"The first real day of spring is like the first time a boy holds your hand. A flood of skin-tingling warmth consumes you, and everything shines with a fresh, colorful glow, making you forget that anything as cold and harsh as winter ever existed." - Richelle E. Goodrich
Tis the season for most women (and some men) to start prepping their 'beach bodies' ready for Summer holidays filled with polaroids of friends in bikinis jumping up in the air by the Spanish seaside. I have started prepping my beach body last month - and that is when I asked myself what exactly does a beach body means to me? Is it skinny? Is it a female sick pack? A thigh gap? I thought that's what a beach body meant after reading numerous press articles on the latest diets, and seeing one too many Instagram posts from my favourite travel bloggers. But after thinking about the topic of beach bodies, I finally decided what it means to me: a healthy body.
I teamed up with LighterLife Fast to get inspired with a healthy lifestyle and a healthy diet to get my body Summer ready. The team have kindly sent me a cute hamper filled with some essentials, and wished me luck on my ventures - thank you! I previously trialled the LighterLife Fast 5:2 diet (you can read all about the results in this post), but I was challenged even further this time - a 4:3 diet. The idea of this fasting diet is that you fast on 600 calories for 3 days, and eat normal but healthy for 4. The 3 fasting days don't have to all be in a row, but rather spread out. You see, back in our cavemen days we hunted for food and sometimes we had lots of food, but sometimes we had minimal scraps to eat. In the modern day, we overindulge in food and often have more than what we actually need. And when you're wanting to shed some weight, a fasting diet is the perfect compromise between healthy fresh food, calorie balance and an occasional naughty treat.
With a large variety of meals and snacks to choose from, LighterLife Fast provide a great range of options for your fasting days - the calories are clearly labeled so you can control your intake of 600 calories per day. What I love is that most of their foods are vegetarian, even the shepherds pie and spaghetti bolognese which contain a meat substitute. One of the things I decided to try in my quest for a healthier body is to really lower the amount of meat consumption. I am not going veggie, but what I am doing is using more fish for dinners, and vegetables and pulses for lunch. Meat isn't the easiest thing for our bodies to digest, which can sometimes leave me feeling bloated, heavy and lethargic - not to forget that meat sticks around on your hips more than an aubergine or a steamed salmon fillet would!
I love the FastPots from LighterLife Fast as these are the perfect lunchtime meal - tasty, filling and only 200 calories per pot! Super easy to make - just boil water and wait for 5 minutes. The Fragrant Thai Noodles with Lemongrass are one of my favourite pots. I also grab a crunchy bar for breakfast/snack and fill my tummy with green tea and plenty of water.
My weekly shopping usually consists of plenty of veggies, and a treat like a steak or an ice cream. This is the great thing about being on a 5:2 or 4:3 diet - you do have cheat days. Obviously don't go over the top and start your day with a McDonalds Breakfast, KFC lunch and a Dominoes for dinner - but you don't feel guilty about eating an ice cream or a Saturday night kebab on a rare occasion.
I do my shopping once a week, and plan what I have for lunches/dinners on a Monday. One of my favourite things to cook in a big batch is the Hemsley and Hemsley beef ragu - but I replace beef with quorn, and then divide into portions to keep in the fridge which will last me for 3 days worth of lunches. I heard a brilliant saying the other day "Eat whatever you like, but cook it yourself" which is so true! I love cooking so everything in our house is homemade (unless it's a baked good, in which case I just simply cannot bake to save my life!). When you cook your own food, you know exactly what goes into the meal, and you can control your ingredients. It's terrifying how some shop bought pasta sauces contain 7 spoons of sugar!!
I am getting prepped for a beach body - but this year it's all about balance and health, rather than watching the scales and getting upset about what I can and cannot eat. Balance for me is a good mixture of healthy food, being educated with what you're eating and also the occasional naughty treat. Like how could anyone live without a pizza? Mix a good diet with a little bit of exercise and you're on your way to a healthy, strong body - and a healthy mind.
What does a beach body mean to you? Is it about size, health, tan, or something different altogether?