beach_body_jay_yao_1.jpgSummertime means smoldering hot beach weather and the perfect opportunity to showcase and flaunt the body you’ve been working hard to tone. Staying in shape during this particular season so you can fit into that itsy bitsy bikini is a must on many women’s lists.

So you’ve obediently followed and completed the crash diet you skillfully designed yourself, shed those extra pounds, and have dubbed yourself your own personal Biggest Loser hero. Congratulations, what an achievement! You ought to give yourself a pat on the back for the discipline and hard work it took for you to get to where you are now.  

But as summer moves definitely toward the rainy months and this natural high quickly becomes a memory, it becomes convenient to get trapped indoors and munch on junk food at home. Sadly, for all the hard work you put into getting your body bikini-ready, it’s almost absurdly easy to put the weight back on.

This is not a eulogy to your “Bora Body,” that is to say, the best figure or physical state you’ve been in, in which you feel confident, healthy, alive, and comfortable--basically, the body you love and want to keep. FN understands the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to fight the Battle of Bulge, and we want to help you make sure you keep that summer-toned body trim, even when the upcoming rainy weather makes trips to the beach nothing but a hazy memory.

Check out these simple suggestions on how to stay in your best form year-round:


Look at the behavior or habits that helped you get into your best form. What specific activities (along with the timing, intensity and frequency) did you do that were easy to incorporate into your daily routine? Did you pack your own nutritious, home-cooked lunch to school or work instead of resorting to greasy fast food meals? Did you find yourself doing your one-hour workout after office hours rather than in the morning or over lunch break? Remember what worked well and continue to do them even after the summer.


Thou shalt not deny thy cravings, especially in the beginning. You’ll only end up depriving yourself and prompt your body for some major withdrawal and bingeing. It helps to wean yourself slowly from your waterloo of unhealthy junk and comfort food and then eventually replace them with healthier yet equally filling and satisfying choices: trading a tart and sweet cup of frozen yogurt for X number of donuts or a serving of fresh fruits for slices of cake. Stick to your substitutes all year round.


The simple math behind weight management confirms that if you want to maintain your weight, the number of calories you take in should equal the number of calories you burn. Adding to this equation more exercise will help you lose more disposable weight and will tone and shape your body.


You need to keep active, even if the only things you can manage during the wet months are walking up a flight of stairs rather than taking the elevator or doing chores like washing the car, gardening, or picking up after the kids. With just these, you’re already killing two birds with one stone: doing what you need to and burning calories while you’re at it! Of course, emphasis is still given to proper and regular exercise (an hour a day or every other day). More and more physicians are walking their talk as they prescribe exercise as the best form of illness prevention; this way, you keep your body's cells healthy and disease-free (obesity included).

beach_body_jay_yao_2.jpgADD VARIETY TO YOUR EXERCISE

Acknowledge, anticipate, and plan for moments of sloth, boredom, and de-motivation. When you feel these setting in and your discipline slips because, after all, summer’s over with and you have a full year to prepare for the next beach season, mix up and switch your exercise routine to shake it off. Explore alternatives outside of your village or gym’s facilities or club/village’s sports complex. Try out a new sport that doesn’t confine you to a small space or that allows you to socialize with new people, such as Ultimate Frisbee, mountain trekking, kite-flying, Gotcha!, even squash.


Set small, doable goals all throughout the year that serve as your fitness and Bora Body checkpoints: look and feel good in a new dress for you upcoming birthday, your high school reunion, or even as forward-looking as the Christmas holidays. Is there a mountain climbing vacation you and your friends are planning for which you want to be physically confident enough to trek? Face it: by keeping those extra pounds off, you’re saving yourself from an up-and-down cycle of weight gain and loss. The next thing you know, next summer will have arrived, and you’re even fitter and more fabulous than ever.


Acknowledge your successful arrival at each of these checkpoints by rewarding yourself—ideally, of course, not in the form of food rewards, but by treating yourself to small accessories, an appointment at the spa or salon, maybe a new pocket book, magazine, or gadget.


This is always easier said than done. Since we know the occasional slip-up is inevitable, here are some ways to stay committed to your vow of overall health:

Journalize. Writing down your daily nutritional and caloric intake and workout plan along with your feelings and thoughts may be a bit too obsessive, and this may not be convenient for everyone, but it’s a tried and tested tool to monitor your eating and exercise habits, uncover major fluctuations, and outline adjustments to be made.

Count and Celebrate the Benefits. List down all the perks of keeping your Bora Body – how did your mind, body, and spirit feel when you were in your best form?

Buddy up. Seek the support of your girlfriend, significant other, sibling or kids to help keep you on track.

There will always be challenges and temptations: annual and cyclical challenges are busy and stressful periods such as exam week in school or budget and annual planning season at work. Extreme weather can present similar tests: too hot during the summer, too wet during the rainy days, too cold come December and January. These become convenient excuses to make exceptions to forgo eating and exercising right. Make sure you’re on the lookout for tragic loopholes that cause fitness setbacks. Stay vigilant in your resolve, and even after your summer tan fades away, you’ll be able to maintain that same fit and healthy glow.

(Photos by Jay Yao)
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