Beyond the Spring Break Bod
by: Brie Sandridge
Spring break has come and gone. For the past month, over and over I have heard women sayings things like, “Ugh, I don’t want to go to the gym today, but I have to” or “I’m going on an all liquid diet for the next two weeks". Stop right there. Nobody is logging your hours at the gym this week. Yes, exercise is absolutely part of a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your body, but it becomes quite the opposite when you begin guilting yourself into going to the gym. And as far as dieting, our bodies need time, patience, positivity, and reassurance to maintain a healthy balance.
It’s hard to be a girl these days! It seems that nothing is ever perfect enough. We are our biggest critics. We look too often at what our bodies can’t do as opposed as to what they can do for us. Our Creator made us exactly the way we are supposed to be, and we don’t give Him enough credit! Our bodies were created for amazing things, so why is it so common for women to point out their flaws? I run too slow. I’m too overweight. I’m not strong enough. I wish my hair was prettier. My legs are so short. Our bodies were made for incredible things! They allow us to dance, run, sing, play, to feel the warmth of the sun, to see the beauty all around us. We are made up of 700 trillion atoms all intricately working together to help you through your day.
Getting in touch with the treadmill or kale for two weeks trying to find quick results may work to shed a few pounds, but after the phase is gone, you go back to your old ways. Quick fixes are not sustainable and in most cases, not healthy. My advice, instead, is to work towards a better relationship with your body every single day!
1) Listen to your body
Your body knows what it needs and will tell you; all you have to do is listen! Be intuitive with yourself, don’t mistake hunger for boredom or even dehydration. Quiet the distraction of your emotions. Stop. Listen. And if you are actually hungry- eat! Remember: food is fuel, not a habit, not a solution to emotional problems. If you feel tired, go to bed early. Turn off your phone and computer and actually rest! Cut out large amounts of caffeine. Your body is amazing, a genius system in itself, respect it, listen to what it has to say.
2) Give your body what it needs and what it wants
As the old saying goes: everything in moderation. Yes, you need to put plenty of water, fruits, veggies, whole grains, and proteins in your body- it’s good for you! We eat to live, but we don’t live to eat. Going along with that, have that pizookie or sonic shake once in a while! Treat yo' self. Don’t eat an entire gallon of chocolate ice cream by yourself (we’ve all been there), but enjoying life and food and cookies is good for the soul! I’ll be the first one to shamelessly say that my first stop after a midterm is the Braum’s drive through. Gotta celebrate! That being said, being aware of portion control and serving sizes is the key.
3) Confidence is different than arrogance
I wish that every morning each of us would wake up, look in the mirror, and say: “Ohhhh. Who is that girl in the mirror? She's hawt! Dang, I look good!" Lol but really - being confident with and loving the body you have is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It will tremendously affect your whole life. The way that you view your body can translate into how you feel about yourself in general. It’s not about being vain or conceited, it’s about noticing that you are a truly incredible human being, and you are accepted and loved!
4) Don’t punish yourself
It makes me sad to see girls get mad at themselves for missing a workout or eating a bad meal. Sure, a lifetime of poor food and lifestyle choices add up, but one day or week won’t make or break your diet. Just like eating one salad won’t make you healthy- eating a piece of cake doesn’t make you unhealthy! Also, never make working out a punishment for eating unhealthy. Going to the gym or going for the run should be something you do for yourself, not against yourself.
Learn to love yourself, good days and bad days. Your body is an amazing vessel. Take care of it, be kind to yourself.