Women’s Health & Bikini Bodies

I love setting – And reaching – A goal, but I have to admit that these days part of me cringes when I read the ubiquitous “Bikini Body In Six Weeks” style blog posts, magazine articles, and books. As appealing as those airbrushed abs are, the days of dedicating myself to one goal and one goal alone – Like, say, a six-pack – Are long gone.

Now that I’m in my early thirties a large portion of my day is spent at work, chained to at my desk or on the phone or at a conference table, versus my early twenties spent running around campus and subsisting on as little sleep as my body could manage. And these shifts in my daily activity and day-to-day life have resulted in pretty significant changes in my body. What I need, how I handle things, what works best… I’ve had to rediscover these for myself as I’ve gotten older. Oh the joys of women’s health!

And as fun as it is to have an event or vacation on the horizon to look forward to and to motivate you to get into shape , these days I’m infinitely more interested in having a healthy, strong body that gets me through every day with energy & productivity.

And you know what that means? That means skipping the “Bikini Body In Six Weeks” program in favor of being healthy every day. I want to feel good today. And tomorrow. And the day after. That means staying on top of a diet and fitness regime each and every day. Yes, there are rest days from the gym. Yes, there are “cheat” meals where I indulge my not-so-great-for-me cravings. But gone are the days of binge drinking and staying out all night and eating whatever I want.

So with the goal of living a healthy, happy life in mind here’s a peek into my weekly diet & fitness routine & some of my recommendations for mastering your own. What I try to keep in mind is: If you want to feel great, you have to treat your body great most of the time.

Lorna-Jane-Beginners-Fitness-Downward-Dog-Extention

Fitness:

I have a three-pronged attack when it comes to my fitness routine: (1) Walking, (2) Physical therapy & Weight Training, and (3) Yoga. Each of these accomplishes something important and has its own separate reward.

  1. Walking – Giving up my taxi habit had two major benefits, I stopped wasting money and I got dramatically healthier. These days I walk between 3-5 miles each day during the week and 5-15 miles on weekends. Not only is this a great way to decompress after work or after leaving a social event, but just getting outside and seeing my beautiful city never fails to put a smile on my face. I like to check my steps on my FitBit!
  2. Physical Therapy & Weight Training – You can find me in the gym at least five days a week. And at least three times a week I’m there twice for stretching & rolling in the morning and a workout in the afternoon. The key to circuit training is to keep yourself engaged and to push yourself. I rarely do the same workout twice and constantly mix things up. A great way to keep your body from hitting a plateau? Try adding in different equipment & gym paraphernalia – Resistance bands, medicine balls, free weights, rowing machines, and kettlebells are all great.
  3. Yoga – Learning to love yoga has really changed my relationship with my body. Only a few months have passed since this love affaire began, but I can’t imagine life without my favorite class. Finding the right class and instructor can be a challenge, but once you do you’ll find yoga is a great de-stressing practice, that it gets you in touch with your body, and you’ll leave feeling at peace. Bonus? Handstands!

San-Francisco-Food-Blogger-Crackling-Cauliflower-Vegan-Gluten-Free-Paleo

Food:

Nutrition is something that I find endlessly fascinating, I take classes on the subject and read anything that I can get my hands on. What I’ve noticed over the years is that there will always be new data & studies available, there will always be a divergence of interpretations & opinions with regard to that information, and that industry “professional” will never see eye-to-eye. Never. The arguments are endless – High fat versus low-fat, vegan versus paleo, high protein, low carb…

My take away is two-fold: (1) Moderation is key, and (2) Eating a healthy diet filled with fresh, local, organic produce is best. Stay away from processed foods. Limit takeout & restaurant meals. Choose whole foods whenever possible. It’s that simple in my mind.

I’ve tried a number of ways of eating over the years – Everything from raw to paleo – And have settled on my current diet because it gives me the most energy and makes my body happy.

Happy body = Happy life as far as I’m concerned.

  • High raw, mostly vegan, gluten-free – I usually eat raw until dinner with smoothies, produce & nuts making up the bulk of my daytime food. I don’t eat dairy or meat and don’t eat gluten-free replacement foods like breads, pastries & pastas. I love to bake and when I have a sweet tooth raw, vegan ice cream or cookies are quick & easy, but I avoid anything processed or pre-made whenever possible.
  • Intermittent fasting is something that I’ve come to really appreciate – This means not eating until later in the day to give your body a chance to burn existing fuel. Even more than the fat-burning properties, I’ve found that my digestive system really appreciates the mini fast each day. This means that I’m regularly eating “breakfast” between 12pm-1pm.
  • For years I ate 5 mini meals a day or even snacked continually throughout the day rather than eating any full-sized meals. However I’ve found that three meals a day with the middle meal being the largest suits me best. {For now anyway!} What throws me off more than what I eat or how much, is when – I have trouble sleeping and wake-up starving if I eat my largest meal of the day right before bed. I try to give myself a couple hours between dinner and sleep.
  • Hydrate! Hydration is incredibly important and getting enough fluids can effect everything from controlling cravings to getting a good night’s sleep. Water, green & herbal tea, and coconut water are all on my Must Have list each day.
  • And last but hardly least – SLEEP. If you don’t sleep well, nothing will go the way you want it to. Nothing. Not only will your skin look older, but your memory will slip, you won’t recover from your workouts, and you won’t have the self-control to stay out of the candy drawer at your office. So do yourself a huge favor and make sure your clocking enough quality sleep time.

What do YOU think about my goal to stay healthy year-around versus “cramming” all the dieting & working out into a six-week period to get ready for bikini season?

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