Hey there, pretty girl.

It’s February and self-love is all over my social media. It’s bombarding me with pink accessories of every variety, and ‘treat yo-self’ memes. And while I love this aggressive pursuit of self-love enlightenment, I find that what is a genuinely important movement, is somehow cheapened by marketing strategies to suck me into being a sales percentage.

Yes, I know I work in marketing, so I might be hyper-aware of the strategies in the biz but I don’t think that’s any reason to disqualify that self-love should mean more than just adorable bottles of champagne and cute kits for a girl’s night in.

This month, we’ll be talking about what it means to nourish the different parts of yourself, from top to tail, inside and out.

Our first topic is one of the most obvious: Body love.

I talk about workouts with almost everyone I know. If I had a dollar for every time I talked about a workout, I’d literally be a stupid level of rich. But what’s interesting is who I talk to, and how I talk to about my body have changed drastically over the years– and for the better.

Now I speak with people who motivate me, and give me energy to keep up with my cardio when I can’t stand the thought of even looking at my running shoes. I ran a half-marathon a few years ago and I didn’t get skinny. And at mile .75 (when it stops being cute and fun and actually starts being work), I realized I’d better get my head out of those glossy magazine pages, or I’d never make it to the end of another 12 miles.

“Don’t let them get in your head, baby girl. You’re beautiful.”

I finished the half, and my body looked, for the most part, the same. But then it wasn’t about looking good. I felt f*ing amazing. I mean, I couldn’t walk… I legitimately was as stiff as a mummy and had celebratory chocolate in my teeth because my face was too cold to move or melt it, but I could’ve conquered the world that day.

What I learned, was that you can run 13.1 miles and not lose a pound, but also think you’re body is the miraculous vehicle that deserves your respect.

I’ve just turned 29, and I’m incredibly annoyed it took me so long to stop caring about abs or batwings in such an unhealthy way. Do it for the challenge. Do it because your body deserves to be cared for, but don’t do it because you want to look like Behati and definitely not because you think anyone else really cares. Anyone who is judging your body sucks. Period. Don’t let them get in your head, baby girl. You’re beautiful.

Now I feel somewhat inspired to listen to Eye of the Tiger and crush a stint on the elliptical (lol) but it’s the weekend and just wearing workout pants will have to count (for today at least).

Jess // @xojco