We’re entering into the holiday season. It’s the time of year where food-based gatherings, celebrations, and religious ceremonies abound.

This time of year, many people start fixating on food, their bodies, and weight loss. The general cycle is that we eat our hearts out from Halloween to New Year’s, and then upon rising on January 1, we all resolve to undo the eating that we did for the past two months and get in the best shape of our lives.

SOURCE: INSTAGRAM, @MELPARRISHPLUS Photo by Caroline DeSantis, styled by Caitlin DeSantis, @crazytownproductions

SOURCE: INSTAGRAM, @MELPARRISHPLUS
Photo by Caroline DeSantis, styled by Caitlin DeSantis, @crazytownproductions

Until Martin Luther King Day, when we’re snowed in and that New Year’s resolve has worn off. At that point, we just cruise through winter until it’s time to get our “beach bodies” back in March.
It’s vicious. It’s a cycle. It’s predictable, it’s repetitive, it’s often counter-productive, and for women and their bodies, it’s incredibly toxic.

But guess what? Participation in this cycle is also COMPLETELY OPTIONAL. And in case it isn’t clear by now, I’m advocating that you OPT OUT.

Do not lose the next four months of your life to obsessing over your body. Do not allow others, and their expectations for how you should behave, and look, and want to look, dictate your reality.

When you fall victim to the cycle, your life’s mission becomes about losing weight, rather than about continuing on your quest to become the woman that you want to be. You know, the one who has more to offer the world than an “After” photo?

You don’t have to lose weight in order to become the woman that you want to be. But you do have to take amazing care of yourself in all ways. Moving your body is one of those ways.
But instead of dragging yourself to the gym with a cloud of expectations, and guilt, and reasons you’re not already good enough hanging over you, you can saunter into that gym and strut it out on the elliptical like it’s your own personal catwalk. And that’s exactly how you should approach it, because the point of exercise (or, as I like to say, “showing your body love through movement”), is to make yourself feel amazing.

It’s not to make the scale budge. It’s not to melt away the luscious flesh around your midsection. It’s not to finally fulfill the standard of perfection you’ve measured yourself against since childhood (mine is Heidi Klum).

The only reason to put on your sneakers, or unroll your yoga mat, or even just stand up from your desk to do a lap around the office and get your blood flowing, is to show your body love. And if you approach it that way, then you’ll actually get to enjoy all the benefits of movement that you miss out on when your only focus is weight loss.

We all struggle with trying to love our bodies, and allowing ourselves to live at full amplitude. But we don’t have to struggle alone! There’s a great group of women that are sharing with one another and supporting one another on this journey, and you can find them by joining the #healthyatanysize community.

We’ll be talking about this and other issues related to moving our bodies Friday, October 21st on my Facebook page at Noon EST. I hope we’ll see you there!

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