Summer's almost here, and I'm in a mad scramble to slim down for swimsuit season. Despite my many years as a fitness guru, I'm a real girl who struggles with those last few stubborn pounds, and I understand how frustrating it can be to feel stuck, unable to shed that warm winter weight as the days grow hotter.
So read on to discover 5 of the Top 10 Reasons Why Those Pounds Are Sticking Around. With just a few small changes, it will be so much easier to lose weight, exercise with loads of energy, and feel strong, sleek & sexy, just in time for summer.
The average American consumes up to 500 extra calories per day in SWEETENED BEVERAGES. YIKES! These excess calories come from refined sugar - highly addictive and the primary factor in our current diabetes epidemic. So the first and most important thing to do for weight loss, and your health, is to ditch the soda, juice, alcohol, coffee concoctions, vitamin waters, and other beverages with added sugar. Some alternatives: naturally flavored filtered or sparkling water, herbal or green tea, black coffee, kombucha, and unsweetened coconut water.
Our greatest obstacle to weight loss is the consumption of shiny colored, cleverly packaged food-like products lining the shelves of our grocery stores. PROCESSED FOODS are steeped in additives, preservatives and chemicals, compounds that pollute our body’s hormonal, metabolic and immune systems. These foreign substances disrupt our body’s ability to properly metabolize energy, resulting in lethargy and weight gain.
CLEAN EATING is the real key to weight loss. Eat whole foods without a package or label, and with just one ingredient - itself! Ditching the junk food will help you shed layers easily without going on a calorie-restricted “diet.”
Back when we were being chased by saber-toothed tigers, stress was an awesome evolutionary response. A rush of adrenaline and cortisol endowed us with a burst of energy so that we made it to the safest refuge. Our muscles flooded with glucose to provide us the strength to escape danger. MODERN STRESS is a more chronic and insidious bedfellow. The same physiological responses occur, but now we sit at our desks, rub our temples and scrunch our faces. Stress hormones become toxic in our system & disable our ability to burn energy. The body tells the brain to replenish the energy stores it thinks it burned off fleeing from that tiger, so we overeat. Then we grow even more stressed that we’re gaining weight, and the vigorous face scrunching continues!!
So how do we reverse the harmful effects of stress? Meditation, self-care, breathing exercises, vacation - but my favorite stress reducer? EXERCISE. Which brings us to #4...
Making time to exercise is HARD. We spend 12 hours a day building our career, 16 hours a day raising our kids, and if we’re lucky we manage to squeeze in a few hours of sleep before we do it all over again. How do we fit in fitness? The only way to stick to a regular routine is to do things you enjoy. Think about what you loved to do as a kid, and look for an adult equivalent. Here are some creative ideas to get your body moving and your blood flowing:
Our bodies are designed to move, stretch, leap, play, twist, reach, romp - otherwise we stagnate and suffer. Beyond building strength and promoting weight loss, EXERCISE reduces stress, promotes quality sleep, improves mood, sharpens the mind and boosts self-confidence. WIN, WIN, WIN! So do whatever it takes - get up earlier, store workout gear in your work desk, recruit a friend to help you stay accountable. Embrace exercise not as an afterthought, but as an essential act of love for your body, heart and soul.
The most miraculous - and terrifying - power we have is CHOICE. And it’s not just the choice to embrace a healthy lifestyle. It’s about choosing to the leave behind the STORIES that hold us back. It’s about tearing down the walls of self-doubt, walls we built against the traumas of past experiences, walls that now keep us trapped and unable to unlock the door to a different, better life. It’s scary to lay down the crutches and walk with your own two feet. But those crutches are as much a burden as a bolster. Although you may fall more than once, taking hold of your destiny helps you build the self-trust necessary to get back up and move forward. Then, and only then, will treating yourself with respect be the ONLY choice for you. You’ll instinctively choose nourishing foods, prioritize your exercise regimen, and make time for self-care. You’ll never again need to “diet,” for those pounds will come off naturally, like a blanket you no longer need in the warmth of a new sun.
Acknowledge the stories, good and bad, that have brought you to this moment, and then commit to making a new story, one where the choices are all yours. Break down the wall, see the glimmering possibility of change, and CHOOSE YOU.