It’s Tuesday night and I’ve run out of toilet paper. Walking the two and a half blocks to my neighborhood CVS, I step inside and chuckle smilelessly, eyeballing the egregiously festive decor glued to every visible surface. Visually wading through an explosion of vulgar red and pink balloons, I-love-you candies, cards, and toothy grins stapled to a dozen googly-eyed teddybears, I deduce that Valentine’s Day is near. To be honest, I’ve always loved the way CVS really goes for that holiday spirit, celebrating whatever cause for celebration is around the corner. Be it Christmas, Fourth of July, National Pizza Month, or Arbor Day, I can always rest assured that my go-to convenience store will have whatever needless thing I need to purchase. And so, as I swim through boxes of disgusting SweeTarts and funny faced stuffed animals, I begin to think of what a funny thing it is to be in love.
Now take it from me, I love love. I can fall faster, get higher, and heartbreak harder than anyone I’ve ever met. If there were a Love Olympics, there’s no question I’d win every event…and I mean every (wink wink). But I digress… the funny thing about being in love, is that it changes who you are. Being in love actually induces a shift in your brain chemistry, and sometimes, that’s not a good thing. While you’re enjoying an afternoon delight or midnight snuggle sesh, your brain is flooding you with dopamine, serotonin, and all those warm fuzzy feelings that everyone’s a sucker for. So what’s the problem? In my personal experience, the problem with love is that it plays a huge role in determining my diet and exercise regiment, and consequently, my body weight. Let’s review what I call the Six Phases of Love.
First, there’s Phase 1. You’re newly in love, on a constant adventure, and your gut is filled with butterflies and nervous energy. This is the stage where you don’t even think about food since your stomach is full of that chaotic frenzy that runs on empty.
Next, there’s the Settle Down Phase. This is the moment when the initial euphoria starts wearing off and you’re able to revert back to normal eating habits and workouts. Things seem stable for a moment, but soon enough, you’ve entered stage three.
Also known as the Sitting On the Couch Watching TV Phase, this is perhaps the most dangerous phase of them all. This my friends are where we gain what’s referred to as Happy Weight. Slightly reminiscent of the Freshman Fifteen, Happy Weight is the extra ten or so pounds you pack on in the haze of love’s nonjudgmental embrace. You’ve established your love for one another, so the extra weight doesn’t bother either of you. However, after some time, you realize that you’ve totally replaced all your good health habits with Chex Mix and microwave pizza thingies. It’s at this phase where you decide to get back into shape or not. If you decide to keep the extra weight, there might still be hope for you if you decide to break up. In the last three optional stages of the breakup, we experience the What Do I Do Now Phase, Post Breakup Regulation Phase, and finally, the Revenge Body Phase.
People experience the What Do I Do Now Phase in two opposing ways. After a breakup, some are simply too depressed to eat, and unhealthily lose all their Happy Weight in a tidal wave of despair. Others prefer to drown out their emotions with boxes of sad, half-eaten chocolates, ice cream, or any kind of carb that can be delivered straight to the door.
Once the initial blow of love lost has subsided, the Post Breakup Regulation Phase kicks in, thus inspiring the “I’ll show him” mentality. This is where we get back to homeostasis and return to our diet and exercise routine PB (pre-boyfriend).
Finally, this brings us to the Revenge Body Phase. Because we all secretly crave the self-satisfaction of running into an ex-looking impossibly stunning, we prepare for this chance encounter by hitting the gym extra hard and eating super clean.
In summation, love takes a toll not just on our hearts, but our bodies, too. Now that we’ve covered our bases, let’s attack the root of this all. which is none other than OUTSIDE INFLUENCE.
