Get a Bikini Body: Made Easy

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Written By

Lauryn

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Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Beach Beach Body Bikini Blonde Favim.com 831673 1 | Get A Bikini Body: Made Easy

 

 

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The sun was shining all weekend long in Austin, Texas!

 

90-degrees hit my temperature gauge yesterday, and tank tops, sunglasses and windows rolled down (with country music blaring of course) was my ‘look’ for the weekend. I hit my favorite trail-Town Lake-for a stroll with an old friend, sat outside at one of my favorite coffee shops, and cleaned out my car and my closet (hello, Spring cleaning!).

 

I don’t know about you, but my mood is totally impacted by the weather! Spring puts an extra spring in my step, and like a plant that needs watering, I need a bit of sunshine every day.

 

Just like warmer, prettier weather affects mood…have you noticed it also impacts the body consciousness of many people?

 

It seems like lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about ‘beach bodies’, swimsuit season, six packs (abs, not beer), ‘cleaning up’ diets and looking lean and toned—on the radio, in the gym, on magazine covers in the checkout line at the grocery store.

 

Seriously? This Is Motivation?
Seriously? THIS is motivation?

 

What gives?!?!

 

Similar to New Year’s Resolutions, the first signs of Spring are a gentle reminder that the oversized chunky sweaters are being tucked away in the closet, and we are baring a little more skin than usual.

 

“I just want to tone my arms a little bit more.”

 

“If only I had a flat stomach.”

 

“I need to watch the carbs”; or “I don’t eat meat because it makes me feel heavy.”

 

“I’ve been on this new diet for the past few months where I only eat once per day.”

 

“I want to lose some body fat.”

 

Just this morning, the radio announcers were discussing the My Fitness Pal app—a calorie tracking program that, in my humble opinion, makes people go crazy over the number of calories or macronutrients they consume in a given day.

 

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And Shape magazine recently posted an interview with Karena and Katrina, otherwise known as the ‘Tone It Up” Girls on why getting a ‘bikini body’ in April is so important.

 

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The answer according to the majority of Americans for fat loss, weight loss, or looking ‘shredded’ or lean is simple: Eat less. Exercise more. Or at least burn more calories than you consume. Avoid fat. Eat lots of whole grains; or eat no carbs at all.

 

And yet…like clockwork…the whole ‘body fat loss’, weight struggle, if-only-I-looked-like-XYZ daydreams ensue.

 

Even if it’s not a full-blown war—the dissatisfaction is enough to leave anyone feeling less than inadequate in their own skin.

 

The path to fat loss is not necessarily a difficult one to walk, but it is widely misunderstood.  The “conventional wisdom” of infomercials, personal trainers, ‘fat loss challenges’ and magazine articles, absolutely works, but only if your goal is temporary weight loss, not sustainable fat loss—or, rather, sustainable body composition (i.e. a healthy body at the perfect weight and body fat for you!).

 

What if I told you, I had a few ‘secrets’ for being in the ‘ideal’ place for your body type (body fat percentage, weight and all), feeling good in your own skin and ending the cyclical ups and downs of needing to change, tighten, tone, and construe your body?!

 

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And what if I †old you, it’s not ALL about diet?

 

Here is the play-by-play* for re-wiring your body to getting to where it optimally wants to be (it’s happy place):

 

[*Note: This may apply to people on both ends of the spectrum. Whether you struggle to gain weight, lose weight, tone up, slim down—whatever it is, these play-by-play tips are aimed at restoring homeostasis in your body so it—and you—can stop fighting yourselves!]:


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  1. Stop Counting Calories. Really just stop. I don’t care if you want to lose weight, or gain weight, or you just want to make sure you stay ‘safe’, throw the calculator away. Delete My Fitness Pal. And while you are at it…THROW OUT THE SCALE! (and body fat measurements). What are calories and numbers anyway? For calories, the word ‘calorie’ alone has seemingly become synonymous with ‘poison’, ‘toxin’ or ‘bad.’ In essence though, calories are just energy. A number that defines the amount of energy packed into a certain food. And what is weight or body fat? A NUMBER. A number that does not define you. In all seriousness, the BEST advice I ever got (that worked) when I was in recovery, striving to gain some healthy weight, it was to THROW OUT MY SCALE. No matter what your goals are (weight/body fat loss or healthy weight gain), the more your focus is on that constantly shifting number—the more you are going to feel like you are trying to move a wall. I didn’t start experiencing success until I stopped stepping on the scale, and instead focused on other factors for improving my health (below).

