If you follow The Bikini Chef (that’s me) even just a little bit, you know I am constantly writing books, recipes, scripts for Bikini Lifestyles TV and radio, articles for publications, working on the website and a host of other tasks. Writing is a wonderful occupation, but as with any occupation, it comes with occupational hazards. One of the key occupational hazards to writing or to any type of desk job is the inevitable “Book Butt”. Book Butt is what I have named as the syndrome of an ever growing flat, expanding butt after long periods of sitting at work. Many people suffer from Book Butt. Not just writers. My mom was a travel agent for years and was pasted to her office chair for hours on end trying to find the best deals and flights for her clients. My sister is in the banking biz and works hours and hours on loans and documents my mind can’t fathom. I have many friends who have all kinds of desk jobs and strive to avoid having Book Butt. My latest writing project, The Complete Idiot’s Guide Quinoa Cookbook (coming July 3, 2012 from Penguin Publishing), took months to research, write, and edit which meant weeks and weeks of long hours thinking, writing, typing, thinking, typing, writing, writing, typing, and thinking all of which resulted in some serious Book Butt. Even The Bikini Chef is not immune to Book Butt.
If you’ve ever sat at your desk for more than a couple of hours, you are well aware of the symptoms of Book Butt… numb legs, taking a glance at your rounded yet somewhat flattened and expanding thighs, noticing way too much extra skin sagging over the chair as you pause to think of the next item on your list, a tingling numbness in your butt followed by a feeling of your butt slowly expanding like pancake batter and molding into the seat cushion. Book Butt symptoms are terrible and leave you feeling icky, sticky, and just plain disgusted which is not a good thing for many reasons.
Fortunately, as The Bikini Chef who focuses on an “everything in moderation healthy lifestyle”, my Book Butt was short lived. I determined that there had to be a better, healthier way, ironically, to write healthy recipes. I created a plan of action to incorporate movement into my daily writing schedule.
Physically, your body was made to move. Sitting for long periods is counter to what we were made for so it is no surprise our muscles shut down and get flabby, weak, and basically bored. If you are not using them, why should they do any work? As much as your physical well being suffers from long periods of sitting, your mental well being suffers, too. Remember that icky, stick, just plain disgusted feeling I mentioned earlier? Those feelings translate to your brain, too. Book Butt can cause you to feel down about yourself, less attractive, and often kind of hopeless… often feeling like having the bikini body you desire is out of reach. Without going into too much detail on the adverse effects of negative mental thinking, feeling down about your looks can compound Book Butt syndrome. Negative self image and doubt can lead to sugar cravings, grabbing for unhealthy snacks like chips, over-indulging in cookies, chocolate, and ice cream, for example, and over-eating starchy carbs like breads, mashed potatoes, and pastas. Sounds like we writers and desk-jobbers are doomed for a pretty unhealthy, despressed life but alas…. there is sunshine on the horizon.
Here are some of my top tips on How To Avoid Book Butt*:
1) Trade off sitting on your chair for an hour with sitting on a large pilates ball. Sitting on the ball requires you to use your core muscles for balance and develops strength in your legs and back.
2) Do stretches every hour and a half or so. Don’t sit too long without taking a tiny little break. You break to use the restroom, don’t you? Use that time to do some stretches, too, go for a 10 minute walk, do some calf raises on the stairs, run up and down the stairs twice, then walk up and down the stairs twice, and repeat… whatever it takes, move your body for 10 minutes.
3) Do simple excercises while sitting at your computer. Have a set of light weights beside you for when you are thinking of what to write next, your to-do list, or the memo you have to write. Use those weights to do a few bicep curls while you think. Push the weights back to work your triceps.
4) Stand up while you are thinking and do some leg lifts. Lift each leg up to the side to work the thighs, back to work the butt, do a couple of sets of squats for more toning and calorie burn.
5) Add some ab crunches to your 10 minute breaks. Crunch towards the middle 10 times, then towards the right side 10 times, then towards the left, 10 times. Repeat twice.
*As with any exercise, especially if you are new to exercise, consult a certified trainer or physician as to the specific types of workouts best for you and also, listen to your body. If you feel strain or pain during an exercise, stop doing it. Also, be aware of your form. Proper form during any exercise makes all the difference between an effective workout and a workout that results in injury. If you are not sure what type of exercise is best for you, consult a trained professional or a doctor.
No matter which exercise you choose, the ultimate key to avoiding Book Butt is to take at least a 10 minute break every 1 1/2 hours or so to move your body. Eating the right foods helps too, but when it comes to sitting at work for long periods of time, movement is essential. If you work 8 hours at your computer, taking these 10 minutes breaks equates to a 40 to 50 minute workout daily ending your work day with the last 10 minutes exercising. If you are more like me, the 8 hours turns into 14 hours which would be well over an hour of exercise each day. I don’t know about you, but I can certainly find a way to squeeze in a ten minute break several times a day. Especially if it means avoiding the dreaded Book Butt syndrome.
Enjoy a browse through the website, www.thebikinichef.com for healthy recipes and for serious Book Butt avoidance, join me in the #SOBikini Brazil Butt Lift Challenge… weekly recipes, workout buddies, and a fun workout that is challenging and motivating with lots of variety in the exercises set to upbeat Brazilian music. Interested? Join us here: You don’t have to become a Beachbody coach to join the workout! Believe me, it’s fun, #SOBikini and will lift your butt into shape!
Catch Susan Irby The Bikini Chef on Bikini Lifestyles “Wine Dine and Workout” on AM 790 KABC radio in Los Angeles Saturday nights, 7pm PT or stream LIVE online at http://www.kabc.com Visit: http://www.bikinilifestyles.com Check your local TV listings for Bikini Lifestyles “Wine Dine and Workout” on TV in your town!
Purchase books by Susan Irby The Bikini Chef:
The Complete Idiot’s Guide Quinoa Cookbook is now available on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Idiots-Guide-Quinoa-Cookbook/dp/1615641939/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337916843&sr=8-1
In stores: July 3rd, 2012
Other books by Susan Irby The Bikini Chef:
Substitute Yourself Skinny
Boost Your Metabolism
$7 Healthy Meals
$7 Quick and Easy Meals
$7 Pressure Cooker Meals
Cooking With Susan : Southern Family Favorites
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