Do you have a summer body?
Do you even know what a Summer Body is, and how it differs from a winter body? (I don’t)
From about August onward magazines, blogs and gyms start proclaiming that it’s time to start working on your Summer Body. Even gyms which are supposedly empowering women to be fit and healthy run adverts claiming that Summer Bodies are made in Winter so you better sign up to XYZ program so you are prepared for Summer.
I call BS on the whole Summer Body concept.
The goal should be to have a fit, healthy, nourished, loved body all year round.
Summer will arrive in all her glory regardless of whether you are ready to don that yellow polka dot bikini so how about we create a new yardstick. A goal that focuses on health, on good blood glucose and cholesterol levels, on having the energy to run with the kids, on taking time out to smell the surf or the roses, on eating real food that truly serves us rather than what the scales say or what sized bathers we need.
I invite you to create your own goal, mine is not to simply be free from illness or to be a certain size but rather to be as vibrant and full of life as I can be! To achieve this goal I need to be conscious of my food choices and also about my commitment to exercise (for strength, stamina and flexibility), to meditate (to stop the cranky taking over) and to prioritize enjoying time with the people I love (to fill my soul.)
Now I am not qualified to give advice on anything other than food so here is my rule for using food as a path to health and vitality.
There is only one and it’s pretty simple – EAT REAL FOOD. Food as close as possible to how nature intended with nothing added and nothing taken away.
All Vegetables and Fruits: Eat produce in season; it will be tastier and more nutritious, plus is usually cheaper. Buying from a farmers market will ensure you are buying in season. The growers are more than happy to talk you through preparation and storage.
Good Quality Protein: Try and get organic, hormone free, antibiotic free and if possible grass fed meats. Sure these might cost a bit more, however, this is definitely an area where quality over quantity is important. Develop a relationship with your butcher. Eggs are a fantastic source of protein. Fish is another great option as it also gives you a serve of omega 3 fats. Look for an organic tofu, beans, nuts, and seeds. Pulses such as chickpeas, lentils, and dried beans provide a good amount of protein. I like to soak them in cold water overnight prior to cooking to make them more digestible.
Fibre: If you’ve ever gone a couple of days without “going” you will understand just how important fibre is to your wellbeing. Eating wholefood, grains, fruits and vegetables will naturally provide fibre but if you start to feel sluggish you can add a sprinkle of flaxseed or Psyllium to your breakfast cereal or smoothie, or some beans and lentils to your salad for lunch. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water as well.
Good Fats: I am definitely not about low-fat anything ever! At every meal, it is important to include a small serve of good fat as this helps you utilize the fat soluble vitamins in your foods and is also important for keeping your bowels regular. Good fats include; cold pressed olive and nut oils, nuts, coconut oil, avocado, grass fed dairy products and seeds. Avoid vegetable oils if you can.
Water: Aim for 8 glasses of water a day, this may be hard at the start but stick with it and soon your body will remind you to drink. Try to have a glass with a small squeeze of lemon first thing in the morning to kick-start digestion. I have a water bottle in my car which is the best place for mindless drinking. Switch to herbal tea or hot water with mint and a slice of ginger if you get bored with plain water.
Herbs and Spices: Get to love the spice cupboard and fresh herbs nothing makes food zing more than a sprinkle of herbs or spice. Try Parsley, coriander, dill, mint and tarragon in salads or with meat. A sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg can give you sweet hit, try on Greek yoghurt with some fresh berries. A hint of paprika, chili flakes, or cumin gives a nice warm spicy flavour.
Stocking your fridge/ freezer and pantry so you never go hungry.
As well as the fresh produce that you buy it is important to have a few staple things on hand so you can prepare a nutritious meal even when you get home late, trust me dinner will be on the table quicker than a takeaway and you will feel better for it. Get my guide to stocking your pantry here.
Lifestyle tips: Avoid overeating, chew slowly and really appreciate your food, turn the television off, do you know that you consume far more calories if you are distracted by the television. Make eating an occasion, set the table do not eat in your car or on the run or when you are highly stressed – it only takes 10 – 20 minutes to eat a meal and your body will thank you for it. Try to start each meal with a couple of conscious deep breaths, preparing your body for digestion.
Take a minute to appreciate your body, cause let’s face it it’s the only one you have and it’s worth taking care of. Love the skin you are in, no matter what the season!