Breaking up is hard to do. While many women find comfort in the arms of the always reliable Ben and Jerry—hello, Chocolate Therapy!—other women use their new found freedom to get in shape. Just take a look at Jennie Garth who recently made headlines when she debuted her post-split slimmed down figure, and who could forget how amazing Reese Witherspoon looked after her divorce!
It turns out that it’s not just celebrities who bounce back from heartbreak with a hot body. Long Island, NY, dietician and personal trainer Debi Silber, says that many women have the desire to get in shape after a breakup, but for a variety of reasons. “Some want to get physically stronger so they can be mentally stronger in order to navigate through divorce and be better able to handle what’s ahead,” says Silber. “Others have wanted to improve their body and image in order to get back in the dating scene.”
But according to fitness and diet experts, it’s important you make this change for yourself rather than as a form of revenge. “I feel that a sense of revenge gets the best of them and they feel that they want to show their ex just how great they can look, primarily to make the ex realize they made a mistake,” says New York City personal trainer, nutritionist and founder of the Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp Ariane Hundt. “However, that motivation is very short-lived. Unless it is replaced by the desire to change for themselves, it won’t last.”
Even though it’s extremely tempting to find comfort in junk food, Silber says to avoid sugar and carbs, as they lead to weight gain and can affect your mood. Woodland Hills, CA, nutritionist Monika Klein agrees, adding, “Sweets, alcohol, and junk food will only prolong the agony and make a person feel even more miserable than they may have already be feeling. These types of foods, although comforting and tasty initially, are really not going to make a person feel good if they continue eating them.” In addition to weight gain, sugar can also lead to breakouts.
To lose fat fast, Hundt says to eat a small meal every 3 hours that includes a lean protein such as fish, turkey, chicken, eggs or Greek yogurt. Protein will help keep you full, prevent hunger and can signal your body to burn fat. In addition to protein, each meal should include loads of vegetables, which provide you with the nutrients you need for more energy, glowing skin and a flatter stomach.
Klein says women look to lose anywhere from ten to 50 pounds after a breakup. While what you eat plays a big role in weight loss, exercise is also key to achieving your goal. “A workout should be challenging,” says Silber. “You should be sweating and if so, you’ll see and feel results. It’s also one of the best ways to de-stress so figure out the type of workouts that motivate you and get going.”
Go for quality, not quantity, when it comes to exercise, says Hundt. You’ll get better results when your cardio is short and intense than when it’s long and drawn out. So rather than jogging at a steady pace on the treadmill for 45 minutes, alternate between sprints and recoveries for 30 minutes instead. It’s also a good idea to add strength training into the mix to create definition and look leaner. To get the best results, it’s also important to stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep (at least seven to nine hours).
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