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Memorial Day Weekend is knocking on our doors to welcome us back outside in preparation for summer! After a year of being stuck indoors, I think it's safe to say that EVERYONE is itching to get out and about this year. From traveling to your favorite vacation spot or soaking up the sun poolside for the summer, we are ready! But on the other hand, spending a majority of the last year stuck indoors, those summer bodies may look a little different. To some, it's embraced; but to many, it raises a little fear.. Let's chat.

Now myself, like many others, is definitely guilty of working a little harder those few months before putting on that first bikini of the season. Denying ourselves of cravings in an effort to create some confidence about our image has a much deeper effect than we are aware of. I'm talking about the mental battle that seems to really surround this time of the year and the pressure to look a certain way to be able to fit in. I know many can relate and today, I want to talk about body image and how we struggle with the pressures from society.

Imagine this: it's January 1st and you have a vacation to the beach planned for June 1st. You think to yourself that this is the best time to kickstart some fitness goals and achieve that body you "want" for the beach. You've joined a gym, the fridge is stocked with healthy food and you have even shopped for a few new bikinis to motivate yourself. You are beyond ready for this!

But after a about two months or so, you realize how unhappy restricting yourself really is. You are tired, moody and your friends haven't seen you enjoy yourself in a while. You begin to get depressed, sad and you've begun to slip back into your old habits. This is where the binge comes in and you fall off the path towards your goal. You no longer feel confident about your journey and so you give up.

This is a pattern that a lot of us deal with many times a year. Whether it's summer vacations, birthday celebrations, holidays and more, we routinely put our bodies and minds under immense pressure to look a certain way to be able to feel good. An overwhelming amount of advertisements flood the media and we beat ourselves up so much that we create unhealthy views about our image. So much that when summer does come around, we have become self-conscious and convinced that we won't look good enough to be comfortable.

After the last year of personal struggles, I can definitely tell you that my body is certainly different this year. But instead of driving myself crazy trying to workout 7 days a week and eating like a rabbit, I have chosen to love my body at this shape. It may not be the shredded, lean figure I once had years ago, but just as I've changed, my body is capable of change all the time as well. I've learned to fall in love with that I see in the mirror because my body puts up with a lot of my bull shit too!

Let me tell you one thing, there are bathing suits and outfits that are flattering for all shapes an sizes! Just because society only really shows off the itty-bitty swimsuits and fashions, doesn't mean you need to feel pressured to wearing those. Wear what makes you happy and don't be afraid to experiment with what's available to you!

Be sure to surround yourself with people who care about you and make you happy. Avoid being around people who make you feel pressured to look a certain way or do things that don't make you happy. No one is allowed to have the power to make you feel good or bad about yourself.

So as you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and the summer season ahead, be sure to cut yourself a little slack. The year 2020 was a year that. brought many changes to us all physically and mentally. Getting back out into the world is something we have yearned to do for well over a year! Don't allow the pressures of social body image keep you from have a summer you deserve! Smile a little more in the mirror an enjoy that cocktail by the pool, you've earned it!

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