Your Best Beach Body, Part One
Everyone take a deep breath. It’s May and this year we’re going to approach the BB (beach body) issue differently.
Instead of horrified cries of: “OMG I…
a) Should have stuck with my New Year’s resolutions, which were last New Year’s resolutions, which were the year before resolutions…
b) Can’t look in a full length mirror naked without conjuring up visions of the latest episode of Heavy;
c) Am facing another spring and summer wearing dark hide-it clothes;
d) Will withdraw from fun social events, skipping the pool or the beach;
e) Will spend another year hating my body and myself.”
You’re now going to hear: “Hey, OK I need to work on my body. But, I’m ready and willing to do the work. I love myself and want to take care of this precious body that I’m so grateful for. I know I can do this.”
Alright, it’s official. We’re done with the negative and hopeless attitudes once and for all. I’ve got a better way to help you achieve a healthier, more fit mind and body. It’s finally time you got to enjoy the warm winds, sunny skies, sandy beaches and tons of pool time. So, let’s get started.
For the next six weeks, I’m going to use my trademark template — MIND MOUTH MUSCLE — to walk you through a new way to hit the deck running as the spring and summer months embrace us. Ready to get started? OK, here we go. Any journey always starts with the mind. You need to direct your mind into a powerful, positive and proactive place.
Take the BMBB commitment today: Remember this is a Beach Mind Beach Body experience. It’s high time to bag the toxic self-speak and replace it with endless self-support. Quit comparing yourself to every Tom, Dick, Tracy and Debbie in town. Pay attention to you. Commit to loving and supporting you. Repeat after me: “I commit to avoid negative self-speak. Instead of getting down on myself about my body, I’m going to celebrate what’s good about it. I will not engage in self-loathing, but practice self-love and appreciation. I will strive to stay focused on my goal — a healthier mental attitude about my body, and a fitter body.” Let’s get real. Of course you’ll have downer days when you’re tired and overwhelmed and you’ll default to feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and defeat. That’s completely understandable. Heck you’re human for crying out loud. The key is to regroup as fast as you can, and minimize any Toxic Speak and self-destruction. Get some sleep and turn it around. You can do this.
Know the Difference between Fantasy and Reality: Got an extra 50 on board? Newsflash: you’re not dropping it all in 6 weeks. However, you’ll remove some excess fat and build muscle, and keep it going long after this wonderful BMBB campaign. The goal is to lay down a foundation of healthy lifestyle habits that you’ll hone and sustain for a lifetime. So don’t believe all of the cheesy ads promising overnight success. Stay mindful of reality and the truth. Every journey begins with that first crucial step in the right direction. One of my favorite Peekisms is: The greatest stresses of life come from unmet expectations. Be careful to establish reasonable and attainable mini-goals. Huge success is always built on the achievement of these smaller milestones.
Know Your Numbers: To monitor your accomplishments as you go along, you need some kind of measureable outcomes. This may include blood sugars, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Regarding your physical body, you can do this any way you want to. Freaked out by the scale? No problem. You can whip out a tape measure and record your tummy (across the belly button) circumference, along with hips, thighs and buttocks if you wish. Write it down as you’ll be coming back with future updates. As well, you can also use my infamous clothes-o-meter. Simply take a piece of clothing that you’ll fit into after removing 5-10 pounds (women — a pair of jeans, men your belt), pull it out and keep it front and center in your closet so that it greets you every day. Trust me. If the clothing is getting looser, you’re doing just great. Or, for you folks who want to, get a body fat scale and measure your total body fat along with weight and tape measurements. The bottom line is that you need something to compare in order to track progress over time.
Develop Stress Resilience: So you’re cruising along and doing pretty well with your program and kapow — stress smacks you right in the face. Here’s my golden rule: The key to survival is the ability to adapt and adjust to life’s stresses without resorting to self-destruction. Life presents endless opportunities to adapt and adjust. So many folks get derailed when they become paralyzed when something changes in their lives — a tough project deadline, your boyfriend/girlfriend drops you like a lead balloon, an ankle sprain. Create a New Normal and develop a strategy for surviving. Get help and support when you need it. As you regroup, continue to take care of yourself as best you can. You’ll get over the hurdle, I promise you. Use every single challenge in your life as a golden opportunity to refine your adapting and adjusting skills.
