There will always be that amazing woman, whose willpower is as iron-clad as those abs you see popping through her shirt as she glides through a brutal workout. This woman stays lean all year round, evidently born without the gene responsible for making fresh-baked brownies so darn irresistible. The rest of us realize somewhere around mid-May that we are going to be expected to ooze confidence in tiny bikinis soon. Like, really soon.
So we double up the workouts, and tighten up the diet, and before long we’re in fighting shape, and ready for some summer fun. But a family reunion here, a tropical vacation there, and by the time Labor Day rolls around, you’re skinny jeans, well, aren’t so much. What to do when the dog days of summer leave you ready for early hibernation?
A carb-detox is just the thing to help ditch those pounds like a summer fling, and get back on board the fitness bus. Carb depletion is a fairly technical process, but by incorporating a few basics, you will shed water weight and reverse the cravings that lead to overindulging. For 7 days, your diet will consist of 5-6 meals, comprised of lean protein, essential fats, and all the veggies your heart desires. Protein, in the form of chicken, turkey, lean pork and fish, should be the size of your palm, and eaten every 3-4 hours. Pair that with any vegetable you like, and drizzle a teaspoon or two of heart-healthy oil, like olive, sunflower or sesame. Even nutritious, complex carbs are off limits for now, but remember, it’s only a week.
By using a little extra fat, you’re able to maintain your caloric needs, but burn through all that stored glycogen, to get to the junk in the trunk. As active women, we need to be well fueled to perform at our best, whether in the gym, on the field, or at the office. I’m not an advocate of eliminating any food group completely, but removing carbohydrates for a short time is the fastest way to get back on track after a lapse.
In laymen’s terms, it gets rid of the extra fuel you’re carrying in your muscles, and allows your body’s fat furnace to switch into high gear. I like to incorporate several total-body circuits, using lighter weights, and very high (30-50, depending on ability) reps, into my “depleting” weeks, as this uses lots of energy and speeds up the process. You may feel a little fuzzy at first, as your liver and kidneys work overtime to rid your body of the nasty chemicals that have taken up residence in your fat cells.
Drink tons of water and clear, herbal teas, and know that in a few short days, you will look and feel much better. After 7 days, most of your “reserve” will have been used for energy, and you will be starting from a clean slate. You can expect to have stripped the extra fluid you’ve been carrying, and your skin will look take on a dewy glow, thanks to all the antioxidants you’re consuming. At this point, your body will have become more efficient at utilizing the foods you eat, your blood sugar will have stabilized, and it is fine to add back some healthy starch. Start with me today, and by this time next week we’ll have atoned our summer sins, and be back in the game.
Erin stays busy pursuing her own fitness goals, and helping to educate and inspire those she loves to live healthier lives. A hair stylist by trade, she manages a salon, and is chipping away at a degree, ultimately in dietetics and kinesiology. She lives in South Florida with her husband and a “pound puppy” named Pedro.