“To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.”
― Simone de Beauvoir
The winter months call for deep hibernating states, and sometimes we all indulge a little too much in the deep, dark months for many reasons. It could be because of holiday parties, comfort foods quenching our distaste for it getting dark at four pm, richer dishes, with less raw vegetables and fruits. We also don’t move as much during these months, as our time outside gets cut short, our vitamin D reserves deplete, and all we want to do is binge on netflix and popcorn.
While I don’t advise such stark contrasts when it comes to eating for the seasons, I know it’s hard to get back on track after our bodies have been quite sluggish these past few months.
All of us want to feel comfortable, and confident in our own skins. It’s not about striving to look like a fitness or runway model, and if it is, then you go girl / guy! There is nothing wrong with wanting to live and be in your best body. This isn’t about focusing on perfection, because that will never exist, or dieting to look slim for a few months, and then you go back to old habits. It’s about figuring out what you need to do to feel your absolute best when you shed those layers, whether it means you’re in a bathing suit, or your birthday suit. I have no shame in admitting I want to feel, and look good naked. These thoughts don’t stem from an ego place, but from a place of deep love and gratitude for my body. It does so much for me, that I want to feed it, physically and mentally, the best way I can.
I know that the pressure to look perfect intensifies at this time of year. Going to the beach is about having fun, but it seems that instead we have been pressured to be constantly anxious of how we look and compare ourselves to the others.
It’s easy to forget that being healthy isn’t about having a picture perfect body, again I’m telling you it doesn’t exist.
If you’re happy, relaxed, full of energy, have good digestion, a powerful immune system and gleaming skin, how important is it to have a stomach as flat as a pancake?
Shifting your focus onto the health benefits of being at the beach, or in the bedroom, will reduce your anxiety about undressing into your skivvies, and will most likely give you your best body.
If you don’t take anything else from this post, remember this: A stressed body, is not a fat burning body.
We can be doing everything right in terms of food, nutrition, quantity, quality, exercise, activity, but if our bodies are stressed, nothing else really matters. Our bodies are very, very, very smart and we unfortunately can’t control when and in what quantity hormones get released.
YOUR BEST BODY MISTAKES TO AVOID AND WHY
Crash dieting and over-exercising damage your health and can cause weight gain in the long run.
1. The Crash Diet: you’re living on juices and broth for weeks on end
-You’re missing out on protein and essential fats, so your internal organs will suffer and your body becomes weaker. Your metabolism will slow down and you’ll feel tired, potentially ill, plus you’ll be more prone to putting on weight when you go back to eating normally.
-If the juices are fruit-based rather than vegetable-based, then you’ll be raising your blood sugar levels dramatically, which causes inflammation and weight gain. (For most people, there are a small percentage of people that are sugar burners, and do well with fructose from lots of fruits).
-Anxiety and lack of confidence may be the reason you want to change your body shape for the beach, but these emotions are only going to get much worse if you starve yourself, because lack of calories disrupts your blood sugar balance, causing extreme mood disturbances, and essentially weight gain. Starvation = weight gain in the long run. Our bodies are meant to be fed a lot during the day! This is a hard mentally to break, because we always think, if we feed it less, than it will shrink. You might and most likely will lose weight due to starving your body of calories and nutrients, but you will gain this weight back, sometimes even more, once you start eating normally again. Unfortunately I see this a whole lot, but do not fear! You can break this habit, but it will take time, work and healing. Remember – Our bodies are miraculous beings, and they truly want us to thrive, be happy, and be in peak condition. When we start to connect with our inner core, and treat our bodies with deep love and gratitude, lots of transformation will start to take place, not only externally, but most importantly internally.
2. The Cardio Blitz: you’re aiming to blast off your excess fat by running and spinning for miles
-Running and other cardio workouts are great for overall fitness, but engaging in excessive cardio will only wreak havoc later down the line as it create lots and lots of inflammation in the body. You’re also a lot hungrier, and will have to eat more, which sometimes is hard to navigate, as you might be eating too little for the amount you’re working out, or you over eat because you think you need a lot more than you actually do to replenish and nourish your body.
-Overdoing it on cardio increases your stress hormones, including cortisol, which puts you at greater risk of health issues like poor sleep, IBS, depression, and the storage of fat around the middle. Cortisol is our friend in small amounts, but once our cortisol (fat storing hormones) goes up, it’s what I described above. No matter how clean, and healthy we are eating, we will start to store weight in places where we’re genetically predisposed to. (My places include my arms, upper things and butt 🙂 ).
-Take a deep breathe. Do things that you love, or you will be stressed before, during and after a workout! Move, sweat, dance, run, walk, spin, take a class – just make sure you aren’t doing it because you have to, or you think it’s the right exercise for you. Do what you truly love, and see your results follow. You will be happier, more love filled, and your body will settle into its happy weight, aka your best body.
3. The Abs Crunch: you’re doing endless abdominal work to help tighten your stomach
-Having core strength is important in overall health, but if you do crunches to the point of exhaustion, i.e. when your tummy pops outwards with the effort, you’re only developing a layer of muscle on your abdomen, which doesn’t reduce waist inches.
-An intense ab workout puts your digestive system under pressure too; it could cause food to stay too long in your intestine upsetting the balance of bacteria, and will cause bloating. Which is not fun for our stomachs, or us.
So what do you do? Let me help navigate you to some steps you can start taking today, that are simple and healthy.
