How to Get Your Summer Body Back

Tychell Pinckney-Nickson, Staff Writer

Two summers ago, I was a healthy 136 pounds. I had not gone to the gym or worked out in months, and when the pandemic began, I gave myself another excuse not to. During a recent annual check-up, the scale read 163 lbs. My self-confidence was shattered like a sledgehammer going through a glass window. That didn’t hurt me as much as trying on new clothes that I ordered online prior to the appointment, however. Only half of them fit me comfortably, while the others were a perfect fit, but would shrink in the first wash. It was then that I realized that I needed to get back to the weight I felt most confident. So, I started to take the steps to get my summer body back.

 First, I set a goal. When you set one, it gives you motivation to achieve it. My goal is to get down to 145 pounds. That was the time when I was happy with my chest size, and my thighs were just thick enough. The 136 pounds is too small for me. My neck was sunken in, my chest was small, and I was afraid of losing my butt. When I started to gain more weight, my chest size came back, and everything else followed. Now, I feel a little too big, and not being able to fit those clothes really exposed my insecurities.

How to reach that goal?

Look in the mirror and focus on the areas that you want to improve. I looked at all the parts of my body that I want to change by imagining the body I desire once I reach my goal. I looked at my thighs and saw cellulite that I want to get rid of. I looked at my butt and saw that I want to tone and lift it more. I reflected on how weak one arm is versus the other and want to work on my triceps and biceps. Once that process is done, you focus on the next step.

Change your diet. Most of the food that I ate has a lot of sodium in it, plus I was not drinking enough water. Drink more water, it makes you pee a lot. When you urinate, it lets out most of the toxins in your body, like sodium. Another way to improve your diet is portion control. I already do not eat a lot, and when I did in the past, I skipped the next meal, which isn’t healthy either. I found that it is best to have a large breakfast, a snack, a small lunch like a salad, another snack, and then a medium sized dinner. It allows the body to form the habit of a balanced diet.

Find a partner or set up a schedule to go work out on your own. If you are going to work out alone, make sure that it can fit in your schedule securely. If you work out with a partner, make sure that both of you are available to go to the gym on certain days at certain times. Make sure that you have multiple options to choose from just in case one is not available or cannot match your availability. For me, I had multiple options, but I decided to choose someone who is as dedicated as I am to reach their weight goal. Diana Orellana, a 26-year-old graduate of UCONN with a medical degree, has been working out on and off for eight years. Once the quarantine began in Connecticut, she decided to dust off her workout gear and start going to the gym again. Being stuck at home put a hold on the social activities in her life, and she figured, “might as well do something that will benefit me in the long run.”

Orellana is a small-framed female and has been for all of her life. Her goal is to gain more muscle. She discovered that eating larger portioned meals did not do the trick on its own, she had to start working out more. With eating larger meals and going to the gym more often she has been able to gain ten pounds in the past year, which is mostly muscle. She describes working out, “From an anatomical standpoint you do release serotonins, which are hormones that makes your body think you’re happy. So, you are happy ‘cause you are doing something for yourself, but your body actually feels happy as well.” She also believes that having a partner keeps you accountable, and when you are, that creates the habit of working out.

Track your status while reaching that goal.

Look in the mirror every now and again to see if any parts are changing the way that you want. I try and weigh myself every week, but if I miss a week, I just do it the next time I’m around a scale. Consistently weighing yourself will not make you feel secure, so try not to weigh yourself every day. If the workouts that you are doing is helping and you see the results in the mirror and on the scale, you know that you are doing what is required. If not, just adjust your work out or your diet. As long as you are not eating unhealthily every day while trying to lose weight, your diet should not be a concern. Another good way to track your status is by using a Fitbit or writing everything down in a journal.

Maintain that goal once it is reached.

Times before when I would start working out after stopping for a while, I would not allow myself the six weeks to form the habit. It was because I gave up too early and continued to make excuses. Now, going to the gym with a partner like Orellana, I have a different mindset, and she allows me to take my time, and skip a set if I am tired or feeling weak. She thinks, “If you are feeling lazy, and someone’s like ‘we said we were going to go,’ but then you’re like I have to go. So. One, you keep yourself accountable, of course … but if you have another person, it is extra accountability. So, I think it gives you a greater chance of success.”

Once your goal is reached that does not mean you stop working out. I made that mistake and all that weight I lost caught back up to me. Even if you lessen the times that you work out a week or cut out pork or carbs in your diet, you are still maintaining that goal. Once I reach my goal, I am going to stop going to the gym and start doing yoga again. It does not have the same quick results as the gym, but it will allow me to maintain the 145 pounds. I still have a ways to go, but I’m getting my summer body back at a decent rate.