Chelsea Bonner, author of Body Image Warrior, runs a modelling agency for 'real' sized women. Fed up with the way women are subjected industry ideas about size and beauty, she's on a mission to change the way we think about body image forever.
We read a lot of things on social media about how if you lose weight or get in shape to fit into size 10 jeans or a bikini, you will magically love your body. This has been proven over and over again to be one of the biggest lies of the century. Yes, having a healthy body is important, but health is not a size – it's a feeling. Exercise and eat right because it makes you feel alive, amazing, strong and capable, not to fit a certain dress size.
So many of us have disconnected with our bodies to focus on how they look and not what they can do. Your body can do really incredible things. I find yoga and Pilates an excellent way to really join my mind and body together in mutual respect. It's healthy, I get stronger and more flexible, and I appreciate all the things I can do because of it, from riding horses to hauling boxes up flights of stairs.
As Oprah Winfrey says, everyone is running their own movie in which they are the star. So if everyone else is worried about what they look like, they're not paying much attention to you! Once I realised that, I never worried about swimming in public or going to group exercise again.
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia four years ago and after spending nearly a year unable to get out of the house, I developed an even deeper respect for my beautiful, working body. These days, I think of myself as a flawed and awesome human being who is not going to miss out on one minute of my life worrying about what anyone else thinks. Don't like it, don't look!
For more on Chelsea's story and body positivity, pick up a copy of Body Image Warrior by Chelsea Bonner (Murdoch Books, rrp $36.99).
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