Reward Yourself: Every single action you do in your life is associated with some kind of reward or you wouldn’t be doing it. You brush your teeth to avoid another painful trip to the dentist. You dress to the nines in anticipation of an awesome date with someone you love. A tsunami of the brain chemical dopamine floods your mind and body with feelings of pleasure. You feel terrific. So, as you commit your 6 week plan to paper (or iPad, Excel spreadsheet or whatever works for you), make a list of mini-rewards that will accompany achievement of your mini-goals. It could be purchasing a cherished piece of clothing, a fun trip, or a joyful walk with your best friend. Or, it could be a fabulous sense of accomplishment. Your life’s work needs to be balanced by countless rewards.
OK, we’ve dealt with attitude, focus, numbers and resilience. As we’re starting out, I suggest keeping your first nutritional and activity steps simple and straightforward. I highly recommend that you track your progress on the WebMD Food and Fitness Planner. And make sure to use the Food-O-Meter to learn the calorie breakdown for your favorite foods, as well as the Fit-O-Meter which will show you how many calories you burn in over 600 different kinds of activities. Hey, this is a learning experience so take advantage of these terrific resources right there at your fingertips.
Eat every 3-4 hours. Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. End your eating with dinner, preferably by 8PM. Eat smaller, balanced meals and snacks.
Get Rid of Refined Sugars. Refined or processed sugars will sabotage your best efforts to rein in runaway appetites. Get them out of your house and any space you live and work in. Stick with whole foods– fruits, veggies, grains and lean protein.
Vacuum in the Veggies. You can eat endless portions of non-starchy veggies. They’ll fill you up and not out. Eat them throughout the day. Add them to brown rice, as a side with beans, and in soups. There are countless way to incorporate these life giving plants into your daily meals and snacks.
Try This Trick to Feel Full. Throughout the day, combine lean protein with fiber. It takes the body much longer to digest carrots and hummus, or chicken and veggies, or peanut butter on an apple. You’ll feel full, your appetite will be controlled and you can carry on with your day’s activities.
Shake It Up. Try a protein shake for a meal or a mid-afternoon snack. One scoop or whey or soy protein powder delivers about 20 grams of protein (equivalent to a chicken breast). Add water, or skim milk, or plain yogurt along with fresh or frozen fruit and sip. It’s a simple and easy way to stay satisfied and well nourished.
Cut Out the Nocturnal Feasting. Too many calories consumed at night equal lots of extra body fat. Top that with eating too much too late and you’ve got bulging bellies and sagging saddlebags popping up everywhere. Make a commitment that during the work week, you’ll cut off your eating by 8PM (If you eat after 8 you’ll gain a lot of weight), or earlier. You can play a little later on Friday and Saturday, but don’t go whole hog. Get to bed earlier as well. You can’t overeat and sleep at the same time.
Get Up More. Coupled with better nutritional habits, you’ve got to become more physically active. Your body’s screaming for more activity. Get up and walk as much as you can. Take the stairs, clean out the garage or your closets. Just move more every day. Your brain and heart will love it, along with all of your other organ systems. And man will you cook some excess body fat. Burn 400 calories worth per day doing a combination of different activities.
Add Intensity. If you really want to see some results, add Vitamin I, or intensity. In intervals, just incorporate faster speed or hill work and resistance when you can. It’s important to constantly change it up and challenge your body. The bonus is that you’ll cook calories faster.
Dance Yourself into a Beach Body. What a royal win win– having fun and burning calories. Crank up your boom box or iPod and let it rip. Try to take dancing recesses whenever you can throughout the day.
For Week Two, we’re going to get more specific about what to do for all of you WebMD members who are having “Two Piece Troubles”. Watch out for new mental and physical muscle toning and fat burning exercises coming your way so that you can achieve your best beach body.
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