Spring has almost sprung and summertime is just around the corner! This means the welcomed (and sometimes dreaded) arrival of bikini season. In order to make shedding those winter pounds less of a daunting task, we have compiled a variety of totally doable lifestyle tips that will help you work towards that coveted beach bod.
Bring On The Protein
The thermodynamic effect of food references how your body burns calories throughout the digestive process. Digesting protein requires the highest number of calories (20-30%) compared to carbohydrates (10%) and fat (2-3%). So, aside from cutting your actual calorie intake, consider consuming more calories from protein.
Break Up With Carbs
Although pasta is totally our BFF too, there’s a very convincing argument for simply cutting down on carbs: when your body does not have carbs to rely on for energy, it will start to burn fat instead! Yup, that’s fat burning made easy.
Ditch The Sodium in refined foods
Salt is your #1 worst enemy when it comes to bloating. It can cause you to look and feel puffy for up to a few days. Read the labels of processed foods so you can try to avoid items with high sodium continents (good sources of salt with high mineral content is another story, though, and will actually help you lose that water weight).
Tailor Your Workouts
Make your workout program more successful by starting with a baseline fitness test. Then, track your progress! The more your are keeping tabs on your fitness levels, the more inclined you will be to improve it. Maybe you measure things like the number of push ups you can do, how many seconds you can hold plank for, or how many squats you can do. Set a goal for each so you know what you are aiming for.
A simple way to slim down is to consume a majority of your calories before 3PM. People who eat heavier meals early in the day shed more pounds than those who consume a majority of their calories later in the day. That means don't skip breakfast! We suggest minimizing sugar and alcohol, both of which add empty calories to your diet.
Instead of fixating on what you can’t or shouldn’t eat, focus on something you can eat: vegetables! In addition to nourishing your body with vitamins and minerals, snacking on veggies will alleviate the cravings that would normally have you reaching for a less healthy alternative (ahem, carbs). No to mention, veggies contain few calories so you can eat them in abundance with no feelings of guilt. The same can be said for fruit. Watermelon is a great snack because it’s water laden and fills you up. But, do be wary of salads! Dressings, oils, croutons and cheese sneakily add a ton of unwanted calories.
Fitness Fridays/Skinny Sundays
Instead of celebrating the end of the week with Friday happy hour, grab your girls and hit a workout class instead! If Sunday boozy brunch is your weakness, cook a yummy pre-workout lunch with friends before taking to the trails for a hike.
Adding fiber to your bikini body army can help prevent constipation and bloating. Just note that certain high fiber foods like beans can make bloating worse at first.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Drinking water is an essential habit for every season. In addition to being an easy way to flush out toxins and increase your metabolism, staying hydrated also helps your skin glow, fills you up, and reduces the appearance of cellulite. And, despite what seems obvious, drinking more water does not make you more bloated! When you are not hydrated, your body retains water underneath the skin’s surface, giving you a puffy look. Thus, drinking water will actually help ward off unwanted bloating. Plus, staying hydrated allows your body to create a reserve of water below your muscles. This presses the muscles out, adding definition and making you look extra toned. Fun fact: drinking ice cold water will help you burn extra calories! This is a result of your body needing to warm up the water in order to use it effectively, a process which requires energy in the form calories. There is nothing else in the world that you can eat or drink that will actually burn calories rather than tack them on!
All in all, achieving that summer bod is a process that requires some diligence. Most importantly, your health should always come first. Meaning, don’t starve yourself, spend endless hours on the treadmill, or adopt unhealthy habits. Looking your best also comes with feeling your best so don’t do your body a disservice with radical diets and workouts. Just follow these healthy suggestions for a well rounded approach to getting your body ready for summer.
Photo: Margot Pandone