After being gone on a seventeen-day adventure abroad, it feels good to be back. There’s nothing quite like a vacation to calm the mind and the body. There’s also nothing like taking off in a plane. Upon departure, I love to look at the world below getting smaller and smaller. It reminds me just how big the rest of the world is, and how small my world is by comparison. It puts everything into perspective. The stresses of Christmas just days before suddenly seemed so distant and silly when looking down on the enormous, beautiful ocean below. When I am in the day-to-day of my life, it is so easy to become fully engrossed in the stresses, to-dos and everyday drama that comes with being a woman in today’s world; worrying about my job, my health, my husband, family, and friends and of course, my body.

As you know from previous posts, taking care of my body is of utmost importance to me, but I would be lying if I said it was only for health reasons. I want to look my best because it makes me feel my best but growing up and living in la-la land, you’re constantly reminded of how important it is to look a certain way – a way that is not healthy for most. Living in Santa Monica, the “Fitness Mecca of the Universe” (or so I have been told) you can’t not feel pressure to look a certain way – people are as “fit” (I say with quotes because while they may appear to be fit, it’s not always the case that ‘fit’ is the appropriate word to describe them) as I have ever seen anywhere.

This same idea of “fit” for a woman is shared with the rest of America through images of Hollywood starlets in magazines, movies, and everywhere.  It’s nothing we haven’t heard before: for most, Hollywood has an impractical idea of what a healthy body looks like. But what was so wonderfully surprising to see in Australia was that Australian women seemed very comfortable in their bodies; bodies of all different shapes and sizes. We traveled all over the country and everywhere women were confidently sunbathing and showing off their curvy, voluptuous bodies, without an ounce of shame.  Women didn’t seem self-conscious or really even aware of what other women around them looked like. They seemed happy with what they had. I’m not sure whether it is because Australia is a smaller, isolated country or because women are raised to love the way they look, but the thing that resonated with me most was the Aussie women’s attitude they had toward their bodies.

This year, give yourself a break – try to remember that Hollywood’s picture of the perfect body is not only NOT perfect, but also not necessarily even healthy (more about the truth about Hollywood “health” in a future post).  Please, please, please find ways to love the body you have and to let go of impractical ideas of what it should look like and this year I promise to do the same.

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