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5 Times Model Melinda Parrish Inspired Us to Be Body Positive

Last week, Melinda Parrish made headlines when she gave Facebook the finger for refusing to boost her body-positive post. In a powerful essay, the plus-size model opened up about the humiliating experience and asked readers to question how Facebook evaluates their content and what it means for women who aren't straight-sized.

Other than standing up for what she believes in, here are five more reasons why Melinda should be everyone's new favorite person.

1. She is a former Navy officer. Even though she began modeling at 16, Melinda took a break from her career to attend college at the United States Naval Academy. She graduated in 2007 and was commissioned as a Navy Officer. Unfortunately, a back injury that required multiple surgeries caused her to get medically discharged the following year.

2. She started the #healthyatanysize initiative. Melinda has forged a community of women who've learned to embrace their bodies by staying active and healthy. "Showing our bodies love through movement is a way that we work towards becoming the women that we want to be in all aspects of our lives," Melinda says on her website. Her hashtag has been used nearly 2,000 times on Instagram.

3. She is a self-proclaimed body-positive advocate. In her blog posts, Melinda has explored the world of being active while being plus size several times. She wants other women to know that exercising and prioritizing your health should have nothing to do with negative body image or a desire to change the way you look.

 

#thisbody is made for bouncing back At the age of 23 I'd had two major back surgeries and was being medically discharged from the Navy early into my term of service. It felt like my life was over, but in reality, there was so much more ahead for me that I was being guided to. Recovery from my second surgery took much longer than the first. It felt like I was learning to walk and use my muscles all over again. I had been an athlete my entire life, and was used to being able to command my body to do just about anything I wanted it to, but that completely changed. Instead, I had to reframe my relationship with exercise and fitness and learn how to show my body love instead of pushing it to extremes all the time. This process took years, and even now, I have to consciously remind myself every day that my body is perfect, just as it is, and moving my body is a way to show it love, not something I do to morph my body to meet anyone else's standards for performance or appearance. This struggle has, in many ways, come to define my life. It's part of why I am so passionate about the #healthyatanysize community, and my commitment to inspire and empower other women to transform their relationships with their bodies as well. Click on the link in my bio to learn more. XOXO by @eakphoto hair by @hairdavinci bras by @champion and @fabletics pants by @nikewomen beauty by moi using @itcosmetics

A photo posted by Melinda Parrish (@melparrishplus) on

4. She is passionate about working with nonprofits. After being discharged from the Navy, Melinda worked as a communications consultant for seven years. She offered her services to several nonprofits during that time and currently works with United Village Transformation, a nonprofit which helps create economic opportunities for women and children in the developing world.

 

Would you believe that when I first got this photo of myself back from the shoot, I didn't like how I looked? It wasn't because the photographer @theikphoto didn't create a beautiful image--he absolutely did! It was because I wasn't familiar with seeing images of myself, and I was clinging to all kinds of negative beliefs about how I looked that prevented me from seeing the beauty of the photo. But over time, I was able to learn to see my own beauty in photos, and I want all women to be able to learn this, too! Click on the link in my bio for a free download from Kara of @beyondthecurveretreats that teaches exactly this! @theikphoto hmu by moi using @itcosmetics #healthyatanysize #bodypositive #goldenconfidence

A photo posted by Melinda Parrish (@melparrishplus) on

5. She uses writing as a tool to stand up for women's issues. Her work has appeared in publications, such as Women's Running and Gaiam Life. She is also a regular blogger for The Huffington Post, where she is committed to writing content that helps women embrace their bodies and become a happier and more fulfilled version of themselves. Right now, she's working on a book inspired by her #healthyatanysize initiative.

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