CACAO BLOG

Getting and Keeping your Bikini Body... 10 Tips from a Naturopath

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

 

By Kirsten Swales

Naturopath, Medical Herbalist, Yoga Instructor & Foodie

The easiest way to get a Bikini Body?

Buy a bikini. Put it on your body. ;-)

The secret to gaining a body you are absolutely confident in to rock that said bikini?

The secret is there is no secret.

Good clean eating, a wholesome lifestyle and happy hormones will almost always get you there.

You'll likely find a "Top Ten" list of ways to achieve a bikini body in most summer issues of girly mags. But here's one that's a bit more in depth; a Naturopath's take on the top ten most important things you may wish to start (or continue) doing to help you achieve your health goals.

I always always say, we are all wonderfully individual, so what works for one may not necessarily work for another. We need to tune into our own bodies, and find what works for us.

 

1. Hydration

This always gets drummed into us, with the usual recommendation of "8 glasses per day". Different conditions require different amounts though. Mid-winter in Sweden vs Summer in the tropics - totally different needs. As an indicator, have a peek at the colour of your urine. It should ideally be a pale yellow to clear. If it's rather yellow, up your intake. Adequate water intake helps to regulate our appetites, and it is really easy to misinterpret hunger for actual thirst. I love to start my day by "drenching" my body with 1 litre of water. Your digestive system is at its emptiest in the morning and this has a nice flushing effect.

 

2. Find a Way of Eating most suited to you

So many "Current Trending Diets" out there. I actually don't even like to use the word "diet" as it implies restriction. When you find the style of eating that works for you it is not about restriction, it is about nourishment and sustainability. We should feel satisfied physically, mentally and emotionally from the food we eat. The physical, mental and emotional are all interconnected. When one is out of balance it affects the others.

Cravings are big here. We might think that cravings are a mental and/or emotional thing. Often they are actually a result of an underlying physical need, i.e. unstable blood sugar levels or nutrient deficiency. Craving chocolate around that time of the month? That's your body letting you know it wants some more magnesium. Correct the physical and the mental/emotional often resolves too.

 

3. Identify and resolve any food allergies or intolerances

Feeling "puffy"? Rings cutting off circulation one day but not the next? Poop sticking to the bowl? These are all indicators that there is some level of inflammation happening in the body. Often as a result of what we have consumed. I suggest keeping a food diary for a week, noting foods eaten and any symptoms if they occur. This can really help you to tune into your body that little bit more and identify any common triggers. When we have inflammation in the body, we tend to hold onto water. Think of a blister on the outside of your body...the water/serum helps to protect the underneath layer and helps it to heal. It can be really hard to lose excess weight with an inflamed digestive system.

 

4. You don't have to count calories, but calories do count

Here I am referring to the types of food you choose to eat. Eating 2000 calories worth of good fats, veggies, and proteins will have a huge difference in how you look and feel compared to eating 2000 calories worth of Big Macs. If you want to look and feel like a million bucks, don't eat from the dollar menu.

It really is a shame that healthy, whole foods are way more expensive than processed foods. But it is what it is, at least for now, and I choose to spend less other things so that I can afford the foods I want. Macadamias - I'm looking at you. Yum!

 

5. Sleep

In similar category to water I reckon, we all know we should be getting our 8 hours per night. But do we know why? When I know the reasoning behind what I am doing I am more likely to follow though. Insufficient sleep is known to cause changes in hormones like ghrelin (which increases appetite) and leptin (which tells us we're full). The result is that sleepy people tend to feel hungry and consume more energy than those who are well rested. Also, when we're tired we tend to reach for the more energy dense foods. The little "quick fix". And if we're feeling a little sooky along with tired, comfort foods seem like the only thing in the world that will make us feel better. Opposite in fact tends to be true.

 

6. De-Stress

Elevated stress levels cause elevated levels of our stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol inhibits insulin production in an attempt to prevent glucose from being stored, favoring its immediate use. Over time this leads to chronically high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Our cells become starved of glucose. Message sent to brain: eat more. So we do. And the excess glucose gets stored as body fat.

You can get your insulin resistance levels tested by having the Hba1C blood test. This test measures your response to insulin over the past three months.

 

7. Exercise

Exercise. Is. Awesome. Helps your mood, steadies blood sugar levels, improves insulin resistance, tones the bowel, regulates appetite, releases endorphins. I love exercise...to a degree! I love yoga and I love surfing. Find things you enjoy that also keep you moving. Ideally at a level of intensity suited to where you are at. If you are a bit stressed out and adrenally fatigued doing Bikram 5 times a week may be what you want but it is the opposite of what you need (I speak from personal experience. Bikram yoga 5 days a week, couldn't loose a gram. Cut back massively, rested, did a weight loss protocol, felt the best ever. And developed a six pack for the first time in my life).

 

8. Thyroid Health

Our thyroids play a huge role in our metabolism. Hypothyroid (underactive thyroid) being one of the biggest underlying causes of inability to lose weight. There are lots of different mechanisms that need to be working for us to have healthy thyroid function.

Often getting back a test result of TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) within range will come with the tick from the doctor that you're all good. But there is much more involved to it. Levels of TSH, T3 (triiodothyronine), T4 (thyroxine) and TPO (thyroid peroxidase antibody) all need to be evaluated to understand where your thyroid is truly at. You can do a little at home assessor by tracking your Basal Body Temperature for a few days. If it is consistently under 36.5 C you most likely have an unhappy thyroid.

 

9. Intermittent Fasting

I'm a fan of "intermittent fasting". I am also a fan of eating every day! Michael Mosely popularised the "5:2 diet": 500 calories on two non consecutive days of the week, regular eating the other five. Works for some. For others they often comment they tend to overdo it quite a bit on the regular days. You can achieve the same results if not better by fasting for 12 - 16 hours each day. May sound like a stretch, but remembering point 5 we are going to be aiming to sleep for 8 hours per night. So two hours either side and you have 12 hours right there. Think of it as having an 8 - 10 hour "eating window" during your days.

 

10. Dry Skin Brushing

I'll end with a simple one. Dry skin brushing. This one is great for removing dead skin cells and giving you a nice healthy glow. It also increases circulation to your skin, which encourages the elimination of metabolic waste. And with its stimulation of the lymphatic system it helps to release toxins acting as a powerful detoxification aid. Plus it may help to reduce the appearance of cellulite by softening any hard fat deposits beneath the skin and distributing them more evenly. Winning! ...when trying to re-make it a habit I put a little post-it note on the shower door so I will see it before I get in. Remembering once you're already wet is a bit late for dry skin brushing. ;-)

 

 

So those are the factors I would consider most important in achieving and maintaining your rockin' Bikini Body.

Very easy to say we should all "be happy with the body we have", but if you're not feeling well physically it's going to affect how you feel mentally and emotionally too. On the flip side, when your body is feeling good physically there's no stopping the mental and emotional vitality that comes with it too. It's not about the number on the scale, its about the health beneath the skin radiating out. Like sunshine. And what's great when the sun is shining? Bikinis!

 

Kirsten is a qualified Naturopath, Medical Herbalist and Yoga Instructor who is passionate about health.

She absolutely loves what she does. It makes Kirsten incredibly happy to not only care for and nourish her own body, but to share that knowledge and help her clients to do the same.

Kirsten’s dream is to help guide and empower as many of you as possible to achieve and maintain the same spectacular state of health and vitality as she does now!

Contact Info: kirsten@urbanremedies.com  www.urbanremedies.com