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Body Positivity: Accepting the Man in the Mirror

Body Positivity Aum Gandhi Run Tri Bike

When I tell people I used to be obese and weighed close to 250 lbs, a perplexed look usually follows. “I thought you were always skinny,” they would say. “You look so fit,” another would exclaim. Shaking my head with a smile, my short answer is it wasn’t always that way. In my mind, that obese 18 year-old still is. Body positivity is something more women are starting to vocalize. Now, it is time for men to follow in the footsteps of women and do the same. Everyone has to deal with the media constantly showing us what the perfect body looks like. For me, that resulted in eating disorders where I ate too much and ate too little.

I Lost Ninety Pounds in Two Years

When I was 18, the doctor told me I had prediabetes. Ever since the age of 11, I struggled with my weight. Depression, anxiety, and outside factors led me to turning to food for comfort. I became a binge eater. By the time I was 18, I was 250 lbs and walking down a path every male in my family had. Deciding enough was enough, I quit fast food and soda cold turkey. Weight loss and the good feeling that comes with it can become fast addicting, and the last 30 lbs I lost came at the price of my mental health. I exercised for hours and ate very little. Despite people telling me I was super skinny, I looked in the mirror and grabbed every piece of fat I could find. Hopelessly, I looked at my stretch marks, my loose fat, and cursed myself out. That was every night. Then, came adulthood and running.

As An Ultrarunner I Struggled with Food

In 2020, after ballooning to 220 lbs, the pandemic and other life struggles brought me to trail running. I signed up for my first 100 mile race, quit drinking after said race, and dropped down to 158 lbs. My eating habits in college had reared their ugly head in a different way. No matter how many times people told me I looked like an athlete, I didn’t feel like I was skinny enough. I put down massive miles and did many of them on an empty stomach. Eventually, the reaper would catch up to me at Moab 240. I injured my hip and my race ended at mile 235. My struggles with nutrition plagued me at every race that year and I should have seen it coming in hindsight. The shock of a massive letdown forced me to reevaluate not only myself, but my relationship with food.

Body Positivity is an Ongoing Struggle

Today, I still look in that mirror and see that fat kid I was for most of the first half of my life. Although my story isn’t a happy ending just yet, there are many silver linings. Over the years, I’ve learned to love my body for what it does and not what it looks like. Asking me what I want from a body today results in a different answer than my 18-year-old self would have said. As badly as I wanted to be healthy, I didn’t know what being healthy meant. For the longest time, being healthy was synonymous with six pack abs. Now, I believe in building a body that feels good and not one that looks good. Body positivity is an ongoing struggle, one that I may just have to compartmentalize, but I love my body more than I ever have. You’re not alone out there struggling with the person in the mirror. Give your body love and respect. Treat every imperfection as you would a friend and know that you’re not alone out there struggling with the person in the mirror.


Aum Gandhi Run Tri Bike Magazine Co-Owner

Aum Gandhi is a social media manager, content writer, and co-owner of Run Tri Bike. An active ultrarunner, Aum has a palpable love for the sport and the trail community. His purpose in all his professional and personal activities is to inspire others by leaving a positive impact. Aum maintains a personal blog on his website in which he shares both his running exploits and features of energizing endurance athletes to all audiences. In his free time, you’d probably catch Aum reading, crewing at races, playing video games, out on the trails, or watching NBA Basketball.