From Frugivore — After I blended my homemade kale and green apple juice, I decided to get some exercise. I finished my spinach salad for dinner and threw on my workout clothes for a few running/walking laps around the lake in my neighborhood. The sun is going down as I take my second lap around the urban oasis. My mind trailed off to when I first began to run just over a year ago. I remember telling a friend that I “couldn’t” (as in uncomfortable/did not like to) run, but to keep her company, I would tag along and walk behind her. Today, I am running, increasing my speed from a jog to a sprint. I notice how my stamina and stride have improved. Through controlled yet heavy breathing, I wave to neighbors and say hi to those I pass. I nod my head and flash a quick smile to the older gentlemen sitting on their porches watching the day go by. I notice that I am paying more attention to me and less attention to what others might think of me. In the past, that held me back. As a woman over six feet tall, I am used to people staring at me for one reason or another.

But when it came to exercise, I was so self-conscious that I just didn’t work out. At all. Whenever I did get the nerve to do something outside of a home video, too many thoughts ran through my head: how will I look running? The “girls” don’t stay in place like everyone else’s do. What if people hear me when I get tired and my breathing changes? What if I have to stop and catch my breath? Won’t people think I’m weak? How will I look on a treadmill doing my best at level 3 and the person next to me starts running at level 6- will I look fat and lazy?

Oh, the things we say to ourselves when we don’t like who we already are. It’s like we are defeated before we even start. Trust me; I get it. I understand how it all works. There are billboards that promote fat-shaming among children and adults. Millions are spent on infomercials and tv ads promoting weight loss as the gateway to a happier life, encouraging (especially) women to fit into a narrow standard of American beauty. Some people are very vocal about acceptable body politics, positive and negative. So it is certainly not purely from thin air that you wonder about your ability to feel acceptable while working out. The reality is, though, it’s your life. Find your “Oh yeah that’s right; I’m doing me,” Drake attitude added to a #kanyeshrug and make it clear: “No Haters Allowed!”

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