I was really proud of myself,” she tells Us.
Then, three days later, Hadley saw something that made her heart sink: Three fellow gymgoers had secretly taken photos of her exercising and shared them on Snapchat. The soft-spoken brunette, who knows the girls from her high school, claims they captioned the two images “fat whale” and “nasty bitch.”
“It was really discouraging,” says Hadley. “I’m there to better myself and then this happened. I was like, ‘Maybe I should stop going.’”
But instead of canceling her gym membership, Hadley took to Reddit to vent. “I’m the fat girl,” she began in the January 6 post. “This is my first week at the gym and every night after work, the same three girls are there. Today I found out they have been snap chatting pictures of me and making fun of me, but I don’t mind.”
Hadley went on to explain that after her grandmother Tera got sick, she became her full-time caretaker. “I couldn’t leave her alone because I had no help, so I gained more weight. Then she died, and I ate my feelings and gained more weight,” Hadley wrote. “Now I am a size 22. I don’t hate myself, or my body. I love who I am, and that took me my entire life to be able to honestly say those words. ‘I love myself.’”
She continued: “It really sucks that society, and your parents raised you that it was okay to try to hurt someone that’s trying to better themselves instead of trying to lift them up. But I’m not mad … I’m still going to be dieting and working my ass off at the gym every day. It’s not so you, or anyone else, will accept me. It’s for me.”
Hadley’s powerful post went viral with more than 2,197 comments. “I never thought this would blow up as much as it has,” she tells Us. “It makes me so happy to see how many good people are still in the world.”
Meanwhile, Hadley — who has lost 2 pounds since January 3! — tells Us she recently experienced kindness at the gym. “I was in the waiting room and this muscly guy starts talking me,” she says. “He told me he used to be overweight and now he’s doing CrossFit competitions!”