I've tried everything from cigarettes + coffee, to aerobic anorexia. Disclaimer: I'm not a certified health coach or a doctor; what I have to share is my journey. As I look back at the reasons for trying to change my body in those ways, I can't help but feel embarrassed, but I didn't know any better. I was a tough young woman trying to figure it out on my own, but I was lazy and unwilling to do the work. So I chose some pretty destructive ways to try and reach my "goal."
KNOW YOUR GOAL
I never had a clear idea of what that goal really looked like. It did, however, resemble a feeling, a desire, and a way of life. I wanted to feel sexy, I wanted to feel desirable, I wanted to feel lovable, and most of all I wanted to feel confident. Feelings are a good start; how you feel about the body you live in is helpful to your success. But if you're not clear on what your goal really looks like, you're only going get so-so results. The results, or lack thereof, reflect your clearness of the goal itself.
Better to really look at what your body is, what it has done in the past, and it's true figure. Find images of bodies that closely resemble yours and find ones that inspire you to work towards.
Warning: Most of my life I've wanted a body that I actually don't have and will never have (curvy). I'm fairly straight-waisted, and my hips are narrow. So it's not going to happen, which brings me to my next point.
If you're not realistic, then you're setting yourself up for failure! I set myself up for failure time and time again, by comparing my body to other bodies that were just not built like mine at all.
This negative comparison cycle will only derail your true goal, as it strips your confidence and makes you feel like you can never reach it (because you cannot reach an unrealistic goal, period.) And the next thing you know, you've convinced yourself that cookies are just what you need to console your broken dreams of achieving this unrealistic goal (way to go self...).
SELF ACCEPTANCE + SELF LOVE
Self acceptance is a huge part of being real with yourself. You've got to stop beating yourself up over a body you cannot achieve naturally. You've got to actually truly love the body you are in.
Easier said than done, though, I know. It's taken over three decades for me to truly start to find that connection with myself. In large part, I believe that it's because I've set a goal to honor my body and love it for just what it is. I decided to take really good care of it, not trash it with nutrient deficient food, late nights with endless alcohol, and half-assed workouts. (Note: I'm not passing judgement if this is your lifestyle, I'm just telling you that your body is thus a reflection of that lifestyle.)
The thing that has helped me the most in this area is to actually stop hiding my body, and wear clothes that accentuate my assets. I'm cutting down on my moo-moo dresses and wearing things that make me feel sexy, but yet aware of my form and posture. In doing so, I'm not only going to look great, feel great, but the posture I'm in (the one we practice in all KM classes) is working me out simultaneously. Bonus! When you're wearing tight clothes, instead of baggy clothes, I've also noticed I'm more likely going to make better eating choices, so that I don't bloat, over-eat or eat too fatty or calorically dense foods.
THE SUPER BASIC FORMULA
Ok so once you've got your head in the right place, the formula is simple:
- Workout everyday or at least 6-days per week.
- Alternate hard and easy workouts.
- Workout length can vary from 20 mins - 2 hrs (or more if you're on a hike or outdoor adventure). Not everyday has to be a marathon workout session - just move for as long as your schedule allows.
- Only do workouts you're excited about - cause those you'll put your all into!
- Stretch!!! You can't change what you cannot access, period.
- Eat tons of protein - whey and other protein powders are the easiest way to get protein in without the fat and calories. Most importantly within an hour after your workout. (Suggested amount: .4 x your body weight = # of grams of protein per day)
- Take a daily vitamin(s).
- Add Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) to your protein intake (some whey powders include BCAAs). Studies have shown that muscle production is increased using BCAA's and muscle soreness is reduced.
- Eliminate inflammation causing foods from your diet.
- Eliminate processed foods.
- Eat fruit instead of processed sweets.
- Don't overdue your healthy fat consumption, i.e. omegas.
- Reduce your coffee consumption to once a day. Great for jump starting your workout, terrible for helping you out of your 4pm slump. Drink tea instead or take a walk.
- Get plenty of rest. Your workouts should exhaust you, and that's good, so you won't stay up binging on a season of Entourage.
Not sure about all of the things I'm suggesting? That's good, go and do some research, there's a lot of good info floating around the internet. Then test out what's best for your body. Most importantly really connect with your physical feelings when approaching this goal, sometimes our emotional feelings can cloud our judgement, especially about food.
Want me to expand more on any of the above steps, just hit reply and let me know or add your comments in the comment section below.