Spring is here! The smell of flowers, the warmth in the air. That picture of going to the beach in December becomes a real image in your head. Your social media feed becomes inundated with memes of women with those perfect bikini bodies. The realisation that you’ll have to be on the beach in a bikini in a few months sinks in. And with that, a feeling of dread at the thought of losing weight and getting fit and healthy again.
It’s always best to maintain your health and fitness throughout Winter, so that it isn’t so hard to get your beach body back for Summer. But let’s get real, that hardly ever happens. If you’re currently dreading the thought of having to lose that Winter weight, it’s not the end of the world. Here are seven easy ways to help you achieve your beach body goals.
1. Eat real food
You cannot out-exercise a bad diet. Eating well is the most important step. Eat real, whole, unprocessed food and stick to the fresh produce outer sections of food stores. You should be eating free-range meat and chicken, fish, eggs, full cream, unsweetened dairy, nuts and seeds, vegetables and fruit. You can have a treat every now and then, but be strict for the first six weeks to guarantee results. Plus, you’ll feel amazing. Trust me!
2. Start exercising again
That first day back at the gym or out on the road can be daunting, but you just have to do it. Do not press snooze! Get up and go to gym. Your whole day will be better because of it. If you know you’re going to struggle, plan for someone to meet you there or get a personal trainer if you can afford one. The warmer weather also means you can get moving outside. Join a Bootcamp class or go for a run to clear your mind and get those endorphins going.
“Eat real, whole, unprocessed food and stick to the fresh produce outer sections of food stores.”
3. Work out hard, not long
Ease your way back into exercise, but make sure it’s tiring. You really don’t need to spend long hours training. Short and hard training sessions yield fantastic results. High-Intensity Interval Training is a great way to get the fitness results you want. Sitting on the bicycle at gym on level 2 for 15 minutes and hardly breaking a sweat will not cut it. Allow yourself one or two ‘get back into it’ sessions like that, and then make sure you up the intensity level.
4. Cut out the sugar
Sweets, juice, sweetened dairy, sauces, breakfast cereal, chocolate, ice cream and fast foods are some of the highest sugary foods. Cut way back on the sugar you put in your tea and coffee as well. It only takes a few weeks for your taste buds to adjust and your sweet tooth to fade. All juices are laden with sugar. This includes soft drinks, fruit juice, sweetened yoghurt drinks, smoothies and milkshakes. For some extra motivation, there’s a great documentary called That Sugar Film that describes what the sugar found in everyday ‘healthy’ food does to you.
5. Go grain free
This is one of the biggest struggles for many of us. Cutting out grains, especially bread, is a serious challenge. Just remember, it’s not forever. Take a six-week no bread challenge and go from there. Wheat and corn are the most important ones to cut out. This means cutting out bread, pasta, pizza, tacos, wraps, nachos, chips. Stick to quinoa and brown rice.
6. Get a new Spring routine
Human beings thrive on routine. The best way to get into a new health and wellness routine is to do just that, get a routine. Start off small, otherwise you’re guaranteed to fall off the wagon.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday: Do some form of exercise.
Week 1-2: Cut out sugar.
Week 3-4: Cut out grains and sugar.
Week 4-6: Cook a new recipe that includes delicious Whole Foods twice a week.
Believe in yourself and believe that you will lose weight. You will get fit. It just takes a bit of time. Don’t give up. Being fit and healthy helps with brain function, energy levels and will make you feel damn good, so keep going.
As a health and wellness coach, Saskia V is the owner of Whole Again Health, a holistic business that offers health and wellness consulting, nutritional advice, personal training and sports massage therapy. She is an expert in the field of health and wellness, and can speak confidently on any topics relating to this area. Saskia has been nominated for two MTN Radio Awards and is currently the weekday lunchtime presenter on Mix93.8fm.