If you’re dating someone in the fitness industry, you know it’s easier to stay on track with your diet and exercise goals with him than with someone who’s a couch potato, but even then, things change when there’s a new person in your life. Personally speaking, in the last year of my relationship I gained 10 pounds of happy weight, then lost 15 because I looked down and said in the wise words of Regina George, “sweatpants is all that fits me right now.” At first, it was hard to stick to my diet goals when he would eat everything I couldn’t, and who wants to be annoying and awkward saying “I can’t have that I’m on a diet.” Ew. Not to mention, my boyfriend loves me regardless of my weight, and I felt a bit silly trying to slim down when he couldn’t care less. But a true support system will support your decisions to be a better you 100% of the time, and so he encouraged me to go to the gym on days I didn’t feel like it. I’m happier than ever with him, but I’ve been able to lose the weight I put on in the beginning because I stuck to my goals and he helped me reach them.
It’s hard enough as it is to navigate your way to a fitter you, but it’s double the struggle when you’ve met someone you want to spend all your time with. In love or simply out with friends, peer pressure eating and habits are tough to get over. My solution? Be aware of the phases of love and always be mindful of where you are in your personal journey. Nevertheless, it’s totally OK to gain some happy weight!!! Don’t stress yourself with life’s fluctuations. If you’re lucky enough to be in love, enjoy it.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Lynx Body Lab: Savannah Lynx
So it’s August and bikini season is giving way to sweater weather which means hibernating in your cozy room with comfort food in your lap will soon be a thing. But here’s the real thing- did you get the beach bod you were aiming for this summer? Rewind to January. Has your New Years resolution to get in the best shape of your life kicked into gear or did old habits rear their ugly heads to come March?
Catch, Savannah’s past columns: LynxMode column
We’ve all heard it before; unless you put serious work in, you’re not going to get results, blah blah blah *insert fitness speech here.* This really is your game though. All you’ve ever wanted in terms of your fitness goals have been in your control and reach every single day. Don’t forget that the mirror selfie showing off rock hard abs and toned thighs isn’t the result of one month of hard work. It’s the final product of a series of choices that YOU make that get you one step closer to obtaining the physique you want.
I never like to delve into diet and exercise tips without a little mental exercise first. The reason for that is pretty obvious- what’s most people’s excuse for not eating clean or going to the gym? It’s usually along the lines of “I didn’t feel like it,” “I don’t want to wake up that early,” or even “there’s too much good food out there not to eat.” The true origin of physical excellence isn’t genes or luck, it’s hard work. Instead of envying the people at the gym with perfect bodies, take note of what they do and admire the fact that they, just like you, are busting their butts trying to be their best.
So how do you go about getting Lynxy and STAYING that way? My mother always told me if you stay ready, you never have to get ready, and man is that the truth (shout out to Moomjy for the advice 101). I don’t believe in crash diets, or even bulking/shredding seasons like a lot of my fitness contemporaries do. Personally, I think all that does is breed unhealthy habits and a cheat/reward system that messes up with your body’s natural desire to fuel itself with nutrient-dense foods. Let me break this down into three parts.
Also, check out: Listen to Savannah Lynx on the Fitness Gurls Podcast
The Hardest Part
Think of it like this. You’re on a bicycle and you’re facing a huge hill. You are starting from a full stop and have to inch your way up the hill. This is just like starting a new diet/workout regiment. It’s hardest at the beginning because you have no momentum! This is when most people tap out and never get to the second part.
The Medium Hard Part
You’ve gained a little momentum by making good choices and feel the proverbial bike beneath you moving faster. It’s still a struggle, but now that you’re in it, results seem just around the corner.
You’ve done everything by the book and you’ve seen some results, but not nearly what you had hoped for by this time. DON’T QUIT. This is just a plateau and you can expect a lifetime of healthy habits to give you an active lifestyle and the body that comes with it in due time.
This is the part where former pageant girls and bikini competitors tend to go back to their “off-season” ways. In my experience, it’s better and easier to keep this regiment going so that it becomes second nature to you. At this point, daily exercise is a no-brainer and you’ve got it all down now that you’ve biked your way to the top of that hill.
How’s here I do it
**Note I’m am not a trained nutritionist but have dedicated my life to pursuing a healthy/happy balance that can also get you and keep you looking and feeling your best.
EVERY SINGLE DAY. Make it to the gym. No gym? No problem. Floor exercises are JUST as effective and work well in concert with a daily regiment.
