Vanilla is a product of Lussumo:Documentation and Support.
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Instead of viewing my body as a stable form to be manipulated at will or a superficial image to be presented to the world, I came to understand it as a process, similar to historical conceptions of corporeality. During the early-modern period in Europe (roughly 1500 to 1800), for example, there was no body type that was considered normal or standard. Every body was different, continually responding to changes in climate, food, and physical activity. Early-modern individuals were largely responsible for knowing and treating their own bodies, sharing that information with health-care practitioners.Contemporary bodybuilders observe their bodies in a similar way, noting how they respond to supplements, utilize carbohydrates, and store fat, for example. Like the early-modern body, this built body is always in flux—bulking up before dieting down, absorbing water before shedding it, bloating with carbs before leaning out.While engaging in those cyclical activities, I realized that I could never achieve the ideal Figure-girl form, but could instead both adjust and challenge my body, ultimately realizing its strengths and limitations. Belying my initial fears that the discipline required to produce a "stage-worthy" body would encourage me to detest my flesh, and possibly even develop an eating disorder, I instead came to appreciate my physical strengths and weaknesses.