Exercise and healthy habits : my holy grail for a better body

One of my resolutions for 2018 was to loose some weight and show off a set of freshly grown abdominals. With my utopian vision of a perfect body, I thought that I would have to simply quit eating junk food and drinking sodas and instead adopting a regime of fruits, vegetables and water to magically make the six-pack appear. But clearly I was wrong. All you need is blood, sweat and a lot of tears to call you the proud owner of abs.

Here are the do’s for a healthier and slender  figure.

Do: Stay hydrated! Therefore you must drink lots of H20, preferably still water. The carbon dioxide in sparkling water can cause indigestion problems.

Tip: You can opt to drink water before every meal. H20 has the ability to fill you up and reduce your hunger and appetite. A study conducted by the University of Birmingham showed that drinking two glasses of water before every meal significantly reduced the amount of nutrients each patient wolfed down, between 75 and 90 fewer calories than those who didn’t drink water. So aqua, whether it is still or sparkling, is definitely a great appetite suppressant.

To lower my consumption of bottled water – and the plastic waste I accumulated over the years – I recently started using the Brita Maxtra+ which allows me to filter my tap water.

Do: Exercise regularly. Your body has to adapt to your new physical activity. So make sure to prepare it before you beat yourself up. And try to reinvent your routine every day. It challenges your body which is quickly accustomed to an exercise.

Tip: Instead of going to the gym you could also watch on YouTube some workouts by famous personal trainers such as Simone De la Rue, Jeanette Jenkins and Sam Asghari. This hack can save you time and money.

I am not quite the type of girl who is willing to drive thirty minutes to a nearby fitness center and spend a fortune on a subscription just to use equipment which has already been touched by other gym goers, and being watched by those same gym goers who will either laugh about my weak physical performance or want to help me and brag about their « guns » and « cuts ».

Do: It is permitted to cheat once in a while. You can for instance compensate with an ice cream treat or another guilty pleasure on weekends. But don’t indulge yourself too much. It is important to find a right balance. Note that not every day is a cheat day.

I usually pick Sunday to enjoy a creamy and sweet iced coffee with a brownie or a sherbet.

Do: Alternate red meat, fish and poultry. Our bodies need approximately  0.8 gram of pure protein per kilogram of body weight each day. If you weigh 70 kilograms you must ingurgitate 56 gram of proteins (70 x 0.8) for your body to function normally. Chicken, tuna and eggs are a source of high-protein and are low in calories and fat.

I vary my diet by occasionally adding high-protein meats like pastured chicken breasts, tuna, salmon and shrimp. But I prefer to leave meat off the menu and replace it by plant-based burger or sausages. These substitutes are not always as scrumptious as filet mignons, steaks or bison burgers but at least I have a clear conscience.

Do: Keep track of your activity and be consistent. It is not enough to work out once a week. If you want to change you will have to divide your week into small trainings and stick to it.

I use a fitbit bracelet to measure my endurance, physical performances and my sleep rate. A fitbit app on my smartphone enables me to consult a diary where all the data are stocked. This allows me to compare the efforts accomplished over the past weeks.

Tip: As an alternative you can download other free apps such as Argus (calorie and steps counter) in the App store, Google fit for Android or Lose It! for both Android and iOS.

Do: Get a beauty sleep. Rest is key. Enough sleep will have a long term effect on your skin and body. The collagen which is produced while sleeping, minimizes the apparition of wrinkles, bags and dark circles. The other benefit of a good night’s rest is the enhancement of your weight loss. It is scientifically proven by researchers at the University of Chicago that well-rested dieters lose as much as 55 percent more fat than the ones with a disturbed sleep. It is recommended to sleep at least 7 hours a day.

Tip: Exercising four hours before bed can be beneficial and help you fall asleep. Watching television on the other hand is not conductive to getting a good night’s sleep. Read a book, listen to music or engage in another relaxing activity instead.

Do: A healthy state of mind in a healthy body! Motivation is the sine qua non condition for a new start. You must want a transformation to happen. Transitioning is always difficult. But it is rewarding in the end. Try to stay positive throughout the process. And don’t give up. It is certain that a change won’t happen overnight.

My best motivation? Picturing me in a bikini on a beautiful summer day in El Matador or Paradise Cove, Malibu (California).