Be mindful of stretching hip flexors and calves
5 sets of 20 push-ups and 20 crunches alternated
1-mile jog at 6 mph
10 sets of 20 push-ups and 20 crunches
Run .5 miles at 7.5 mph
5 sets of 20 push-ups and 20 crunches
Walk at 4mph in steep incline for .5 miles
Run .5 miles at 8mph
5 reps of sprinting for one minute with cooldown 2-minute walk in between
3 sets of 20 push ups and 20 crunches
Personally, my routine isn’t that strict. If I want to run harder and faster, I do. If I don’t, I jog but make sure I make it to the gym every day. The very act of going makes you think twice about food choices when your willpower is running low which is what this is all about. Consistent work will yield results.
If you don’t have a treadmill, opt for mountain climbers and burpees in conjunction with push-ups and crunches. It may sound old fashioned, but it’s tried and true and let me tell you IT WORKS!! Don’t fool yourself thinking you need fancy equipment to break a sweat.
Here’s a lil story about the most patriotic photo I’ve ever had or will have 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 When I was a little girl, I was an annoying little complainer. But when my my incredible stepdad stepped into my life, that changed. If something wasn’t right, I was too cold, or didn’t want to do something, he would collect himself and very matter-of-factly state in his former marine manner, “pain is weakness escaping the body.” I took that to heart and cultivated an understanding of mental toughness and the power of mind over matter from that point on. During my sunrise run this morning, I spotted a group of marines wearing t-shirts with that exact saying printed on the back. I went over to them and asked if I’d be able to buy one. They said no…but I could earn one. After a grueling training camp in the hot sun, lifting heavy metal tins till my arms and legs felt like wet noodles, they congratulated me and handed me my “earned” t-shirt. I have so much respect for our men and women in service and today was just a little taste of something I know I would never be able to endure. God bless America and thank you to anyone and everyone for their service. Just reminds me how much our country needs to do something REAL about fixing our broken VA system. #freedomisntfree #goarmy #semperfi #earnit #painisweaknessleavingthebody #usa #merica #proudtobeanamerican @sakuraswimwear @mark.james.photo
Spent at least a good 30 minutes trying to snag this baby using my phones self-timer. During that time, I heard four scoffs, spotted three eye rolls, and heard two disgusted chortles… Not even sure I love this pic but ima post it in proud assertion of my IG addiction and for the fact that it required an exorbitant amount of effort #peoplearelookingatme #rollingtheireyes #idontblamethem #doitforthegram #pinksneakers #seeyoulateramerica #travelblogger #lynxmode #cantstopwontstop
How to get rid of that Annoying Belly Pooch
It’s 5:00 am and I’m on the grid. I’ve had my bulletproof coffee, vitamin C, Omega-3’s, and I’m ready to kick some ass. At this exact moment, I’m surrounded by Los Angeles’ finest as they grunt, lift, stretch, and sweat on mats, machines, and more. With my days of sleeping in past noon firmly behind me, I can say I’ve experienced a direct correlation between waking up early and personal success. While most of the world is still hitting the snooze button and yelling “five more minutes,” life’s go-getters are dragging their butts out of bed and into the gauntlet, gaining a leg up on their competition before most have even had their first cup of coffee. And so, as I confidently strut through this elite pantheon of self-discipline and Lululemon, I position myself on my favorite treadmill with the feeling of accomplishment already blossoming in my chest.
For more Savannah Lynx: Savannah Lynx’s When Moderation Isn’t A Thing
Shifting into gear, I select the “quick workout” button on the digital screen and manually alter my speed to a comfortable 5.5 mph. About three minutes in, I click upwards to 6.3 mph and a 1.5 incline, feeling the strength of my body beneath me as my breathing intensifies. Now that I’m past the initial warm-up stage, I take it upon myself to be admittedly nosy and scope out the other worker-outers. Subtly glancing around the room, I take note of my fellow gym-goers, mainly, the woman to my left. With barely any detectable sign of physical exertion, I see that she’s running comfortably at a sustained 9mph. Holding my look of disbelief, I continue to stare at her monitor which indicates that she’s fast approaching her 6th mile. WTF.
