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Posted By Judi Samuels, M.A. on Jun 12, 2018 11:25:19 AM

Summer is here and these are some simple steps to start to get your beach body back!


beach body

It’s that time to get beach-body ready... again! It seems as though we have to go through this every year. And we always ask ourselves, “Why did I stray off my healthy eating habits so I wouldn’t have to lose weight in Spring?” Of course, the answer is different for everybody, but for many of us who live in temperate or colder climates, the answer is fairly predictable.

Several things happen in the winter months that trigger a change in our eating habits. First, at the end of Fall, we have the Holidays. Yes, Halloween leads to Thanksgiving, which leads to all the other Holidays that typically have food as a major focus. As much as we try, and many of us do, to stay on track, the temptations never end. Oftentimes, our busy schedules not only lead to an increase in eating volume, but also to changes in our daily patterns, such as skipping meals and missing regular workouts.

Another change that takes place in Winter is the increased amount of time spent indoors with artificial light. Studies have shown that these conditions lead to less exercise and more food consumption. Let’s call it hibernation mode. Yes, we start to exhibit those characteristics that are deeply imbedded in the most primitive areas of our brains that control those functions basic to the survival of all animals, such as heart rate, breathing, digesting food and sleeping. Simplified, the colder weather tells us to hunker down and protect ourselves by storing food and sleeping!

So what’s a body to do? As the weather warms, let’s try to spend more time outdoors. Once the days are longer and we see sun more, both in the morning and evenings, it’s time to start taking those long walks and runs again. The additional daylight makes it easier to go to the gym before or after work without feeling the need to be staying warm at home. The sensation of being refreshed also adds to our desire for lighter and healthier foods. We’re ready to begin our "beach body” quest!

I decided that I needed a boost to my personal quest, so I have enlisted my own clients as well as some friends to join me. It’s always more fun to have a workout buddy, and so is a weight loss buddy… or ten! We are going on this journey together, and I am designing the map. Here are some of the basic steps that are involved:

• Step One- Take one week to clean out all the processed and “forbidden foods”, e.g., cakes, cookies, candy, starchy carbohydrates, fatty meats and frozen junk foods.

• Step Two- Spend that week eating super clean: Just lean proteins, lots of vegetables, and a few fruits. Make a weekly plan and shopping list so you’re always prepared with foods for home and work. Bring your lunch! Eating out is unreliable and tests our limits!

• Step Three- In the next week, gradually add back only those whole grained starches that are necessary to fuel your workouts, such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and beans and legumes. Carefully add nuts and seeds in limited amounts. Use small amounts of monounsaturated fats for cooking and dressing.

• Step Four- Use portion control and not calorie counting as your guide. If you’re eating the best quality fresh foods and not foods high in sugar, sodium or fat, you won’t need to be concerned about calories as much.

• Step Five- While making these changes, weigh yourself only once a week. It’s a good idea to take a baseline weight when you start and take your circumference measurements too. These would include your chest, biceps, waist, hips, thighs and calves. Repeat weekly.

Good luck to those of you who are all fired up and ready to go! To those of you who are thinking of starting, I hope this has helped guide the way. Of course, let me know if I can help by reaching out to me at Bethesda Sport&Health or at jsamuels@sportandhealth.com .

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