By Amy Boens Lewis
Portraits by ChiChi Ubiña
“Challenge yourself every day to do better and be better. Remember, growth starts with a decision to move beyond your present circumstances.” – Robert Tew
My post-Covid regimen began at the end of February. Lack of outdoor activity, limited dining, curfews and continued Zoom fitness sent me into a downward spiral. I ate more, worked out less, turned another year older and realized that if I made the mistake of gaining weight, it would not be easy to lose at all! Losing a pound is hard work in my personal arena. It is almost like performing a miracle. I took three initial steps to stop the cycle and turn everything around – challenging myself to leave the sins of a Covid year behind.
Step 1: Eliminate all processed sugar. It includes not consuming sodas, juices, candy, cookies, cakes, white flour products – all the bad high glycemic stuff. There is a long and very negative laundry list of what exactly sugar does to the body. The first and most obvious is weight gain. Sugar is excess calories that the body cannot process and needs to send somewhere, i.e. your thighs. It can also lead to depression, premature aging, cavities, acne, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. It’s an addiction and not easy to overcome, but the results are wonderful, when you push through. Without sugar, one has better sleep, more energy, less mood swings (no crash and burn), and glowing skin.
Step 2: Go to bed a little hungry, every night. The bulk of your eating should happen during daylight hours. Thanks to Covid, I was binging Netflix every night and snacking on something out of complete boredom. Try to have a cut-off time every night. My Mom gave me great advice… she said to immediately brush your teeth after dinner in the hopes it deters you from eating anything else. It’s tough to follow through, but a guarantee you will see results. A rule of thumb is to leave 12-14 hours between dinner and breakfast. It gives the body a chance to rest and digest and is called Circadian fasting.
Step 3: Step up the workout. This is what I call “working out efficiently.” Pre-Covid, I exercised at least 2-2 ½ hours a day with some of the best trainers. Because my options are no longer limitless, I’m down to 1-1 ½ hours. I know it seems like a lot, but my body is accustomed to very long workouts. I had to mix it up. I needed to up the intensity and resistance in my cardio. I still ride a stationary bike a lot, but now it’s less time at a higher resistance. I am completely wiped. As far as weight training, I went from heavy weights, less reps to more reps with lower weight. This helped me create a leaner look. It is important to practice good form. You will decrease your risk of injury. You don’t want to go back to square one. Whatever you choose, consider how to efficiently modify your workout for the better. Your body will change too.
Give yourself at least two months to feel better and to see a transformation. The world is open and the weather is nice! It’s time to get healthy and stay healthy! A strong body is a strong immune system.