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Get Moving

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 18/03/2016 Melinda Parrish

Perfection is a myth that keeps us trapped in a negative cycle with our bodies. I no longer worry about being perfect in the way that I work out.
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As I was trying to get back into a workout routine following my second back surgery, I would adopt a new workout routine and then quit because I was so focused on doing it exactly right. I would often find it was legitimately beyond my strength and ability level. Because my perfectionist goals were too ambitious, I wouldn't be able to get through the workout, or I'd injure myself in an attempt to do so, or I would just plain lose motivation and quit. That produced a sense of shame that kept me from wanting to get back at it once I had given myself a few days off. So a few days became a few weeks, or a few months--then, I was back to square one.
Having a support system would have been massively helpful during this time. But in addition to rehabbing from my back surgery, I was working full time and adjusting to professional life after being medically discharged from the Navy. I was also ashamed that I wasn't the elite female athlete that I had once been, so I isolated myself in my efforts to get back to full strength so that no one would see the feeble, overweight, and discouraged version of myself that I had become. This is one of the reasons that I share my story now, and encourage others to do the same: we give ourselves and other people a great gift by sharing so that they can relate and find commonality. Sharing consistently and with like-minded people creates community, and communities are where magic happens!
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Whether you're stagnating in your commitment to showing your body love through movement, or just beginning the process of transforming your relationship with your body and therefore in search of new approaches to fitness, remember to give yourself (and your body!) a break. You don't have to be perfect in how you go about this. You also don't have to do it in order to look "perfect" and achieve a "perfect" body. It's completely acceptable to just hit a Zumba class for fun, or go throw around some weights because you're curious about it. You can time your cardio around your favorite show, or use it as a way to punctuate your work day from your down time in the evenings--as a way to turn it "off" and be a more relaxed and present version of yourself at home.
There is no set number of times per week, or length per session, that you need to hit. You can just get out there and move until you feel like stopping. Over time, you will find that you want to keep going longer and longer because you're enjoying it, not because it's going to burn more calories or score you more imaginary points in the race to perfection.
It's okay if you look like a mess while you're working out. I myself am someone who has always quickly and profusely begun to sweat once I start working out. "I'm not a sweaty, sloppy, disaster," I tell myself. "I'm just a really efficient cooler!"
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You don't need perfect clothes, shoes, headbands, or gear to begin. You can use wine bottles as hand weights (done it!) or take a few trips up-and-down your stairs to get your heart pumping. Group classes are way fun, and you should totally look into those, but you also don't need to spend a bunch of money to find community. Little communities spring up naturally if you go to the same gym at the same time each day, or find a park that you consistently show up in to work out. You'll meet people if you are open and willing to meet people. It's also okay to be a loner when you work out, as long as you're not doing it out of fear or shame.
It doesn't matter how you do it. What matters is that you just get moving!
Check out the #healthyatanysize community to find support and connect with other women who are working on this, too!
Photos by Elina Khachaturyan, hair by Christine Poindexter, clothing by Nike.

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