Friday 8 September 2017

Project : Working OFF the "Summer Bod"

For months and months (and months) leading up to June, we are always inundated with articles, inspirational memes and constant reminders to be getting that summer body ready. “6 weeks until summer! Are you ready!?” “Your 8 week summer slim down plan!” “Squat your way to that bikini booty!” and so on and so forth. I fall victim to it no doubt; we have more social events in the summer than we do all year, and most of them require bare arms (my LEAST favorite body part) and legs; I want to be confident strutting around in bare minimum clothing, and though I’m happy with my body most of the months out of the year, I’m not immune to wanting to be tighter and leaner when the mercury rises.

But let’s explore the side effects of all those social events, shall we? Drinking more than I ever do, resulting in more day after’s wanting to stuff my face with bread/pizza/pasta/anything to make my stomach feel better, eating more and less healthy than normal, and losing gym trips to after work dinners/BBQs/social gatherings. This means that by the time September long weekend comes around, my skin is looking worse for wear with blemishes and a duller appearance due to all the built up toxins letting themselves be known through my pores, my body feels sluggish and bloated, and all around I’m not feeling in tip top shape. By mid-August, I’m ready for Fall, I’m ready to get back into the swing of things and I’m ready to get back to normal. In short, I’m ready to shed my summer body. But, keep my tan for as long as humanly possible.

So, September always marks my “detox” month, to allow my body to feel better and perform better. To reintroduce eating health 80-85% of the time, and giving pizza a break from being a once/twice a week meal to being a treat. However, I neither want to starve myself, feel as though I’m restricting myself, nor do I want to lose 10 lbs. I’m a fairly small person to begin with, so this is more about feeling better overall, not shedding tons of weight. Below are the steps I started taking September 1st in order to get back to the glowing, vibrant & healthier Brianne and away from the “okay, is this just perma bloat or is this early pregnancy?” Brianne. Look, I’m 9 months out from my wedding day, this is a legit ongoing concern ;)

  •  Drink more water. Super riveting right? Bumping from my usual 1 L a day to minimum 2.5-3 L. This not only helps flush lots of the shit out of my cells, it helps with unnecessary snack attacks, as well as helps clear up my skin. Will also reintroduce chlorophyll into the mix, for an extra boost. 
  •  Simple snack swaps. Here’s the thing, if I’m watching TV or reading, or in front of a computer, and have a snack in front of me, I’m going to finish it regardless of what it is. So instead of the chips/guac, pita bread & tzatziki pairings, cut up some veggies and pair it with hummus. Or cut up some fruit like an apple or handfuls of berries. I’ll mindlessly eat it anyway, so it’s an easy swap I barely notice – but my waistline does. One thing I won’t mindlessly eat though? Almonds. Healthy, yes. Calorie bombs? Also, yes.
  •  Make treats a treat. Our house is right by a convenience store that during the summer serves ice cream cones. So it’s extremely easy for us to go numerous times a week when normally I wouldn’t eat ice cream more than twice a month. Time to retrain myself to have self-control and keep treats as a rarity. Also looking forward to getting back to being dairy-free, but damn those ice cream cones! As if I’m going to say no to those.
  • Veggie soup. For a few a years now my mom and I have made a massive batch of veggie soup in the fall, and I eat it 4-5x a week for lunch. One serving will literally yield 4 servings of vegetables, its filling and I always mix red curry powder in to give it tons of flavor. Recipe goes like this: Mainly tomatoes, and add as many vegetables as you can to a large pot with garlic and onion, add water & some veggie stock and boil down. Blend with immersion blender and package away. It’s an easy base soup that can be accessorized with deli meat, goat cheese, croutons, etc. Also extremely cost efficient; one batch which yields about 10 large yogurt containers costs under $20 of fresh, local veggies. 
  • Swap bagels/bread for rice cakes. My favorite pairings are: Avacado, hot sauce & chicken; hummus, deli meat & banana peppers, peanut butter & bananas/berries, deli meat, mustard, tomatoes and avacados, etc. The possibilities are endless and those buggers are filling.
  • The “Are you hungry enough to eat an apple?” game. This was my mom & dad’s game when we were little and wanted a treat because we were “sooo hungry”. The other night I was so hungry, but only for some form of salty carb. Bread, chips, pizza; I was craving it so hard I could cry. But when I asked myself, okay well if you’re so hungry why don’t you eat some carrots? Shocker: they weren’t appetizing to me. Which tells me right there, you’re not hungry, you’re having a craving; those two are not the same. This is my favorite game to play, because generally it decides pretty quickly if I need a meal or if I need a distraction or a big glass of water. 
  •  Exercise. Like I said I’m not looking to trim down massively, and my “wedding bootcamp” won’t start until next year, so for now I’m just keeping up my regular 3x a week with a good walk on the weekend, and making sure to really sweat each time. Flush that shit out.
  • Have a plan. It’s hard to not order take out when you get home from work to find your fridge basically empty and anything dinner ready is frozen. Planning our meals out on Sunday and being prepared accordingly saves money, and saves a bad decision.
  •  Meal prep! Goes hand in hand with the above, it’s hard to make a poor food decision when everything is in ready to go containers and sliced up. We like to do “glory bowls” for dinner so I like making sure all of the ingredients we’d want on them are chopped, washed and packaged up.
Lastly, don’t beat yourself up. My tummy/legs are slightly jigglier than 3 months ago because I just spent 3 months not caring as much & enjoying good company alongside good food. I also enjoyed shenanigans that were fueled by alcohol and I wouldn’t give those up to see my abs instead. So I will employ the above tips to feel better overall, but I certainly won’t spend any more time making myself feel bad than I already have. That’s why tunics & high wasted leggings are around. 

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