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Can We Please Stop With This Bikini Body B*llocks?

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Bikini body, like the phrases 'Sweet Spot' and 'Smile, Love, It Might Never Happen', is guaranteed to make me go from zero to homicidal.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with putting a little extra grunt work into looking good for a holiday. I always tend to up my game about two weeks before going away because if I am going to put on a piece of clothing that really is only a sturdier version of my bra and knickers, I'd like to feel confident doing so.

But somehow, this fairly harmless impulse to look good has been leapt upon by diet companies and magazines as some annual ritual, as if getting in shape or being healthy the rest of the year matters not.

My key gripe, is that it sums up the biggest problem with exercise and diet: that it is primarily to lose weight.

For some of us this is the case, but let's not forget the big picture here: if we need to lose weight, it's not so that we can fit into a size 8 two-piece, it's so that we can be healthier and less likely to die from preventable diseases.

We are massive advocates of body confidence here at HuffPost UK Lifestyle, but we are also women of science. And as such, there is no getting round the fact that if you are clinically obese - and that means overweight for your height and age with a BMI over 30 - you have a much higher chance of heart problems, diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

So there appear to be two issues here.

The first is that body confidence is a retaliation against the standardised version of beauty that almost every women's magazine seems to peddle out (thin and predominantly white). And by all means, that is a worthy cause but overlooks the underlying health implications.

The second however, and this is also something that magazines and TV shows trot out, is that not only do you need this bikini body otherwise people will assume you are a beached whale and will throw water over you, but you need to do it AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.

As someone who thinks she has a fairly healthy lifestyle - I exercise regularly and try not to eat too much crap - I know for a fact that this didn't happen overnight, and it wasn't the result of embarking on some editor's insane plan to drink nothing but smoothies for a week.

In actual fact, it was the result of hundreds of adjustments to a lifestyle that previously included eating chips for breakfast accompanied by two or three cigarettes.

Bikini body is a crock, frankly, that will have you eating five grapes and two walnuts as a snack, reaffirming that being healthy is painful and awful. And yes, it is painful and awful if you're trying to lose half your body weight in four weeks.

But if being healthy is a principle you try to apply to your life in baby steps, it can be one of the best things ever. It can give you renewed energy, a strong body and make you live longer.

But no magazine is going to write a guide for each season of the year. How To Get A Granny Pants Autumn Body just isn't going to sell.

So what would I advise? First, I think we need to ban the word bikini body - we already have done on HuffPost UK Lifestyle. Second, I think that if you've already taken steps for said body, keep going, but continue the journey even after you return from holiday.

It'll make you feel strong and capable long after you've washed the sand between your toes.

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