With spring arriving, the influx of articles about building your "bikini body" and getting "summer ready" will start to take over media in many parts of the world.
And while they kind of start to make me roll my eyes after a while, because I hate that being "bikini ready" is the motivator for maintaining healthy habits, I also understand that spring is the perfect time for renewing our goals. Our bodies often do change during the colder months, plus there's this awesome energy in the spring that motivates us to take on new projects.
Winter can be tough. Our bodies tend to naturally crave heavier, warming foods. We're typically indoors more because it's cold, so we're often less active. We generally sleep more, eat more, and rest more.
While it's important for our bodies to get this natural "hibernation" each year, it's no wonder that when it starts to warm up we find ourselves ready to refocus on healthy living. Our bodies tend to change a little bit during this season. We might feel a bit "softer," see a bit of extra weight hanging on, and find that we let our workouts slip a little.
On top of all of that, as pole athletes our situation is extra unique. We rely on these bodies to hold us upside down in precarious positions, to make us feel light as air during spins, and to have the stamina for repeated climbs and big combos. Refocusing on healthy living isn't just about looking good in a bikini (because, really, booty shorts and sports bras are the uniform for us year round anyway). It can directly affect our athletic performance.
Here's the reality: you already know that eating well and exercising regularly will help you stay in shape, maintain a healthy weight, and feel great. This isn't news to anyone. However, I have a few tips that will help you jumpstart that process while getting re-motivated and re-focused for the spring season.
Plan your meals around your veggies.
When you make your meal plan, do you often find yourself planning out what vegetable side dishes you might add to your main courses? (Spaghetti...with a side salad! Chicken...with a side of broccoli!). Change things up by switching your plate proportions. Plan your meals around your veggies, making them the main focus of your plate. That might mean having a big salad for dinner with some chicken on top, or piling your plate with roasted veggies to go with your side of pasta, or making a vegetable-based stir fry instead of a fried rice dish. Vegetables are packed with fiber and nutrients, helping you to feel fuller and more satiated at each meal, which can help you avoid over-indulging in less nutritious foods at the table or in between meals.
Start a water drinking challenge.
If you tend to spend your day sipping coffee, tea, soda, or juice, challenge yourself to a week of water drinking. Avoid having anything but water for a week, and keep a water bottle handy so you can try to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. This helps you avoid the extra sugars that might sneak into other beverages, while ensuring that you stay hydrated throughout the day. Additionally, many people find themselves eating when they're actually just thirsty, so this can help you avoid unnecessary snacking.
Become a smarter snacker.
Speaking of snacking, do you ever find yourself accidentally over-eating...Without even noticing it's happening? You sit down on the couch with some hummus and pita, turn on a TV show, and suddenly you've consumed an entire container without even realizing it. Take some time this week to prepare some healthy snacks and portion them out into individual containers. This helps with a few things: it keeps you from mindlessly eating six portions at one time, just because you weren't paying attention. It helps you have more awareness around food portions. And, as an added bonus, it gives you quick, healthy foods to take with you in a hurry.
Try a new way of eating.
Sometimes we just need to look at food in a new way to get back on track. While I never encourage people to jump on and off diets just for the sake of finding a new way to get skinny, experimenting with different styles of (whole foods) eating can be incredibly useful. You'll begin to understand which foods work well for your body. You'll develop skills in the kitchen as you try new recipes. And you'll renew your interest in eating well. Create your own healthy eating program (7 day paleo experiment! 10 day vegan-until-6pm challenge! 30 day no-added-sugar adventure!) and see how it affects your body. Want more guidance? Try the PoleBody Blueprint program and I'll teach you some new techniques for eating well and building your PoleBody.