I live in New England, which means we've had a HARD winter. And while there are still little mounds of snow on the ground, we are all well aware that soon enough we'll be bitching about how hot it is and hanging out at the beach to cool down. If you've ever been to a beach, you know that most people are in...dun, dun, dun...bathing suits. These suits are made up of colorful fabric that often cover less skin than your underwear.
Many in New England have experienced a spreading of what I call, their Blizzard Butt. If you aren't familiar with this phenomena, this is what happens in blizzard season. The primal need to hoard food kicks in and the thought of being snowed in with your kids, potentially with no power makes people hoard treats and junk food. This is all consumed in a matter of hours upon arriving home, usually before the actual blizzard hits. And you'd think shoveling would work it off but alas, the blizzard butt can spread into spring.
So Easter becomes a last hurrah of a candy-fest and then it's GAME ON. GET IN SHAPE. LIKE, NOW.
Being a recreational aerialist means a) I have to regularly lift my body weight so I'm highly invested in never procuring a Blizzard Butt and b)I'm in excellent shape so you should listen to me about how to get in shape. LOL
Even if you're not in Blizzard Butt Country, I still see some super common mistakes in women when it comes time to Get In Shape. We all go through it at some time or another. We let go of paying attention to what goes in. We skip too many days at the gym or yoga and suddenly we're slightly heftier than we'd like. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all about loving your body, loving your shape, and loving who you are. But I'm also so down with being the best YOU you can possibly be. And working out is always about feeling good to me, not only weight loss. I've mentioned it in many blog posts. Exercise makes me a better parent. Period. NOT a single doubt about it.
Don't get trapped in our current society's notion of what you should look like. Do your thing to be the best you. In that light, be cautious you're not making these mistakes. They can set you for short term success but long term yo-yo-ing. I'm addressing Moms here because we are so crunched for time. You want exercise and being in shape to be the norm for you. Not a once-in-a-while exception.
1. An unrealistic workout schedule. I know some Moms decide to get in shape and start in with a 2 hour workout or 2 two hour workouts. Or working out right after work. Or working out at 5 in the morning. All of those are FINE but ask yourself: IS IT REALISTIC? It might be good for a week for jump start but look for something that's going to work long term.
2. An unrealistic weight goal. Scales should be thrown out, imho, but I do understand they are a good marker for some people. That's fine but be realistic. You've had kids, you've gotten older, things have changed for you. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT strive for your high school weight or some other long dead dream. Unrealistic weight goals should only be for 2 things: weddings and high school reunions. I'm totally fine with doing what you want to do for those two things. But that's it. Use your clothes and measurements for success markers. Oh. And you know...HOW YOU FEEL.
3. Throwing out the workout baby with the busy bathwater. We all get too busy in a heartbeat. The day fills up and suddenly you know you just can't make it to the gym (especially if you've made the unrealistic workout schedule mistake). So you say, "Oh. Can't workout today." And just like that, it's off the board. Here's a great secret that's taken me years to figure out. Ten squats are better than no squats. A minute of ab work is better than no ab work. Twenty-five lunges and 3 push-ups are better than no lunges and push-ups. And right there, in under 15 minutes, you've gotten to move your body and hit some major muscle groups.
4. Only working out at home. Or only working out at the gym. I've been working out for 30 solid years. I can tell you this. Working out at home is HARD. It's hard to motivate when it's only you and you're cozy at home. I also know how hard it can be to get your butt out the door and to the gym. It's really best to have both options. For home, you can choose from thousands of on-line options or DVDs. You can just move your body, dance around, or do a set amount of lunges, squats, pull-ups, push-ups. For gyms, choose a gym YOU'RE GOING TO GO TO. Maybe that means close to your house. Or a gym with a pool or yoga. Or maybe it's a fancy gym or a bare bones gym. Which ever one you're going to go to, join that one.
5. Being embarrassed to go to a gym (or yoga or a dance class) because you are out of shape. If this is you...stop it. Be kind to yourself but stop it. Gyms are for getting in shape. Get a personal trainer or a friend who knows what they are doing. All forms of fitness are are for fitness. Whatever it takes, get there. And psst...no one is looking at you, anyway. They are too obsessed looking at themselves.
6. Relying on detoxes or cleanses for weight loss. I think it's natural, especially in the spring and fall, for the body to need a break. I think cleanses and detoxes are...eh. Personally, I find I crave a day or two of green juices a couple of times a year but I don't usually go for the whole detox/cleanse marketing thing. I think it can set you up for weird thinking if you've ever had disordered eating. And if you're a female who's grown up in America, it's very probable you've had disordered eating in your life. I've seen a lot of women start binging before a cleanse and then binge after a cleanse. If they feel good for you...awesome. Rock on. But if you find yourself doing them often as a way to manage weight, then it's become something else.
7. Going too far, too fast with any dietary change. Again...your eating has to be realistic. If it's not, you will fall off your plan, ANY plan in a short amount of time. Make sure whatever you are doing for dietary changes is going to work long term. Yes, that means eating cake once in a while.
8. Eating weight loss crap. For the love of all that is holy...EAT. REAL. FOOD. Non-fat is code word for crap. That is all.
9. Thinking calories is a measurement of nutrition. Calories are NOT the be-all to end-all. They count but REAL FOOD counts more.
10. Thinking carbs are grain based. All grains are carbs. All carbs are not grains. Fruit, potatoes, starchy veggies are all carbs. I don't eat grains but I am not-low carb. Eating fruit all day is eating carbs all day. Pay attention to protein and fat.
11. Only working out for weight loss. Yes. I get it. But don't let this be your only motivator. Work out 'cause it feels good. Work out 'cause it relieves stress and anxiety. Work out so you feel awesome. Every. Single. Day.
I see a LOT of women around me cycle in and out of being in shape. I see a LOT of women trying hard to maintain their weight and falling off their own wagon. If you take nothing else away from this article, take this: You deserve to be the best you. Strive for THAT. Strive for feeling GOOOOOD. Not for some imaginary number in your head that is whispering lies in your head.
(that's me hula-hooping in NYC. Cause I like to hula hoop)