Photo Credit: Brooke Lark on Unsplash
So, I’m not and never have been a big fan of working out - I was also never the athletic type growing up - I danced competitively, sang, acted, cheerled (pretty sure that’s not a word), and played softball, but that was the extent of it.
I’ve gone to the gym… actually just canceled my NYSC membership like 6 months ago… because I hadn’t been back since just getting pregnant ((Is it wrong that once I was pregs I sort of decided that gymming too hard was a bad thing?)), but only really ever used the eliptical, stairmaster and treadmill. Cardio all the time. #armday #legday, why?
I’ve been nursing my son since he was born, and that’s helped keep my baby weight off, but since breast milk is just a small portion of his diet, per day, I’ve noticed my butt getting a little bigger. Ugh. So all in all, exercise seems like the easiest way to get fit and feel well, but it’s just kind of a moot point with me.
Photo Credit: Emma Lopez on Unsplash
But since it’s #TransformationTuesday, I figured it’d be a good time to put together some tips for getting healthy without feeling the obligation to work out. Because yes, beauty is pain, but after a long day of work, normal stresses of adulthood piling up, and still 3+ weeks before The Bachelorette starts consuming my being, I’m over it. I’d rather embrace Taco Tuesday and start planning out my Cinco de Mayo 30th birthday fiesta this weekend - yes, I’m turning 30. That’s another thing. For any/all of you who can relate, and please, no matter how many people say that they feel utter and total joy while they’re working on their fitness, I’m saying hmmmmm, here are a few things you can do to commit to wellness without having to drag your ass to the gym.
That being said… if your partner or sister (who happens to be sweating for the wedding… ugh, I hate that) goes to the gym and could use some company, there will always be a yoga ball to bounce on, and a so-good-for-you smoothie to be slurped up at the juice bar. TBH, that was always my favorite part of going, fruit and protein - with a little chocolate - gives me life.
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Start loving water
Yes, I’m Danielle, and I hate the gym, but I LOVE water. Like actually really enjoy it, and could probably handle life if nothing else existed to quench my thirst. And really, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do if you don’t want to do much else. Eight cups of water a day, everyone always told you that growing up, but it’s no joke. If you’re prone to headaches, feel tired all the time, need some help getting s*** done in the bathroom, for real, or have been noticing your skin and complexion, in general, is bleh at best, then getting in on the hydration hype can totally do some good. I was watching Splitting Up Together the other night (because I adore Jenna Fischer), and they were having blackberry-sage ‘infused’ water at some irritatingly-trendy restaurant. It was the best thing ever. If you’re not sold on H20 in its most basic form, then infuse the f out of it. Make it delicious. And while you’re at it, drink it out of cute bottle, if you need it to be pretty to partake, then do it! Either fill up a big one and drink throughout the day, or go with a super small cup so you have to get up and fill it more often. If you’re wearing a pedometer, too, you’re getting extra 🌟🌟🌟.
Breakfast so hard
It’s the most important meal of the day, right? No really, it is. I can think of about 10 breakfast foods - steel cut oatmeal, avocado anything, eggs, berries, Greek yogurt, etc. - right now that would qualify as healthy, and I’d just about eat them all. Can’t say that about most other meals of the day. All of these early-bird edibles are packed with energy essentials and important nutrients such as calcium, iron and B vitamins in addition to protein and fiber. And if you’re less sluggish, that means you’re out doing more, being productive, staying motivated, looking for things to fill out your day, or staying focused on everything you need to get done. I’ll take some oatmeal, berries and one or two poached eggs on sprouted grain toast (which I kind of loved when I was pregnant), if it means I can get through the day and also keep my endorphins going - breakfast just makes me happy. It’s easy to just phone it in with a bowl of Special K and some skim, which is TOTALLY fine every once and awhile, but if you can make it a goal to build out your breakfast repertoire, you’ll be in much better shape. If it helps, sign up for a breakfast-specific subscription box (hello, carrot cake pancakes, I love you) and take turns cooking every morning with your love. It’ll help orient you for our next one….
Save sleeping in for special occasions
Okay, what’s sleeping in, right? For anyone who’s joined the workforce since graduating college, not setting an alarm clock like isn’t a thing anymore. When your beeps, bells, buzzers, chimes, whistles start going off 6am onward, it’s game over. But apart from needing to be at work on time, there are some merits to missing Ex of the Beach so you can go to sleep at a decent hour and be able to get up early the next day, bright eyed and bushy tailed. Of course, there’s the obvious outcome that comes with rising with the sun, you can get a lot more done. I can’t believe how many times I say that there’s not enough time in the day. There would be, if I got up earlier (and I don’t think that’s possible, with a one-year-old). You also keep yourself more sane, rushing only precipitates anxiety, and you can start your day with someeee kind of exercise, whether that’s a morning walk - favorite thing ever - some yoga, a morning swim - if you have a pool - anything to get you moving and releasing those peppy hormones. And yes, the weekends are good opportunities to catch up on those zzzzzzz’s when you’re zapped out from the week - BUT why quit the good habits? Instead, do something new with your boo, hobbies or otherwise 🍆 (if it’s not cardio in the gym, it can be cardio in the bedroom), get errands done, enjoy the spring/summer sunshine. Vitamin D is everything.
