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Outside my window this morning, the sun is shining, birds are starting to sing again, and I’m feeling like beach season is right around the corner. Sometimes, being your own boss doesn’t leave a female entrepreneur much time to think about diet and exercise – and more importantly, her health. So, when I start to think about hitting the beach this summer, and whether my body is bikini-ready, I know I’m not alone!
Being a boss means gaining control over your body by developing healthy habits. It’s important to always listen to your body and do what feels right to you; ultimately, every woman knows what makes her feel good. Read on for suggestions, but modify as needed for your own health and well-being.
We are in charge of every aspect of our business, but can’t control everything in our lives. We can, however, enhance our health by controlling what we put in our body. Many people rely on exercise, specifically sit-ups and crunches, when it comes to wanting to reduce belly fat. But it’s not just about fat. You need to be aware of all the foods stored in your gut and ways to eliminate them (literally!) If you stick with a plan, such as what’s outlined below, you should have visible results within a week!
Clean out your body
My mom enrolled me in ballet at six years old, and I danced for 10 years. I believe that ballet, yoga and other sports have helped me tremendously to maintain my body. However, you can work out as much as you want, but if you don’t eat right too, the workouts may just be a waste of time. Stop stuffing your body with foods that make your body balloon up, and start eating clean. There’s a few different approaches that you can take.
One way is to stop eating late at night. Make it a practice to have your last meal four hours before bedtime. After 4:00 p.m., limit beverages to water, tea or kombucha. Be careful with diet drinks and zero-calorie sodas, as they are linked to issues with gut microbiome, heart and kidneys (and an increased risk of osteoporosis). Stick with water — your teeth and skin will be thanking you, as well as your gut. I recommend setting a reminder to “drink water” every hour.
It’s said the first meal of the day is most important. Imagine how your stomach feels if you wake it up with something too sugary. I believe in starting the day by eating light and consuming a heavier meal only in the evening. First thing in the morning, have a glass of water to “wake up” your organs.
At bedtime, use a magnesium cleanse (a natural laxative). Depending on the brand, take two to four pills with water before bedtime. Don’t eat after that, and drink only water. If you use a magnesium cleanse before bedtime, the toilet will call out to you early the next morning. I highly recommend putting a stool under your feet while you’re using the toilet, to bring your hips to a position which enables the colon to cleanse itself more efficiently. If you drink coffee, green tea, matcha or mushroom coffee, you might need to use the bathroom up to three times. You’ll notice how fast this reduces your gut; it gets rid of all the “trash” collected in the colon.
First the workout, then the reward
I like to do a 30-minute morning workout — either power yoga or running. If you have a physically active job, fast until midday. I recommend eating a meal after your workout, not before, the size of which depends on your appetite. The first 15 minutes after working out are crucial, as the body takes on more nutrients. Living in New York City, I have a glass of water right after I get up, then go for a 20-45 minute run by the river or in Central Park. Afterwards, I have a homemade shake. My go-to recipe consists of a banana, handful of organic baby spinach, chia seeds, coconut oil, blueberries, cup of almond or coconut milk and spoonful of Manuka Honey. I know my work schedule won’t allow a gym visit later in the day, so I stick with running. Driving everywhere is not good for your body, your wallet or the planet, so walk more. Keep moving, and your bowels will move better too.
Go with your gut
Look at yourself from a different perspective. What do you need to achieve your health goals? More hydration or vitamins? As your gut gets smaller, support the body with clean foods, like bananas, vegan shakes, carrots, celery and hummus. Make it a habit to cook vegetable soup once a week, with fresh ingredients, like cabbage, lentils, broccoli or sweet potatoes. Soups are great appetizers — they fill you up and hydrate at the same time. The anti-inflammatory ingredients are easy on your stomach, prevent bloating and help achieve proper digestion.
Take it easy in the morning. Don’t shock your body with heavy foods that make you tired all day. The foods that need more energy to be digested (e.g. animal proteins) are easier to digest in the evening. Instead of consuming those early, do it later when your body has the entire night to process it. You’ll find that you sleep better and have an energy surplus the next morning!
Cut off toxic foods
Avoid consuming foods with refined sugar or white flour, fried foods, processed meats, ice creams, cakes and cookies. Always have healthy snacks readily available, like papaya, cashew nuts or berries. If you occasionally crave a break from healthy eating, grant yourself an exemption — after all, you’re the boss! Try eating clean for three days straight, fast for 16 hours, then have a “cheat day” and allow yourself something like pizza. It can be difficult, but it’s best to avoid eating fast food, except on your cheat day.
You should also avoid drinking alcohol. On a special occasion, have one glass of champagne. Drinking more than once a week makes you tired and bloated, and as time goes on, it gifts you with extra wrinkles due to dehydration. Take a break from alcohol for two months. Your body and mind will thank you! Some of the worst periods of depression are due to hangovers, and no one needs that.
If you want immaculate health, then eat cleaner. Take in more vitamins, and dopamine levels will increase. Dopamine is one of the “feel good” chemicals. Interacting with the pleasure and reward center of our brain, it (along with others like serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins) plays a vital role in how happy we feel. It affects movement, memory and focus. Recommended foods high in dopamine include eggs, bananas, almonds and dark chocolate.
Good sleep is crucial
A hot bath or shower helps relax muscles, leading to a good night’s sleep. Use orange or eucalyptus essential oils for a spa effect — it frees your sinuses and turns breathing into a whole new experience.
A short prayer of thanks will help you to practice gratefulness, and you’ll also go to bed happier! Have CBD oil on your nightstand, right next to the magnesium cleanse.
Change your bedding at least every five days for better sleep. I love a good fabric, like Egyptian cotton or 100% hemp. I’m not a fan of synthetic, non-breathable materials and how they feel on the skin.
Sleep is an essential function that allows body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert upon waking. Good sleep habits help the body remain healthy and keep the brain functioning.
Please keep in mind that these are personal recommendations – you must only do what feels right for your body. No matter how you get there, the end result is this: When you look better, you feel better. And when you feel better, you look better.