This was me back in the summer of 2011. I was at my lowest weight of 108 lbs. My life was consumed by fitness & clean eating. I went to the gym 5-6 days a week, and at home I would do crunches, lunges and push-ups at any given opportunity. Looking back now, I see that my focus and dedication was to the extreme. It was all I thought about. When I wasn’t at the gym, I was batch cooking my meals and reading about fitness models like it was my job. I just loved it.
As I got a bit older, my priorities changed and I began to see other things as more important to me than the number on the scale and the grams of protein on my plate. I wanted to enjoy simple things like fruit without feeling guilty. YES, I hardly ate fruit (which sounds crazy to me now). I now enjoy having more than egg whites for breakfast or chicken and fish for lunch and dinner. I no longer keep track of my meals on a diet tracker or stock my fridge with low-fat dairy. My whole perspective on health has changed since then.
When I look back at the “fitter me”, I see an 18 year old girl with passion, focus and determination. It took this experience for me the realize that this is not something I want to do forever. It’s just not realistic or worth it to me now, not to mention, it’s not worth sacrificing my health.
It was healthy for me at the time, but not healthy for me now.
Let me explain…
Our life journey brings different phases of health. You become healthier when you stop drinking pop and opt for juice instead. In another month, you may stop drinking juice and only drink water to be even healthier. That is the story of my life. I am constantly learning about health and changing my lifestyle. Each decision and step forward that you take is making you healthier, (or hopefully it is at least).
No one has reached the finish line of the health race. We are all learning what health means every day.
Although I don’t see my “egg white” clean eating lifestyle as healthy now, it certainly was a big step ahead from the lifestyle I was living before. I can vividly remember walking to Sobeys every week for lunch in high school. I would eat a Chicken Caesar wrap with extra Caesar dressing squeezed inside. Boy did it taste good, but boy was my body suffering. I also loved Subway sandwiches (pizza sub was my fave), driving to Wendy’s and drinking big milkshakes from the convenience store. I sometimes ordered whole grain bread – I was very health-conscious. Not. Clearly I have come a long way since then. Even though egg whites aren’t my breakfast of choice now, I can see that I was in a transition phase and doing what I thought was best at the time. I was learning, growing, and becoming healthier.
I certainly don’t plan on eating the same way I did before, and I really have no interest in measuring everything I eat. I would love to have my summer 2011 body again, but I will not go to the same extremes as before to get it back. I would rather go out for breakfast with my husband and enjoy whole eggs with a slice or two of rye bread without thinking of how to get rid of it at the gym while I’m eating it. I am going to take a different approach this time – unlimited fruits, more plant based proteins and no dairy. I am still not eating much meat, so I am curious to see how my body responds to weight lifting without as much animal protein. Mind you – plant-based protein is actually easier for your body to use anyway! I should have no problem toning up for the summer.
Diet aside, a great way to make the most of your time at the gym is to add some circuit training to your routine. Weight lifting is the best thing to do if you want to tone up for your summer bikini. For those of us who really don’t want to be at the gym every day for over an hour every time, full body circuits are perfect! A full body circuit will hit every muscle group in a shorter period of time. You can add some cardio at the end of your workout if you want, but I often feel that circuit training is enough, especially if you put 100% into it.
Check out my full-body circuit below. Print it off and bring it with you to your next workout. If you aren’t sure of an exercise, be sure the look at the helpful links below before you attempt it. It is really important to make sure you have proper form and feel confident doing each exercise!
Click the Links below for the FREE circuit (gym & home version):
Walking Lunges: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7KaRcUTQeE
Bench Dips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0326dy_-CzM
Lat Pulldown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZbJ8912hQU
Dumbbell Row: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jglY7g7wzp4
Shoulder Press: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-aVuyhvLHU