The Healthy Slim Down
I feel like most girls understand the obsessive need to slim down for the summer. It’s been engrained in us from an early age that we should look a certain way at the beach or the pool. There are workout plans out there that tout the phrase “bikini body” and “beach body” and it starts to make you think crazy things. Things like, “If I’m not a size 4 and 120 pounds with abs then I shouldn’t wear a bikini and enjoy myself”. This makes me so sad because it couldn’t be further from the truth.
With that being said, I have always had a love-hate relationship with bathing suits and feeling comfortable in my own skin. My thighs touch, I have cellulite, after a month of eating good food I will develop a muffin top and sometimes I have trouble zipping up my jeans. This is all very normal. If you are reading this, please know that if you have the same things going on, you are normal too.
I Used to Try Anything to Appear Slim
For example, I used to put myself on a strict diet of no carbs, super low calories and two-a-days of cardio/ low weights. I would also track my weight in a very obsessive manner gearing up for the summer months. I’ve followed plans like BBG, TIU and Beach Body. I’ve taken the before and after pictures where you stick your butt out and try to make your legs look slimmer. Yep, you read that right… I did that.
Turning a New Leaf
After going through all of that, I am trying something new. This year, I have been lifting heavy, doing less cardio, eating more and not restricting carbs in an extreme way. I’ve lost weight more slowly, but I feel like that’s honestly the healthiest way to do it. In the past I’d be very unhappy with losing half a pound a week but now, I am okay with it. The only difference? I have come to the realization that it’s better for me in the long run to build muscle. I may not be seeing a major shift on the scale but I’m seeing a major change in how my clothes fit.
No Crash Diets Here
I also know in the back of my mind that I’m not crash dieting this time. The fear of taking a week off from working out while at the beach is no longer there. The muscle I’ve built and the fact that I haven’t been in a huge calorie deficit will protect me from gaining the weight back super-fast. I say that because it HAS happened to me. The minute I stopped doing cardio twice a day, started eating carbs again and ate the amount of food I needed to function, it was like my body didn’t know what to do. I gained every pound back and then some. I guess that’s why there’s a saying of “slow and steady wins the race”.
Slim Down and Stay Fit
That last part being VERY key. If you want to keep the weight off for good or for longer, you might need to try a different approach. Your plan should be convenient, sustainable over time, something you like doing and it shouldn’t be a struggle. If it is inconvenient, not sustainable and you hate it, then you MIGHT be on a crash diet or workout plan. Be honest with yourself…are you wanting a quick fix or a lifestyle? Is what you’re currently doing healthy for you in the long-term? The answers to those questions will tell you a lot about your mindset.
Below are a few things I am doing this year to change my mindset and slim down in a healthy way:
Weight training 2-3 times a week.
I lift heavy and I keep track of my workouts and PR’s so that I can compete with myself week to week. I have been using the Fitbod app to help create my workouts, but you can also go to bodybuilding.com and lookup workouts too. Find something that works for you and stick to it. Building muscle is so good for you. Just because you “lift” doesn’t mean you’re going to end up on the cover of some bodybuilding magazine one day. UNLESS that’s what you want, then girlfriend, go for it!
Cardio 2-3 times a week on non-weight training days.
No more two-a-days for me! Sometimes my cardio consists of a 15-minute HIIT run on my treadmill or a just a slow walk for 30 minutes. I mix it up and make it work for how I’m feeling that day.
Prepping my meals.
A good resource for meal prep recipes is the FitMenCook app. I use it every week and the recipes are so yummy! Definitely go check it out. Get yourself some meal prep containers like these. They are BPA free, freeze well and are the perfect size!
Eating more calories than I used to.
I do this by finding out the number of calories I need to function every day, just breathing and existing. I then add on calories for my normal weekly activity levels. I’m not going to tell you exactly the amount I’m eating because every person is different. You can find out your numbers by going here and entering in your specific body measurements and activity levels. If you have questions about this, feel free to ask and I will try my best to help.
Ordering Meals on busy weeks.
If you are super busy and meal prepping is out of the question, find a food prep service like Shredded Meals. Companies like Shredded Meals will prep for you and deliver it to you. There are lots of companies out there and even 5 meals a week for lunch could make a huge difference. I use Shredded Meals for my lunches from time to time to keep me on track and to break up the routine a bit. If you’re in the Charlotte area, check them out!! I live in Concord and have them delivered to my local gym!
Tracking my body fat and lean body mass verses JUST looking at the scale.
This has been very eye opening for me on the weeks where I gained weight. Those weeks my muscle gain outweighed my fat loss. So instead of losing a pound, I would gain 1 in the other direction. In the past, this might have completely thrown me off course but now it just means that I’m building muscle and that the number on the scale doesn’t really matter. The amount of body fat and lean body mass you have is what matters.
Loosely tracking my macros in the MyFitnessPal app.
By keeping track, I make sure I eat enough protein and carbs on my weight lifting days. This has helped with my energy levels and has increased my performance drastically. You can use this app to track your weight and inches lost and it allows you to add a picture at each check-in so you can keep track visually, too!
Taking protein after workouts.
I use a clean protein called NutraBio Grass Fed Whey Isolate Protein. It’s grass-fed, doesn’t have a gross aftertaste, doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners and it has 25 grams of protein and 1 carb! I love all of the flavors, but the chocolate is by far my favorite. Either way, you don’t have to use what I use. I just urge you to find a protein that you like and to make sure to supplement after lifting to feed your muscles. You can also read more about protein in a post I did a while back by going here.
I hope that this article helps someone who may have been looking for a way to slim down without crash dieting. Health is not a destination, it’s a journey so why not enjoy it! I wish I had known a lot of this stuff a few years ago…
Be looking out for Prepping for Summer – Part 2. I will be giving you the lowdown on where to find cute and cheap bathing suits, what sunless tanners I use, where to find clean and organic sunscreen and so much more.
As always, I love you guys! Here’s to staying happy and balanced in 2019!