Hopefully last week you were able to read up on UNC Campus Recreation’s Body Beautiful campaign. This campaign was launched during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. We highlighted Camille McGirt, an inspiring woman who created a positive body image movement of her own in the community.
Today we are going to highlight two more students, Kameron Rowe and Jagir Patel. We are so grateful for their willingness to open up and share their thoughts on beauty.
Kameron Rowe’s Story:
First, I’d like to thank you for thinking of me! I LOVE to share my story with other people and outlets such as Tar Heel Tone Up, and Body Beautiful allows for a broader audience to hear my story and how it’s affected my life. The reason I love to share my story so much is because I believe it gives other people who have similar stories and experiences like myself a voice and also it brings awareness to victory over struggles. I was not able to achieve what I did without help from God and others, so it would be selfish of me to keep my story to myself. I’m not concerned with the attention that sharing my story brings me but if I can help someone along the way, I gladly take the opportunity!
With that being said, here’s my story…For most of my life I had been overweight. By the time I was 14, I decided that I needed to make some changes. My doctor at the time had made some really rude and hurtful comments concerning my weight, so I told myself that by the next year, I would come back and prove her wrong. And by the time I was 16, I had lost 90 pounds (and she was astonished)! Losing 90 pounds was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life! At that age, most of my friends were not concerned with being healthy – much less losing weight – so I had to take the challenge to educate myself through magazines, books and the internet about exercise, nutrition and leading a healthy lifestyle in order to get in shape and be a good steward of my body. Additionally, being African American and a woman, I learned about the higher chances of developing diseases such as HBP, heart disease, diabetes and strokes and I didn’t want to continue the cycle of destructive behaviors and having to face the consequences.
After losing weight, God showed me that he had given me this story and passion for exercise and nutrition to help others. Prior to coming to Carolina, I wanted to be a doctor. However, after some thought and a lot of prayer, I believed that God was leading me to major in Exercise and Sport Science, which has been one of the greatest decisions of my life! In addition to my major, I also teach group fitness classes through Campus Recreation and Miss UNC Colleen Daly asked me to be a part of this Body Beautiful Campaign. After college, I plan on serving as a full-time missionary with the Impact Movement where I hope to find out how I can combine my passion for exercise and nutrition with my faith in order to educate women about the importance of taking care of their bodies. I love the Body Beautiful Campaign. To me, true beauty resides on the inside and is exuded through physical beauty. Because of my struggle with weight, I’ve also struggled with the concept of beauty and what is beautiful but I think that you have to be comfortable with who you are and how God made you in order to appreciate your beauty, others’ beauty and recognize what is truly beautiful.
Jagir Patel’s Story:
I, like many of my peers, have struggled with my body image. I was diagnosed with Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease, when I was six and lost all my hair as a result. I grew up looking very different compared to my classmates and others and it was challenging to find beauty in what I perceived to be an abnormal appearance. As I grew up, though, I began to realize how beauty not only stems from one’s physical appearance, but more so exudes from an individual’s actions and personality. I think this campaign celebrates beauty in all of its forms, and I am honored to take part in it. Particularly with respect to health, body image encompasses mental, physical and emotional well-being. I think this campaign informs the UNC community about health, and I find that extremely valuable.
Thank you Kameron, Jagir and Camille for being so inspiring to this campus. And once again, thank you to the Loreleis, the Achordants, Cadence and Tar Heel Voices for putting together this incredible medley of songs to help promote Body Beautiful. This campaign and those participating are encouraging UNC students and the surrounding community to value their bodies and celebrate social, physical and mental well-being. Celebrate confidence. Celebrate health. Celebrate your body.