Attempting to compete with this mystery Olympian, I realize somewhere in between 9.5mph and death that I’m just not as good of a runner as she is. As she closes in on her 10th mile that she basically sprinted, she takes a sip of water from her perfect lavender canteen and makes a beeline for the floor mats. I, on the other hand, chug water from my plastic thing and spill half of it onto my questionably see-thru sports bra, still staring at Usain Bolt’s white female doppelganger. She continues her workout with an uninterrupted fifteen minutes of crunches, leg lifts, push-ups, and planks. Still jogging pathetically, I start to wonder… How the heck is it possible that this woman just finished one of the most intense workouts I could have ever done, and yet- she looks completely untoned?
If I had to name the most fundamental truth about working out, I’d say this: ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN. For all of you trying to lose that stubborn belly pooch or muffin top, the sad truth is that working out isn’t the answer. Yes, exercise is PART of the answer, but diet is unequivocally the most important factor in obtaining the toned abs you’ve always wanted. If you’re busting your ass in the gym and not seeing results, don’t seek harder, more exhausting exercises. Head to your fridge and reassess what it is you’re eating. With a perfect combination of exercise and diet, a toned stomach can be just a few short months, or even weeks, away. Here’s how to get em’ without any crash dieting or overkill. Keep this plan up, and you’ll be bikini bod ready by spring!
High Protein/Low Carb is the way to go! That means no starch or sugars and definitely stay away from processed cheese and meats. Below’s a list of Lynx Approved foods that will not only get your tummy tight, but will be great for your hair, skin, and nails. It’s kind of my take on the Atkins/Paleo diet with a little bit of common sense sprinkled in.
-eggs (1 yolk for every 3 whites)
-low carb veggies (cauliflower, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, avocado **might be a fruit but whatevs**)
-leafy greens (kale, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, celery)
-fat-free greek yogurt and/or cottage cheese
-unsweetened almond and/or cashew milk
-nuts and seeds (or a Kind Bar if you need a little sweet treat!)
-Try not to eat three hours before bed at night
-If you’re going to have an alcoholic beverage, go for red wine or a vodka soda
-Cook with coconut oil or avocado oil instead of butter
-Instead of sauces and salad dressings, stick with fresh squeezed lemon juice, balsamic vinegar/ olive oil, or coconut amino acids
-Make sure you have a great protein powder on hand. These are VITAL in the face of cravings and for replenishing post-workout. I like Amplified Gold 100% Whey Protein in the chocolate flavor. Strawberry is good too!
-Obviously, this is a LIFESTYLE change, and with any lifestyle, you’re going to need some actual carbs in your system over time. For me, toasted Ezekiel bread with a ton of all-natural no sugar added peanut or almond butter is the way to go. If you want something more savory, toasted Ezekiel bread with cream cheese, salmon lox, and capers is great and won’t undo your progress!!
-Run 1 mile at 5mph on the treadmill
-Jump rope for 5 minutes
-Run 1 mile at 6mph
-10 minutes of elliptical at Level 13 resistance and 10-degree incline
-Run 1 mile alternating between 3 minutes of running at 7.5mph (or higher if comfortable) and 1.5 minutes of walking
-30 reps of bozu ball crunches
-20 seconds plank
-50 reps of bozu ball crunches
-30 seconds plank
-10 push ups
-Cool down walk
-Get your workout in first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, then refuel about an hour after. Fasted cardio is one of the easiest ways to get rid of belly fat!
-Try and workout without the use of pre-workouts/artificial performance enhancers…you can do it- you don’t need any help!
-If you’re having an off day and can’t do a full out the workout, just be sure to make it to the gym EVERY DAY. A little something is better than nothing- for your body AND for your morale.
