Say No to Body Shaming

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This post is part of a series, in which we asked writers to share their experiences with body shaming.

I was on mile six of a long training run, enjoying my new playlist, the hot morning sun and the steady stream of sweat, when an unfamiliar driver slowed down alongside me.

“You know you’re too fat to be running without a shirt on,” shouted the driver before speeding away.

I stopped myself mid-stride, peering down at my stomach and touching its natural folds and rolls in a moment of self-hatred as I felt my hot tears flow. Just like that, I yanked my heavy shirt back over my head and solemnly finished my run, feeling stung, hurt, and angry that a complete stranger felt entitled to comment on my body shape and size — especially while I was feeling strong on my run.

Anti-Body-Shaming Cheer Squad

When I returned from my run, I picked up my phone to vent to a group of fellow running friends. I was shocked to read texts of similar situations — from both male and female strangers. One friend’s comment particularly struck me. She agreed that while the driver’s comment was hurtful, I was giving them power to control my mood and the way I saw my own body.

As I sat with my friends’ experiences and my own, I felt empowered to do something within my own tight-knit community. Thus began an ongoing virtual cheer squad among my friends, where we take back this stolen power and encourage each other to continue working out in what feels best for us.

This simple thread reminds us that we aren’t alone in struggling with other people’s perceptions of our bodies. It also reminds us that, together, we can reclaim our body image, focus on loving ourselves, and do what makes us feel best in whatever clothing we choose. Finally, this simple thread reminds us that we are all in sports-bra-ready shape (and shorts shape, while we’re at it).

Tags: Self Confidence, Body Image, Body Positivity

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Written By

Emily Roethle

Emily Roethle is a freelance writer in San Diego who loves to share stories about food, fitness, wellness and travel. See Full Bio

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