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Dance like no one’s watching
Like I said before, athlete, I’m not. But dancing is in my blood / my grandma was a ballerina, and I inherited her moves - sure as hell didn’t get it from my mom and dad. Not everyone feels comfortable getting down, after all, we can’t all be Justin Timberlake, but there’s something soooo relaxing and healthy about being able to turn up Spotify and shake your hips like there’s no one there to judge you. The kind of dancing you remember from high school, when you were at a Sweet 16 party totally tearing it up on the dance floor. Sweat dripping down your face, makeup starting to melt, feet blistered from heels you just shouldn’t have been wearing but did, because peer pressure. It obviously burns calories - 300-500 cals/hour, if you’re doing more than just tapping your foot and moving your head. And if you have a squad or work team full of people just as silly as you are, then nix the bottle service at the club or reschedule the next happy hour for a home or office dance party. #cafedisco style.
Go dry for a month
We surely don’t mean abstinence, see above ☝️… No, this one’s more about removing toxins from your body - in the form of booze and caffeine. Pick your poison, or lack thereof, will it be one month (or, if you’re really ambitious, 100-day challenge) without champs or one month sans Starbucks? Alcohol is empty calories, and coffee, despite its stimulant/appetite suppressant status, can actually make you gain weight. Being overly caffeinated can for sure disrupt your sleep and lead to less restful nights - and that’s not what we’re going for when we’re looking to shed some lbs. So, think about eliminating one or both of these vices - just for a little while - to show yourself that you can do it. If it’s hardly even fathomable to imagine Netflixing without something boozy in your hand, then at least consider cutting out the ridiculously caloric mixers you’ve only ever known. Try out a cocktail crafted with a zero-calorie, sugar-free and antioxidant-rich mixer, like ones from Be Mixed. At least the hangovers might be a little easier to handle. Once you’ve started to purge all the bad stuff from your imbibing behavior, you can then start thinking about mocktails…You’ll be one step ahead of all the other soon-to-be-pregnant women, when you can comfortably look at the non-alcoholic/virgin beverages in a restaurant, and not have insane FOMO. And when it comes to the caffeine, just try out decaf every once and while. Exposure therapy, if you will… I’ve been riding the decaf train for two years now, and it def makes me feel a little bit healthier.
Photo Credit: @bemixed
Try out a different kind of sunday funday
Look, bottomless brunches are probably one of, if not THE best thing to materialize out of millennial pop culture. But, as per the above, the alcohol and bad decision making (that accompany SFs) only give us the illusion that we’re living our best lives - the lifestyle is far from healthy. So, whether you roundup your besties for an intramural sports league, decide to take a fitness class together, or instead go to a fun cooking class as a group, you can still have a post-worthy Sunday, just without all of the debauchery. If you’d rather just celebrate Sunday Funday as a couple, then why not use the day to go food shopping, cook up meals that are easy, wholesome, and can be eaten throughout the week (eating the same kinds of things during the week can get monotonous, but it is a great tip to keep cravings and over-indulgence in check. Portion control is much easier when you’re not exactly stoked about the food you’re eating), and do a movie with homemade stovetop popcorn. That means a bag of kernels, some oil (pressed coconut oil is best), and a pot, finished off with a sprinkle of sea salt. Martha Stewart, eat your heart out!
Use your phoneIn terms of healthiness, our obsessions with tech are just sooo bad, but limiting screen time is a whole other issue. For another day! So, let’s just lean into it. We’re already on our phones for everything, and loving on all the social media influencers who have been getting fit and staying flawless, thanks to their crazy workouts or weird diet drinks (we judge, and then inevitably like the posts). How to get there on our own? Start by downloading any one of the countless diet/exercise/calorie counting and food journaling apps out there. Most are free!! Some of the apps encourage you to take snaps of your food and upload them into a tracker that basically analyzes the nutritional value of each of your meals and snacks. You can see trends, look at your meals as if they’re an Instagram grid, and see what’s missing in your overall aesthetic. Need some more greens? Done. Haven’t had much protein to balance out your carbs? Done. A lot even give you an idea of how you’re doing up against a food pyramid. And my favorite, MealLogger, helps you log food entries for the day, via photos, share them with your online social network (for encouragement and support) and even connect with a nutritionist or trainer for extra motivation, advice and counsel. Color us impressed!
And if all else fails, then fake it till you make it. Throw on a cute athleisure look and haul yourself to the place you hate most. Kettlebell swings FTW 😒