Dear you,

I know the feeling. The feeling of a full stomach that makes you feel simultaneously content, but also grossly uncomfortable. The idea that is stuck in your head that states that the past day of eating has probably made the number on the scale go up significantly. The piercing, tugging voice in your head mandating that to feel better, you must go to the gym and push yourself through a grueling workout. I know that no matter how hard you try to push these thoughts and feelings away, they come back even stronger.

While there is no magical solution to make all of this instantly go away, I do have one piece of advice: tell the voice to SHUT UP.

Tell the voice to simply shut up! Don't listen to it! In fact, do the exact opposite of everything the voice says. For instance, if your mind is telling you that in order for you to feel confident today, you must go to the gym, find confidence in absolutely everywhere you can except the gym.

I understand that this is much easier said than done. This is all coming from the girl who, one year ago, would have read this article, scoffed to herself, adjusted her way-too-tight scrunchie ponytail, and then proceeded to run off to the gym (literally). The girl who is encouraging you to ignore the voice completely used to let the voice dictate her everyday actions to the point where if she did not fulfill her Fitbit's daily goals, the day might as well cease to exist. And to some degree, I'm still that girl. But I do have a few pointers as to how to best make that seemingly convincing mind of yours absolutely irrelevant.

1. Check in with your intentions.

Ask yourself, "why do I want to go work out right now?" If the answer is anything remotely related to the foods you allowed yourself to indulge in, the relaxation to deservedly rewarded yourself with, or any other negative attribute your mind has attached to you, then the intentions behind your visit to the gym are not in the right place. I am by no means suggesting that working out is "bad" or should be cut out of one's life altogether. I'm simply arguing that the intentions behind one's motivation to work out are essential to their subsequent feelings about the workout.

2. Is there something else more beneficial and emotionally healthy that you can be doing?

Do not cancel plans with friends or loved ones so you can work out. I'm going to say this one more time to let it really sink in: do not cancel plans with friends or loved ones so you can work out. Don't even give yourself the option to! If you have plans, those are your plans. Working out is not part of your plan, and that is okay.

3. Find what you enjoy.

I used to force myself to run miles and miles every single workout merely because I was sure that it was necessary. Most days, I genuinely enjoy running. However, there are days where running is the absolute last thing I would like to do, so on days like that, I simply don't run! And that is more than okay! Find what you and your body truly find enjoyment and fun in. Maybe that is working out in a gym, maybe it's taking your dog for a walk, maybe it's rock-climbing or yoga or dance, or maybe it's shooting some hoops with your siblings or friends. It's different for everybody; find what is perfect for you.

So, regardless of where you are physically, mentally, or emotionally, there are a plethora of other things you can do for yourself besides work out. So, no matter what you ate yesterday, how active you were, or what that voice in your head is saying, I'm here to tell you that you do NOT have to work out. You do NOT have to burn any calories. You do NOT have to force yourself to do anything that you don't want to do.

And that is perfectly okay.