Bikini time…it’s here!

May 29, 2009

Yikes!  Swimsuit season has snuck up on us again?  Wasn't it just Christmas??  I know I keep saying that, but seriously, didn't 2009 just begin, like 5 minutes ago?

Flickr photo by Glorius

Flickr photo by Glorius

Whether I'm ready for it or not, swimsuit season is here.  And when it comes to my health and fitness level, I'm having some of the same challenges as you, LilSis.   I've got stress in my world and we know that triggers the nasty little hormone called cortisol, which does it's darndest to make you fat.  I also have the “getting older” factor which means hormonal stuff and slowing metabolism, on top of my thyroid issues.  Plus I love spicy and salty foods, so I'm always trying to dodge a mexican food or pizza or chip ‘n' dip disaster!

In spite of all that, I'm determined to be as healthy as possible, and to not use any of these real challenges as excuses for slacking off.  I'm up to 8 or 10 hard workouts a week, and I'm trying to be extra-careful about my eating.  I still feel as though I'm barely maintaining though, and that my body is really wanting to pack on some extra pounds.  It's frustrating that I used to get by with 3 or 4 workouts a week and ate much more, but was in better physical condition.  I guess that's the reality that we women all have to face, right?  We may as well accept it and try to find some solutions that work for us.  Here are some things that help me.  None of them are magic bullets (wish they were) but after decades of trying to be healthy, I know these are the tips that work for me.

  • Eat intentionally, thinking of food as fuel for the things I have to do physically and mentally.  I have enough calories to spend on fuel, and none to waste on junk.
  • Drink lots of water.  So important!
  • Fruit only til noon on some days to give my system a rest.  Never skip breakfast!
  • No sugar or other white stuff…white pasta, white rice, crackers, white bread, potatoes.
  • Small meals keep the metabolism going and the fuel burning.
  • Since I've been vegetarian for almost 15 years, I make sure to include protein at lunch and dinner, if not at breakfast. I also have a boiled egg, low fat string cheese or a small protein bar as a snack in the afternoon.
  • Make dinner the smallest meal of the day, and ideally with no starches at all.
  • No soft drinks and no caffeine.
  • Limit alcohol.  Talk about empty calories!
  • Watch the salt, especially at night.
  • Take the supplements that your body and lifestyle demand.
  • Cardio, cardio, cardio!
  • Strength training.  Great for your bones, your posture, and your physique.
  • Don't forget facial sunscreen every day, whether you're planning to be in the sun or not.  I like Neutrogena Dry Touch and Skinceuticals.  Neither breaks me out, which is saying a lot.  If you like color on your body but avoid the sun, Loreal Sublime Bronze self-tanner is awesome!

So those are the rules I set for myself, and try to follow (sometimes more successfully than others!).  Having said all that, I do allow myself a treat from time to time!

Oh, and before I go, how about an update on Jillian Michaels' attempt to kill me via her “30 Day Shred” DVD?  I did Level 1 eight times and then moved up to Level 2, which I've done three times so far.  Can I tell you this is hard stuff?  So hard but so great!  I love it.  So far my heart rate on the treadmill is already down.  I'm feeling stronger, with better posture and a tighter core.  As long as I skip a day in-between Shredding, my knees can tolerate it.  I also bought two other of Jillian's videos: “Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism” and “No More Trouble Zones”.  I haven't done them yet, but can't wait to give them a try!

Now let's get out there, ladies, and enjoy our summer whether we're in the shape we want to be in yet or not!  Today is all we have, so let's celebrate it!


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