“I was tired of feeling worthless, unseen, and not being able to look at my body in the mirror.” – Danielle Dyer.
Meet Dani – a Nashville-based health and wellness coach specializing in body positivity. When you watch Dani interact with her clients, you don’t question her confidence – however, creating her place in the industry didn’t come without criticism.
Despite being a proven athlete, Dani’s strong, able body isn’t a reflection of those often depicted in the media. For many of us, the fear of not “looking the part” is enough to keep us from shopping at certain stores, trying out a new class or exploring a different corner of the gym. For Dani – those barriers to entry became the foundation for which she built her business.
Calling BS on Body Shame
“Your body, your business.” It’s a simple concept that has escaped us over the years. Vocalizing a lack of acceptance for someone else’s choice in food, physique or clothing (among many other things) are now common topics of conversation – ones that can be mentally and physically determinantal to the individual on the receiving end.
Dani’s first fulltime offer in the industry was a Personal Training position at a gym in Franklin, TN. She accepted the role after obtaining the necessary qualifications and successfully navigating the interview process. When the management team saw her in-person, she was reassigned to a desk job. Additionally, she was asked not to wear shorts to work again (something many of the female employees wore on a regular basis).
While Dani’s story is unique to her, the sentiments of her experience are far too relatable for anyone who has been written off purely based on appearance. Dani’s dissatisfaction with the industry standard led her to building a brand that focuses on appreciating the journey and your body in its current state while working toward a longer-term goal.
“I got into fitness because I knew I was capable of more,” said Dani. “Movement is one of the main outlets I have found for myself. Mentally, it makes me my most positive, happy self. Physically, I feel strong, powerful and beautiful after any type of movement.”
We asked Dani to give us her unfiltered answers to the following questions:
NF: What has your experience in the fitness industry been like?
DD: It has not been a good experience. I have faced a lot of passive aggressiveness, unnecessary judgment, and not feeling seen or accepted. I had to make my own community.
NF: What would you say to someone who is guilty of body shaming?
DD: I feel sorry that you’re insecure and incapable of seeing past what society deems as beautiful.
NF: What advice would you give to someone on the receiving end of body shame?
DD: I would tell them to love themselves harder. I would tell them to embrace their body through it.
NF: What advice would you give to someone struggling to love and accept their body?
DD: I would tell them to say one positive thing about your body each day. You may not love it now, but one day you will. I promise it will come. Just stay consistent.
NF: What advice would you give to brands and agencies on connecting with people of all shapes and sizes?
DD: I would encourage brands and corporations to have a quarterly talk with their staff on how to talk to customers. Positive language is key when someone is shopping. It’s important to have an awareness of how the customer feels in that environment and to help them feel comfortable. Having staff of all shapes and sizes matters too. Don’t sell extended sizes by only having smaller employees selling the clothes.
NF: What advice would you give to yourself 10-15 years ago that you didn’t know at the time?
DD: 15 years ago was the worst time of my life. I would tell myself to stay strong and not listen to what anyone says. Love yourself because you are exceptional.
NF: What’s one thing we can do every day to love ourselves a little more?
DD: I believe in journaling, and I believe in positive self-talk. My advice is to take time for yourself every day to say one positive thing about your body. It will be challenging, but you can do it.
NF: Anything else you want to share?
DD: I want people to know that men and women can love themselves. It just takes time. One step at a time.
I’m here to help anyone who wants to be their best not just people who want to lose weight.
I believe together we can set the example and fight for what we want together to be able to be “seen” no matter body size.
Connect with Dani! | @danidfitness1 | www.danidfitness.com