Sharolyn LeitholdDon’t let bikini season sneak up on you! I can promise that you will face this summer loving yourself.
5 changes you can make to give yourself a lean and healthy body:

1). Avoid white foods. flour, refined carbs, starches and sugar. The word is avoid, not eliminate. We have to be realistic, but if you can avoid these foods 80% of the time it will make a huge difference in your health and the way your body looks. They are acidic, they compromise your immune system, they convert to sugar which causes your pancreas to release insulin and this causes your body to store fat. Incidentally, this is where type II diabetes is coming from. We eat way too many refined starches and carbs and the pancreas just cannot handle this constant insulin output. These foods are also directly linked to the addictive dopamine response in our brain which makes us eat more of them and makes them harder to give up. It takes about 3 days to “detox” from these sugar based foods. Give yourself this time and see how good you feel after you’ve made it through. If you have a difficult time, you are in withdrawal and it can be tough. All the more reason to stick to it. Food addiction is a very unhealthy situation. You need to take back control of your body.

2). Move every day. Even if it is just a walk. Movement creates heat and heat raises your metabolism which burns more calories. 15 minutes on a stationary bike, 20 min of yoga or an exercise class (free on the Internet). Anything is a great start. Keep the goal small so it is attainable. You can build up as you go along.

3). Get enough sleep. Studies show that people who cheat themselves out of sleep gain weight. A New York Times article talks of a study that proves that people gain an average of 2 pounds per week when depriving themselves of sleep for about 4 nights in a week. They don’t process sugars well and they eat more refined carbohydrates than usual. This means that lack of sleep can make you fat. It isn’t worth it. Turn off the TV and go to sleep.

4). Eat more protein. Eating creates heat and therefore raises your metabolism. Studies show that people on a high protein, low fat and low glycemic (low sugar) diet actually burned 200 calories more per day just by eating that way. This is without adding exercise. Whether you are vegetarian or not, you must eat half your body weight in grams of protein per day to maintain your lean body mass. Example: A 140 pound woman needs 70 grams of protein per day. 7 grams = 1 oz. therefore she needs 10oz of protein a day. To give you an idea, a chicken breast is approx 3 oz. cooked. An egg is 1 oz. If you don’t satisfy this minimum requirement, your body is forced to break down your muscle and take the essential amino acids and this means you lose muscle. Less muscle means a lower metabolism which means a lower calorie burn, which therefore means that you will burn less calories in a day and therefore it will be easier to gain weight.

5). Love where you are right now with your body. You can’t possibly expect to treat your body right if you don’t like it in the first place. See the beauty in who and what you are now and make a plan to improve on perfection. You have the power to be who you want to be. You have the ability to change your body. If you can’t do it alone, get some help. Find people you love and create a support group. Do it with a friend. You will improve your life by feeding your body, not starving it. Start putting in the right foods, put the others on hold for now. Create a liquid beauty regimen by getting one vegetable juice in a day. You’ll see the changes in your skin and on your face. Smile!

Sharolyn has been a top L.A. trainer and competitive athletic conditioning coach for the last 15 years. Her clients include everyone including professional and amateur athletes, Varisty sports teams, celebrities and everyone in between.