Ire­mem­ber vividly the time when I was in the best shape of my life. It was four years ago, and I had just gone through a ma­jor change in my life. Okay, let’s not be coy about it. It was after a break-up. To dis­tract my­self, I packed my days with ac­tiv­i­ties — lunch dates, drinks, work projects, even the odd gro­cery run de­spite the fact that my fridge was full to the brim, and go­ing to the gym be­came a daily oc­cur­rence. Some­thing about re­leas­ing en­dor­phins kept me sane, plus hav­ing ac­cess to a punch­ing bag didn’t hurt. Kick-box­ing be­came my ex­er­cise of choice (it might have had some­thing to do with my go-to work­out song, Christina Aguilera’s Fighter) and soon enough my arms, legs and torso were taut and toned.

I kept it up for two years but then life got in the way. Ev­ery day be­came ev­ery other day, and even­tu­ally I stopped go­ing. Un­less you’re a gym junkie, a good por­tion of you can re­late to this; it be­comes too easy to come up with ex­cuses not to go. While I cer­tainly do not con­done lazi­ness and com­pletely be­lieve that a healthy life­style is the way to go (I’m go­ing to start go­ing to the gym again, hon­est!), this month’s Shape is­sue isn’t a guilt trip for your lack of gym vis­its. It’s about cel­e­brat­ing the skin you’re in. We show you how to dress ac­cord­ing to your god-given fig­ure in our shop­ping spe­cial on page 114, and then one contributor shares how her boyfriend has the per­fect body and why she’s okay with it (on page 158) while another con­tends that her weight does not re­flect her health (on page 58). We’ve even put to­gether a cheat sheet to look­ing lean, on page 122, with a roundup of the best firm­ing and slim­ming beauty buys.

Also, Kris­ten Ste­wart rocks. That is all.

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