    Ok…so if you are not counting calories…and not stepping on scales…or measuring body fat…how do you KNOW what to do or where you are going?…in the next few points, your body is going to start learning how to regulate itself….which leads me to point 2.

 

 

A Theme?
A theme?
  1. Eat Real Food. No crazy weird diets here. Just foods your body was wired and designed to eat As for how much? No big rules here either. Real food is food your body innately knows how to regulate what it needs without your calculations, weights or measurements After all, you can only eat so many chicken breasts or steak, potatoes and broccoli, right? Or, bananas and almond butter. Or bowls of homemade chili. Or eggs and bacon. Or leafy greens with avocado and salmon on top. And on, and on. Opt for balance—ensuring protein and fats with your main meals. Little to none packaged, processed, food-like products. Fresh veggies and fruits. No added sugar. Your body will know how to do the rest.

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  1. Get off the treadmill, the 5-6 mile runs every day, the StairMaster, the elliptical…and get back to simplicity. Walk—not just for exercise. Daily activity. Take breaks from the desk at work. Park further from the door at the grocery store. When we compare the way we currently move to the way our genes are pre-wired to move, the biggest thing missing is daily activity: plenty of low intensity movement.  If you only have time for a 10-minute walk on a lunch break, get some Vitamin D and use it. If you only have time for a nice hike in the Greenbelt on a Saturday morning, get out there!  The majority people can make time for a short walk everyday.  Be the majority.

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  1. Zzzzzz’s. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, or you are sleeping at the wrong hours, expect to struggle with your weight, body fat, etc. Poor sleep patterns lead to insulin resistance and hormone imbalances, which in turn, make it difficult for your body to find homeostasis. If body fat loss is your aim, then that insulin resistance prevents your body from accessing stored fat for energy; and if weight or ‘mass gain’ is your goal your body is unable to take full advantage of growth hormone that is naturally released, improving muscular recovery and regeneration. In layman’s terms, when you sleep, your body recovers, and when you recover you replace, repair, and rebuild—all of which are needed for optimal progress. Additionally, poor sleep habits may also increase inflammation and even affect your appetite (increase cravings, increase or decrease appetite, etc.), both of which work against your goals. Aiming for 7-9 hours is optimal; and between the hours of 10 or to 6 a.m. or so are in line with your body’s natural circadian rhythms.

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  1. De-Stress. Stress stinks—and so do out-of-whack cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by your adrenal glands; also known as the “stress hormone”, helps regulate several systems and processes in your body, including your blood pressure, energy/metabolism and the immune system. Problem is, relentless stress can keep this survival mechanism charged in high gear, undermining the hormone’s good intentions to help ward off that stress. We live in a society that our pre-modern genes cannot comprehend: Student loans, car payments, taxes, lousy bosses, and traffic jams (which have absolutely nothing to do with our survival), elicit a hormonal response that is difficult for our body to ‘regulate’—and in turn, your goals of body fat loss or weight/mass gain can go right out the window. What chills you out? Puts you in good mood? Makes you forget the worries of this world? Meditate. Hit a punching bag (box). Roll your windows down and listen to country music. Get out of your ho-hum environment and escape to a local coffee shop, lakeshore or pond, fresh air, or other ‘happy place.’ Put the work away, and go be with people…or read…or volunteer. Take a hot shower. Paint your nails. Do something you love to do. Need more? Say Hakuna Matata.

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  2. Embody. My absolute FAVORITE point of them all. Simply ask yourself: “What would the healthy version of myself—the one I want to embody—what would she do (what healthy decisions would she make)?” Be that person now. (*All the while remembering: Progress, NOT perfection).

 

The bottom line for all of these ‘play-by’-plays’?

 

Homeostasis: Balance.

 

These ‘plays’ are a starting point for establishing balance for your body to even begin to find its own ‘happy place’ (weight, energy levels, body fat, etc.).

 

While every body is different, every human body is pre-wired with the same basic needs for food, water, sleep and basic physical activity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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