If you’re still not sure how you’re going to spend your winter vacation, here’s an idea: start loving your body and getting healthy at the same time. The official “Healthy at Any Size” campaign may be over, but the premise is one that we can all strive to achieve.
Plus size model Melinda Parrish didn’t enter the modeling world looking nearly as confident as she does in her photo shoots. In fact, she, like many other women, struggled all her life to accept her body. That’s why she started the “Healthy at Any Size” (#HealthyatAnySize) campaign and the Get Moving (#getmoving15) holiday challenge with Plus Model Magazine.
In our modern society, exercise has been eternally linked to weight loss and continues to lose its true, original intention…health. It seems physical activity gets lost in a world obsessed with being thin. As the Health at Every Size (HAES) movement cites, this body preoccupation leads to abuse of food, eating and body disorders, negative body image and self-hatred, discrimination and worst of all, unhealthy lifestyles. Melinda Parrish and many others are taking a stand to change the purpose behind exercise and redefine “movement” to stand for health, not weight obsession.
The goal of Melinda’s campaign as well as the HAES movement is to recognize the physical, mental and emotional benefits of being active for health and wellness purposes. When women understand that fitness stretches way beyond weight loss, they have a better chance of reaping the amazing benefits of exercise that extend beyond physical wellbeing. Physical activity is linked to so many mental and emotional advantages including releasing brain chemicals and neurotransmitters that actually make you feel better. And when we feel better, we have better perspective on ourselves and can love our bodies for what they are, not how we long for them to be.
While there are health risks associated with obesity, the healthcare industry is actually NOT obsessed with weight. The medical field acknowledges that bodies can be healthy at many sizes but physical activity is a key component to achieving and maintaining health. Unfortunately, many people are turned off by the idea of exercise because they feel weight loss is unattainable. Campaigns like “Healthy at Any Size” strive to dispel these associations with weight loss and motivate movement for the sake of health and health alone.
Of course mental and emotional health are an important piece of the puzzle for Melinda Parrish and many others too. Accepting your body in a weight-obsessed world often takes strength and courage. As Melinda squashes the weight loss connection to exercise, she hopes to replace it with a message of self-love, body positivity and recognition that bodies can be healthy and strong at any size.
So this holiday season, get inspired to be Healthy at Any Size. It doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon, but do find some ways to move your body for a healthier new you in the New Year.
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