Click here to read it on HuffPo!

Click here to read it on HuffPo!

The celebration of the birth of our nation is upon us and we are all breaking out the red, white, and blue to celebrate the fact that we're able to live free in this great country.

But how many of us are really feeling free this Fourth of July?    And how many of us are feeling ashamed to get out there and be who we are because of the number on the scale?    Shouldn't we all feel free to rock our stars-and-stripes bikini, even if we don't have the perfect "bikini body?"

Tess Holliday's new #simplybekini campaign is a great reminder to us all that there's no such thing as a perfect body and that we should start enjoying our lives to the fullest, no matter what kind of shape we're in.

"There is no such thing as a perfect body and the hardest barrier for women to overcome is themselves," said Holliday in a recent People Magazine article.

Why spend the best months of the year hiding and feeling ashamed of who you are, even if you're not in the best shape of your life?  

Beach Selfie Time! :-)

Beach Selfie Time! :-)

I put this principle into practice on a recent tropical getaway, feeling more comfortable in my bikini than ever before, despite the fact that I'm heavier than the typical "bikini body" prototype.

Don't get me wrong, it's great to start a new diet or fitness routine in order to become more healthy.  It's also totally amazing if you want to take a few weeks--or months, or years--off from the gym because that's not working for you right now.  Each of us has a right to be the person we are in the body that we have, here and now.  Feeling "bikini ready" is something that everyone has the ability to do, not just those who slave away at the gym (although there's nothing wrong with doing that!). 

The definition of independence is "freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others," according to Dictionary.com.  

Being an independent citizen means that no one, not that bully from grade school, your disapproving family member, your pushy friend, that scary trainer from the gym, your rude coworker, or anyone else has the right to make you feel like you aren't free to be who are and to flaunt that body loud and proud.

Every body is a bikini body, and every person has a right to feel beautiful, happy, and loved in their own skin.  Whether you have a six pack or just downed six donuts--we are who we are, in this moment.  Nothing more than that is guaranteed.  

We are so lucky to live in a country where we are free to be who we are, wear what we want, love who we want, and do what feels good for us. 

Rather than getting caught up in body shaming yourself out of a good time this Independence Day, get out there and enjoy life.  Soak up every second of it, and share it with the people in your life that you care about.  Forget the haters and let freedom ring!

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