HOW TO GET HEALTHY FOR THE BEACH
1. Cut out wheat and gluten-containing grains
-This is a sure-fire way to reduce bloating from an unhappy gut and improve digestion. The result is that you’ll feel more energized, lighter and hopefully have a flatter tummy, which is a very happy side effect!
-Wheat raises your insulin levels dramatically (this includes whole grains, but they are a little better than white), insulin is the hormone that tells your body to store fat, so cutting it out, or reducing the quantity, is very helpful in getting balanced hormones and reducing body fat.
-Gluten causes inflammation in your gut making it bloated. Grains that contain gluten are: wheat, rye, barley and oats. Replace bread, pastry, muffins and pasta with pseudo-grain alternatives like quinoa and buckwheat, or with nutritious starchy veg such as celeriac, beetroot and sweet potatoes. Or simply an extra portion of green veg – a a nutritious way to lower insulin levels, and satiate your hunger, while making your hormones happier.
2. Balance your energy and curb food cravings
-Cutting out sugary foods, as well as wheat, is another amazing way to improve your health, mood, energy levels and a great step towards getting a healthy beach bod
-If you’re wanting to reduce cravings, and balance your blood sugar, it will be super helpful if you steer clear of: chocolate, cakes, biscuits, candy, fruit juice, syrups
LBL TIP: Smoothies with bananas and other tropical fruit are not contributing to healthy skin or digestion. Add avocado instead of banana and stick to low-sugar fruit such as berries. If you do well with banana’s have them in moderation, but I find most people don’t digest them well as they can be very mucous forming (a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective). If I’m using banana’s I stick to 1/2 a frozen banana for my smoothies, or just use frozen avocado and add one date to sweeten.
-To control sweet and carbohydrate cravings, you can take a green algae, like spirulina between meals. I know this might not be fun, but it’s super helpful in curbing those really intense sugar cravings. If you have them in tablet form take four x tablets or one tsp in a glass of water with a big squeeze of lemon juice in between meals, or whenever you have a craving. The high protein content helps to keep you going!
3. Move your body the right way
-Workouts that involve circuits of short bursts of cardio such as skipping or jumping, alongside working the large muscle groups with exercises such as such as squats and lunges are a great way to start attacking your fat stores without depleting your body and causing stress as running long distances can. Honestly, my favorite form of cardio is walking! I try to walk an hour a day, and at a fast pace.
-Team sports, or going to a class with friends will combine a sense of fun (key tip!) with strength, endurance and wellbeing. Help to balance your stress levels by being more active throughout the day, breathing deeply, especially when you’re outdoors in the fresh air.
– If you have a sedentary job. Get up from your desk every 45 mins, walk around for a few minutes, swing your arms and take some deep breaths. If you have space, do 50 jumping jacks, hold a plank for one minute, and do 50 high knee kicks. I know it sounds silly, but it will help stimulate stagnant blood flow, it will increase your energy, and your metabolism. If you do five circuits of this everyday, I’m telling you, you will see and feel results!
WHY YOU NEED TO LOOK FORWARD TO THE BEACH, BEDROOM AND LIVING IN YOUR BEST BODY
Remember that even if you’re not feeling 100% confident, and comfortable in your own body right now, don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s probably taken you years to put on weight, or maybe you’ve let go of healthy habits gradually over the years, therefore any sort of change won’t be instantaneous. I see this being the hardest part in my practice and with clients, and potential clients. Most people want a quick fix, or some diet that will transform their lives. But this is never the case, and if someone or something promises you this, you will most likely be left even more deflated and frustrated than before you began. Working so hard, but not seeing results.
Long lasting, sustainable, and healthy dreams and goals take time. I speak from experience, not only from practice, but with my own body and life. My personal journey with lyme disease, and healing took years, upon years. I sometimes wish there was a magic wand to wave and everything would go away, but when I really think about it, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the struggles, trials and tribulations. Those valleys, the patience and persistence, only makes reaching the mountains that much sweeter.
I’m here to give you hope, help you on your own unique and beautiful path, and support you through it. I can also tell you that it’s 1000000% possible to heal, to get your best body, and to live your dreams.
As we embark on the summer months, vacation, and being kissed by the sun, let’s all remember the rest, relaxation, east, fun and joy this upcoming months bring forth.
Along with these added health benefits…
-Getting high levels of sun exposure dramatically increases the levels of Vitamin D in your body. This nutrient is closely involved in your immune system, the growth of new cells and healthy teeth and bones. Give your skin 15-20mins of unprotected exposure each day to stimulate Vitamin D production, then go for a natural/organic sun protection product to avoid burning.
-Walking barefoot on the sand or stones and swimming in the sea have a fantastic effect on how you feel. These experiences have a specific effect on your body known as grounding or earthing, which is incredibly helpful in reducing pain and anxiety.
-Having a nap on the beach is a sign that your body is recuperating from the pressures of your everyday life. Don’t feel guilty about extra sleep, it is healing and repairing, plus it reduces your hunger hormones and stops you over-eating.
-Hanging out with your friends or family, playing, having fun, reading an amazing book, socializing and enjoying yourself have benefits for your mind and body, don’t underestimate the importance of happiness!
HAPPINESS IS KEY.
When you see someone on the beach who you think has a better body than you, think about how hard they must have worked for it and in your thoughts wish them all the health and happiness! Then smile and get back in the sea.You can have the body of your dreams. Be happy, express gratitude, and know that everything takes hard work. Everything.
Happy Monday Beauties,
For those of you in need of deeper guidance, support and love during the beautiful, exciting and often difficult journey when it comes to our own unique bodies, health and lifestyles, I look forward to connecting over a session.