I was always the chubby kid in school who hated P.E.
class. I would do anything to get out of it. The humiliation
of moving my body in front of all the other kids in
a pair of shorts was unbearable. I would try to move
as little as possible, hoping that I might escape the
taunting and teasing that was inevitable, especially
by the boys. The teachers seemed oblivious to my suffering
and didn't understand why I was so reluctant. They thought
I was lazy.
For a long time, I thought I hated exercise. It wasn't
until I was out of high school that I discovered the
joy of movement. After reading a few great books on
body acceptance, I started working on my body image
and started to reject the ideals of a society that dictates
that only one body type is acceptable for all women.
I realized that there was nothing wrong with my body
just because it was a little larger. This realization
helped me focus on what my body could do, rather than
on how it looked.
I started walking regularly and loved it. Before I
knew it I was walking three miles a day and feeling
great. I started weight training and really enjoyed
feeling strong and confident. I also discovered my current
joy, yoga. Yoga helped me finally feel totally comfortable
and centered in my body. I became much more in touch
with my body, and that led me to decide to improve my
diet. I had been a junk food vegetarian for a number
of years, and I knew my body wanted more nourishing
food. I am now a vegan who makes an effort to eat plenty
of fresh fruits and vegetables and less processed food.
I love and accept my body now, even though I still don't
look like our society's ideal. I'm strong and healthy
and happy, and that's all that matters to me.
e x t e s s a y -
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