From Pesach to Summer Body
by: Tanya Rosen
Summer is approaching. Sun, bathing suits, swimming, and beaches (kosher, of course) all come to mind. Why pressure ourselves to lose weight so fast? The goal is to incorporate the following tips into our busy hectic lives so we can become fit and maintain. We will not only be healthier, we will feel great as well. Remember that not everything that works for one person will work for everyone. We have to change what we are doing if we see that it is not ideal for us. Follow these 5 tips to get your Summer Body.
- Healthy Eating – We should always incorporate healthy eating into our lives so it becomes a lifestyle and not a struggle to stay on a diet. It is not enough to just exercise; we need to eat healthily and of course, once in a while, indulge ourselves with the food we love. Eating healthy will make us feel great, gives us more energy, and in general, improve our health. Sometimes all the diets and nutrition advice can be very overwhelming. We should start with small changes over time and eventually, it will become something we don’t even have to think too much about.
First, make sure you incorporate a lot of fruits and vegetables into your diet. Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that help us stay healthy. Then we need to include the right amount of protein, fats and good carbohydrates. The best is to stay away from fast food.
Small frequent meals will help boost metabolism. Aim to have three meals a day with snacks in between. Try to keep the snacks healthy, like fruits and vegetables. Some fun snacks I love are apples, pears, grapes, baby carrot. Notice the options I gave need no preparation to make a quick and yummy snack.
Also, don’t give up what you love to eat; eat those foods in moderation. For example, what works for me is giving myself a special treat on Shabbos, Yom Tov, or Simcha (which is almost all the time), always in moderation. In the beginning, eating right takes discipline and awareness, but eventually, it will become a lifestyle if done correctly.
- Drink Drink Drink – Drinking water is so important. Most recommend drinking 8 ounces of water a day. According to some studies, drinking a lot of water may also boost metabolism and reduce the number of calories consumed daily. Keep in mind caffeinated drinks do not count as part of the 8 ounces of water. If you are exercising or breastfeeding, make sure you consume more water to help balance the loss. One way to see if you are drinking enough is if your urine is light, you are probably drinking enough water but if it is dark, try to drink more. Cut out sugary drinks as much as possible. Invest in buying a cool water sports bottle that you can carry around and refill as needed.
- Exercise – Exercise is so important. It is important to exercise for approximately 30 minutes a day. Do what works best for you. Some people like to go to exercise classes outside the home. If you are disciplined you can do a 30-minute workout in the comfort of your home. Studies have shown that interval training, which means alternating periods of high-intensity exercise with low-intensity recovery periods increases fitness and burns more calories compared to some other types of training.
There is always an excuse we can find to avoid exercising; for example “I have no time”, “I’m too busy”, “The kids need my help”, “I am exhausted”, and “Work is taking over my life”. Of course, this is something that won’t be easy in the beginning. For me, going out to the gym takes too much time. By the time I get out in the car and look for parking I already have to rush home to get back to my kids, making my exercise workout so stressful. Instead, I wake up a bit earlier in the morning to do a 30-minute workout at home. In the beginning, this was not easy and it took a lot of discipline, but we have to try to put aside all our excuses and push ourselves to do what is best for our bodies.
We will surprise ourselves with how much we can do. Not only will exercise help us stay healthy, we will also feel better. Exercise can also help reduce the rate of disease. Overall, it improves our quality of life.
- Get rest and sleep – Sleeping helps us to lose weight as well. I know this is a hard one. As busy working women or mothers, we can’t always get what we need to be done when the kids are awake. We need to change that habit. If you have ever been on the same diet as your friend but they have been dropping more weight than you, did you ever compare sleep patterns? Your friend is probably sleeping more than you. Not sleeping enough causes your cortisol levels to rise, which is the stress hormone frequently associated with fat gain.
Also keep in mind the longer we are up the more we will eat adding to more calories for that day. Let’s try to get to bed by 11 pm so we can get our proper rest. In the beginning, we can start with going to bed 15 minutes earlier and every day go earlier and earlier until we establish a proper sleeping pattern.
- Limit alcohol – Surprisingly, people are not always aware that alcohol is higher in calories than most people realize. A glass of wine can have the same amount of calories as ice cream on a cone. We may not realize how much we may drink at a wedding or Shabbos, but it all adds up. Let’s try to focus on limiting our alcohol consumption. To cut down you can have a glass of wine with water so you won’t feel the need to drink too much wine as the water will slow your rate of drinking and keep you hydrated. Keep in mind it is okay to drink approximately one glass of wine a day, but try not to go over that.
At the end of the day, the goal is to be healthy and the best way to do that is to follow these 5 tips. Remember, not everything will work the same for everyone, and we may need to make a few changes, but the goal is to find out what works for us and to continue to push ourselves until we reach our goal. Remember we are all superwomen, we can do this, and nothing and no one can stop us from achieving our goal. “Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” (Carolyn Wofford)