When Moderation Isn’t A Thing
It’s 4 pm and I’m alone in my apartment. Even though I’ve just eaten a satisfying spinach salad with egg whites, slivered almonds, red bell peppers, and broccoli florets, I’ve been opening, closing, and reopening the pantry cabinet door for the last minute and a half now. Before I take a second to stop and think, I do the unthinkable. I climb up onto my kitchen countertop and reach far into the unreachable space in which I’ve hidden it. I grab a spoon, unscrew the lid, and dip my silver utensil into the ooey-gooey goodness of my most delectable vice. As the savory sweet treat lands on my tastebuds, the voice inside my head says just one more spoonful and then you’ll be done. That voice and I both know it’s a big fat liar.
For more Savannah Lynx: Savannah Lynx’s Resolutions with Resolve
Hi. My name is Savannah, and I’m addicted to peanut butter.
It’s amazing to me that no matter how many times I tell myself I can keep peanut butter in the house and enjoy it in moderation, I still manage to disappoint myself to no end. My predictable lapses in willpower and good judgment have become exhausting, and my tumultuous relationship with this particular pulverized nut butter is no doubt verging on toxic. If you think my hyperbole is employed simply for dramatic flare, think again. It’s not uncommon for me to polish off a Costco sized family pack of peanut butter in under a week. If I don’t have anything to do on a lazy Sunday and nobody’s around to judge me, it might only take me a committed afternoon to devour an entire jar. It’s disgusting and flat out shameful, but it’s also the sad truth. As a fitness model and supposed model of health, I feel like I shouldn’t be dealing with such silly food-related matters. After all, I have won tens of thousands of dollars in fitness competitions and even have my own column on fitnessgurls.com for crying out loud. This kind of behavior just doesn’t fit the bill. But the more I think about the secret life of everyone you think you know, the more I’ve come to realize that I’m probably not the only one suffering from a paralyzing food addiction. Just to be certain, I started asking my friends.
Competitor or not, what I’ve discovered from my official “Is-It-Just-Me?!? Poll”, is that almost EVERYBODY has that one food they cannot say no to. These addictions range anywhere on the spectrum from “questionably healthy” like raisins and trail mix to flat out not good for you at any time and might not even be considered food like Sour Patch Kids and Flaming Hot Cheetos. Moral of the story? We all pick our poison. Everyone knows treating yourself isn’t bad in small doses. But what happens when we finally come to terms with the fact that small doses sometimes aren’t a possibility? It’s time to get real, get honest, and get this friggin’ crap out of our hands so we don’t sabotage our own progress.
Here’s how to kick those cravings and keep on target!!!
Step 1: GET IT OUT OF THE HOUSE
You’ve tried “moderation” but it’s time to accept the fact that you just can’t control yourself. The only way to stop yourself from eating too much of something you really don’t want to be eating in the first place is by not having access to it. If it’s not in the fridge or pantry, you can’t be tempted by it. Out of sight, out of mind!!
Step 2: Turn your Emotional Eating Into Mindful Refueling
Most of the time we binge or indulge too much because we’re emotional. Boredom, nervousness, excitement, and stress are major triggers when it comes to forgetting about our nutrition plan and making undesirable choices. When you feel a craving coming on, take a moment to breathe and ask yourself if you’re compelled to eat because you’re hungry or because it’s just something to do. If it’s the latter, step away and occupy yourself with something intellectually engaging that will veer your focus elsewhere.
Step 3: Beware of Group Think!!
Just because your boyfriend, coworkers, friends, or neighbors are eating, doesn’t mean you have to. In a lot of cases, we eat because it’s socially awkward not to. For me, it’s almost impossible to beat my girlfriend’s house for movie night and not reach for the chips, pretzels, or popcorn- but I’ve got to stay strong! There’s a time and a place to indulge, but if you haven’t already accounted for some extra calories via your workout and meal plan, then say no thank you and pop in a piece of gum!
Step 4: Throw Away Unhealthy Mentalities
I’m not a stranger to that unhealthy way of thinking where I’ve already broken the seal on some fattening foods and think to myself I might as well keep eating since I already messed up. Wrong! We all make mistakes, and nobody can be expected to be perfect 100% of the time. The key is recognizing when we’ve had enough, and stopping before we head for a binge. Be kind to your body and allow for some give here and there. You’re only human!!