By Callie McBride
While it may not feel like it in New York right now, spring is finally here, which means summer is closely approaching. Yes, this means sweltering days and warm nights, less clothing and more Peach Pie Popsicles, but it also means what I like to call the “Beach Body Dilemma.”
Ever since I was 16 years old, without fail, this pressing issue has crept into my mind in mid-May and I have a mini freak-out: is my body beach-ready? Am I tight and toned enough to spend hours upon hours soaking up rays and people-watching on the shores of Lake Michigan (where I grew up)? Years past, I typically sighed a sorrowful “no” in my head and proceeded to dread the upcoming beach trips with friends and family. I felt very self-conscious about my body, an unfortunate habit instilled in me by celebrity gossip magazines and other social media outlets that showed me how eating less was supposedly “cool.”
However, since turning vegan a little over a year ago, I have been working on transforming the way I treat my body, especially how I view it. I’ve come to realize that I would much rather spend all my time and energy on improving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and less time wishing I looked like a twig to feel good about myself. Healthy habits lead to happy thoughts, right? And trust me, during the summertime, all I want to do is let the good times roll.
Still, I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who have felt equally as bummed out that their physiques do not match up with, say, Sophia Vergara or Ryan Reynolds, and I know that there are scores of people who would like to improve their health. So, how to remedy the Beach Body Dilemma? Five simple steps, people! You’ve probably heard these five steps over a hundred times, but for good reason–they work.
These are the most basic and effective steps that one can take to increase mental and physical health. No daunting diet plan, no extreme exercising, just healthy ways to leave you feeling energized. Once you’ve mastered these easy feats, you can then work on stepping up your fitness regimen and, come Fourth of July, you’ll have no problem munching on tofu-kebobs in your red and blue striped bathing suit.
Top 5 Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle:
1. Drink more water.
Water does serious things to the metabolism to help the body burn fat. It also cleans out your system and energizes you throughout the day. Buy a reusable water bottle and refill it as many times as needed, according to how many ounces it is; for example, my Bobble is 20 ounces, so I try to drink four bobbles per day.
2. Get more sleep.
Sleep helps to battle stress and anxiety while promoting weight loss. Do something around bedtime that you look forward to: read a book, journal, meditate, write, etc. Aim for around 8 hours of sleep each night. You’ll start to wake up in the mornings ready to take on anything!
3. Keep a food journal.
This simple task goes a long way. While there is no need for calorie counting, simply keeping track of what you’re munch will ensure that you always have a good idea of what you are eating. Plus, if you include your mood after the meal, you can look back and learn what types of food make you feel your best.
4. Increase fruit and vegetable intake.
This is a no-brainer. These are just about the healthiest foods to put into the body. Plus, one great thing about fruits and veggies is their dense makeup; they fill the stomach much more than processed foods, so you will feel fuller longer and not crave late-night snacks.
5. Practice self-love.
It’s easy to get caught up in losing weight and looking great, and sometimes it can leave us feeling discouraged or overwhelmed. Becoming healthy stems from a desire to improve all parts of our lives, though. Make sure to remember why you’re doing it–for yourself, your happiness, and peace within!