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When Moderation Isn’t A Thing

Savannah Lynx

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Photos by Ludwig Araujo Photography

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!!

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LynxMode

Love is Fattening 

Savannah Lynx

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Photos by Ludwig Araujo Photography

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.

pillow talk 💭💭 @fitnessgurls @ludwigaraujo

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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!

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LynxMode

How to get rid of that Annoying Belly Pooch

Savannah Lynx

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Photo by Jake Edmonson

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!





Diet:
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)
-fish
-chicken
-tofu
-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!)

TIPS:
-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!!

Exercise:
-Stretch
-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
-10 pushups
-50 reps of bozu ball crunches
-30 seconds plank
-10 push ups
-Cool down walk
-Stretch

TIPS:
-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.

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Health & Fitness

Savannah Lynx’s Resolutions with Resolve

Savannah Lynx

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Photos by KARMA CAPTURES

It’s the same story every January 1. You finish up the year with a string of cheat days only to swear that THIS is the year you’re finally going to attack your fitness goals. Truth is, even if we desperately want to have a banner year in our health and fitness pursuits, the momentum and energy we start with fresh out the gate in January have most likely burnt out by mid-March. As your steamed chicken and veggie dishes taste more and more bland and your workouts seem less and less fun, the lost quality of life doesn’t seem worth a few extra pounds. Soon enough, you’ve forgotten about that six pack you always wanted and have headed straight for the couch with your two best friends (Ben and Jerry).

Read more from Savannah Lynx: Savannah’s Guide to Your Holiday Hot Bod

But here’s the good news- it doesn’t have to be like that this year. If you really want something, you’ll need to be prepared to do the work. That being said, working smarter, not harder, is the secret to keeping your fitness goals alive in your mind all year round. Nobody wants to eat chicken, fish, and veggies every day for the rest of your life, and working out every single day can be daunting. However, your perfect body isn’t far out of reach if you just try to keep your head in the game, recommit to your goals every morning, and realize that consistency is key. Here are some Lynxy Tips to keep your eyes on the prize until December 31!

Switch It Up
In today’s world, there are thousands of different types of workout styles which means you have a huge spread to choose from. If you haven’t found your exercise go-to, try them all out! Groupon and ClassPass have some great discounted deals, and a lot of gyms will let you in for a free trial if you talk to the manager. Between SoulCycle, PureBarre, F45, hot yoga, pilates, CrossFit, and Zumba, you could literally take a different class every day for the rest of your life…ok maybe not but you get what I mean.

Make Cheat Days/Meals a Thing of The Past
I’ve seen too many people create super bad nutrition habits thinking that they’ll have one day to totally splurge on whatever they want. Consistent effort over time is the only way to ensure lasting results, not quick fixes or gimmicks. Personally, I believe cheat days tend to incur a binge mentality which can spiral out of control pretty quickly. Instead of planning on going ham on some cheese fries, two milkshakes, a stack of pancakes, and a large Coca-Cola, allow yourself a few bites of indulgence as the week progresses. Allowing yourself some wiggle room is the way to make sure you’ll bend without breaking!

Listen to Your Body
In the fitness world, everyone’s always screaming at you to PUSH YOURSELF. But sometimes, you need to know when to take your foot off the gas. If you’ve been in the gym every day for two weeks and need a day off, take it! However, I’m a big believer in always making it to the gym- regardless of my workout. Even if I don’t plan on working out, just walking on the treadmill and reading or watching TV is much better than sitting on the couch and mindlessly munching on snacks.

Grab a Friend
No matter whether you want to get in shape for your next competition or lose that stubborn extra five pounds, it’s always a good idea to share your fitness goals with a friend. Chances are, almost all of your friends would like to alter the way they eat and/or exercise, so why not pair up with a partner and see your improvement together! Chasing that next goal will become a team effort, and you’ll have a built-in support system and someone to hold you accountable when you want to give up. Think about it- you’re much less likely to skip a workout when your friend is counting on you to be there. Two heads are better than one!

Update!
So you made your resolution in January- but now it’s almost February and you have a clearer vision of what needs to be done in order to make it long term. At the first of each month, update your resolution! Make it more detailed by adding, altering, or even changing it completely to make it more tailored to you now that you’ve been in the game. A lot of times we miss our target because we’re too stubborn to see that we’re actually aiming for the wrong thing. Take some time to re-envision your goals and map out what you need to do to get where you want to be. If you’re serious about reaching your fitness potential, you’ll need to take mental inventory of every piece of the puzzle.

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