If you're anything like me, you're surprised year after year at how quickly bikini season sneaks up on you. It's always difficult for me to think about getting ready for the summer while I'm bundled up in my February clothes. So, of course, it's about 75 degrees outside in the middle of April before I start to realize how close the summer is. While it's true that a consistent diet and workout routine will give you better results, I've found some pretty useful last-minute tricks for tightening up just in time for beach season...
- Wherever possible, avoid bread. This is an especially challenging task for me, because I love bread & grains in any form imaginable. But the sad truth is that bread is high in carbohydrates and doesn't really provide any nutritional benefits. Our bodies actually have to work pretty hard to break it down. But that doesn't mean you need to live off of salads all spring, either. You can still order a chicken sandwich, but ask for it without the bun. For breakfast, opt for some scrambled eggs over a bagel. Once you get into the habit, you'll notice it's easier than you thought to avoid bread in your everyday diet, with pretty minimal changes.
- Find a fun workout. I hate working out. I would rather put myself on the world's most extreme & miserable diet than have to work out regularly. But I also know how important it is to maintain some semblance of a workout routine, so my trick is to find a way to stay active that doesn't actually feel like a workout. Join a soccer or volleyball team a few nights a week, or play on a trampoline. For the days I need to work out inside, I bought some dance videos. It's more fun to learn how to dance than to do a bunch of squats, and you'll still burn all the right calories (while also learning some rhythm, to boot!)
- Drink more water. Whenever I complained as a child about being hungry before dinner, my mom told me to drink a glass of water. Turns out mom was right - drinking a full glass of water before a meal will help keep you from overeating and keep you in check. And trust me, if you think you're getting enough water, you're probably wrong. You can always drink more water; the majority of Americans are dehydrated and don't even know it.
- Choose the right snacks. We all know that 2:30 feeling. Whether it be boredom, or the crash off the end of a not-so-healthy lunch, it's easy to reach for the chips as an afternoon snack. There are a slew of other snacks to choose from that provide more than empty calories and a roadblock to that beach body. Sometimes your afternoon craving seems more intense than it is, and a just couple grapes will hit the spot. Veggies, like baby carrots or cucumber slices, are good to have on hand as well. I also love to have a snack baggie of almonds around my work desk - in addition to meeting my salty cravings, they also have a bunch of health benefits you can feel good about!
And most importantly, ignore the number on your bathroom scale. In fact, I don't even own a scale. That's because the number doesn't mean anything to me. What's important is how I feel about myself and how I look in the mirror. Getting fit is a mental process as well - it's not about beating yourself up. So focus on feeling confident in your own skin. Allow yourself to be proud of your progress, no matter how small the victories!
Thanks for reading, and happy spring cleaning :)