An Ode to My "Summer Body"
As a long, luxurious July 4th weekend comes to a close, I am excited to unveil my summer body. She looks a lot like my fall, winter and spring body but a touch brighter and lighter. This summer shift does not occur via the numbers on the scale but it is plainly evident in how she feels and how she moves. She’s, well...living. Her toes, painted a deep cherry red have dipped into both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean and will splash in the Mediterranean Sea before the season comes to a close. Her feet have been buried in sand, tickled by wet grass, and slipped into sexy high heels designed beautifully, if not functionally, for dancing til dawn. Her legs have tread water in a still-too-cold pool, hiked the desert mountains of Arizona and jogged on hot city streets. Her belly has laughed - heartily - and her hands have picked wildflowers and gathered seashells and slathered on sunscreen - toxin-free of course - all while enjoying the heat of the sun on her subtly bronzed skin. Her mouth has enjoyed the juiciest, drippiest nectarines from the Venice Farmers Market, cherry tomatoes picked from her mother’s backyard, glistening yellow corn charred from the grill, fresh mint gelato heaped into a cone, and at least a dozen varieties of wine (Rosé & Vinho Verde & Cava oh my!).
This is the summer body I know and love. A body that is allowed to play like a child and soak up the joy in life. A body that is encouraged to be much more physically active - enlivened by the summer sun - but also given permission to rest amply (post-beach naps and sunbathing siestas are highly encouraged!). A body that celebrates with family & friends, travels and tastes different regions and cultures, and counts experiences - not calories.
As Sakaralites, we know that not all calories are created equal and that counting calories, well… that’s just a waste of our precious energy: energy that we need to enjoy this stimulating season that lasts just the blink of an eye. Recently, science has come to support this belief and debunk the myth that counting calories is necessary for maintaining good health and a stable body weight. Dr. Mark Hyman, sums it up eloquently: "Some calories are addictive, others healing, some fattening, some metabolism-boosting. That’s because food doesn’t just contain calories, it contains information. Every bite of food you eat broadcasts a set of coded instructions to your body—instructions that can create either health or disease."
This is why we fill our bodies with the really good stuff - the nutrient dense, fiber-rich, hydrating, life-affirming good stuff *most* of the time. Our microbiome thanks us for every green salad we consume and rewards us with healthy digestion & a steady metabolism; steadier energy, clearer skin and less illness. We limit the processed crap - not because of what numbers it says on the back of the bag, but because it comes in a bag to begin with. Intuitively, we know that this is not the food that will make us feel spectacular and fuel us for our warm weather escapades. No one looks good in a bikini when she’s too sluggish to make the 6AM Jitney in the first place.
Summer is a perfect time to focus on all the beautiful foods that flourish during this season. To fill our bodies with watermelon, so juicy it’s more like a drink than a snack. To run, rather than walk to the nearest Farmers Market and fill up our canvas totes. Scrub the dirt off that big, knobby multi-hued heirloom tomato that’s just been unearthed. Slice it, drizzle it with olive oil, blanket it with slabs of fresh basil and a crank’s worth of chunky Pink Himalayan Sea Salt. Squeeze a lime over some slices of avocado while you’re at it and call it lunch...Now you’re getting the hang of this.
And when you’re walking on the boardwalk after a long day of beaching go ahead and get that swirl of soft serve and dip it in chocolate sauce or sprinkles or whatever makes you feel like you’re 6 again. And instead of wondering, “how many calories are in this?” you’ll simply add it to your feel-good bank of summer memories along with that stunning but sweaty hike and that impromptu sunset boat ride. You build a body you love by loving the body you have. You build a body that is a joy to live in by living a life filled with joy. So live it up Sakaralites! Your summer body called... it has been waiting for you.