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Being Thankful For Your Body

What's in store for wellness, right now

Article by Ashley Alt

Photography by Beth Funari Sims

Originally published in Greenwich Lifestyle

Beth Funari Sims, National Academy Sports Medicine (NASM) certified personal trainer and founder of online wellness hub, Miss Modern Wellness, shows us that taking care of ourselves doesn't have to be hard and that working out is a privilege, not a burden.

With specialties in prenatal and postpartum exercise, fitness nutrition, behavior change, and corrective exercise, Beth's studies in Sports Medicine and Journalism, coupled with her lifelong appreciation for health, led her to where she is today — helping women and men achieve their wellness goals as attainably as possible.

While she works a lot with pregnant women and postpartum moms, her client roster also includes people training for triathlons, those looking to shape up for an upcoming event, as well as those wanting to make lifestyle changes that will actually last.

"That's what I hang my hat on," Beth tells me. "Helping people feel good in their own skin and feeling confident in their bodies in a way that's achievable and sustainable— not by a fad diet."

Currently, Beth works with clients all over the country, helping them with individualized meal plans, fitness routines, and more. If in-person isn't an option, "Zoom gets the job done just fine," she says.

Speaking on behalf of the relationship she holds with her clientele (most of whom are lifelong clients at this point), Beth states that if it's "anything health-related, I am their friend and their therapist."

We talked about where the wellness world is going, how we can feel good about our bodies every day, and her expert advice on everything from preventing holiday weight gain to choosing the workout that's right for you.

Talking Wellness

With so much overwhelm in the health and wellness space today, especially on social media, it can be really difficult to know who to trust when it comes to taking care of our minds and bodies. Whether you're a seasoned wellness fanatic or someone just getting into the swing of things on the health front, Beth has the advice — and the credentials — that make her well worth your time and money, no matter what your current health needs are.

To that end, Beth states that "a person should have credentials" when it comes to doling out nutrition and fitness tips, giving the age-old example that "just because it worked for your friend doesn't mean it's going to work for you."

One of her fitness tips that can be applicable to anyone is to find the workout that is right for you, meaning one that makes you feel empowered, capable, and strong.

"Do the cardio you like, not something you dread," she advises. Whether it's dance cardio, getting on the peloton, or simply walking, cardio is an excellent introduction as you take on your wellness journey."

While cardio is definitely beneficial for the body and mind on so many levels (decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety, boosting mood, contributing to healthy body weight and heart health), Beth emphasizes the importance of not ignoring other muscle groups.

"I think everyone should be doing some sort of resistance training, whether it's weights or bands," she states. "That’s what’s going to change your body if you're looking for results — the outcome will be lean, tone muscles."

The fitness expert also wants people who are seasoned in the world of wellness to remember that form is everything. "One thing that really enhances everyone’s results is making sure your form is perfect," she says. "That’s something that can make all of the difference."

Fitness Should Be Fun

When asked where she thinks the fitness world is headed, Beth has already noticed a sizable shift leaning toward a hybrid model (going to workout classes and doing at-home workouts).

"When there's a mix of modalities, they don’t get bored this way," she says. "People are learning to listen to their bodies more, and are actually acting on it."

If it is weight loss you're after, Beth encourages her clients first and foremost to not feel shame around that. There is a lot of heightened sensitivity around body image right now, so adding guilt to that is unnecessary.

That said, Beth made it clear that wanting to lose weight is not a bad thing, but sacrificing your quality of life (obsessing over food, for example) is never okay. "It is absolutely okay to change your lifestyle if you want to feel lighter and better, so long as you're doing it in a healthy way," she stated, adding that "while everyone's body is different and completely individualized, at the end of the day, it's caloric intake that accounts for weight loss or gain."

Another common topic (or complaint, rather), especially from women, is bloating. Everyone wants to know how to prevent it, how to get rid of it, and how to stop it in its tracks altogether. 

Wanting to get to the bottom of bloat issues, Beth rattled off sound advice that anyone can adhere to. Whether you're someone who battles constant bloat or you want to have that extra slice of pizza without that food-baby feeling, listen up.

"Bloating is very individual," Beth says. "Everything from stress to eating too quickly (which results in gulping air) to consuming packaged foods that have fake added sugars may cause you to bloat. Even cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are culprits to bloating, so if love them, eat them slowly and perhaps sparingly."

It isn't only what we eat or don't eat, though. Our gut and our brain are interconnected, so feelings of stress and anxiety can cause bloating to occur as well, as can alcohol.

"Especially carbonated alcohol," Beth adds. "When you're drinking alcohol, you are essentially dehydrating your body, which is why drinking water is so important."

As with anything, she says, "Talk to your doctor about solutions. If you pay close attention to your triggers, you will be amazed at how quickly you can change the outcome."

Wellness Advice To Boot

Here, Beth closes out our conversation with insight into what makes for a happy and healthy mind and body, no matter where you are in your wellness journey.

Favorite at-home workout anyone can do? "If you just have your body to work with (no equipment), I love tricep pushups and squats. If your knees are healthy, you can do jump squats, mountain climbers, run in place, and variations of planks."

Easy dinner ideas for the winter months? "Anything with sweet potatoes is great. Bake them, throw them in your air fryer, or even in the microwave. You can make them Mexican style with avocado and black beans or add them to salads to make them heartier."

Tips for preventing holiday weight gain? "When you’re going into the holiday season with more parties and events happening, understand you don’t have to say 'yes' to everything. Make smart choices for the indulgences you really enjoy and don’t be too hard on yourself. If you overdo it, move on. On the fitness side, it doesn’t matter what time of day you work out, so long as you get it done. For example, schedule your workout early in the day if you know you get tired later. Put your yoga mat, weights, and tennis shoes by your bed so it's the first thing you see when you wake up. Do everything you can to set yourself up for success."

How can we feel good about our bodies as we close out the year? "Make every effort to go for a quick walk — even if it's cold outside, it does wonders to boost your mood and give you energy. It's also important to note that in the winter, most of us are low on vitamin D, so getting your levels checked by your doctor is a good idea."

Final words of advice? "Don’t wait until January 1st to start taking care of yourself. You’ll feel like the mountain is so much steeper if you wait to implement healthy habits. You can start today."

You can find Beth on IG @missmodernwellness Her DMs are always open.