With summer just around the corner, it’s time to start planning for your vacation—and for many, that means getting that winter body in summer shape. More often than not, our desire to lose weight and tone up before an upcoming vacation becomes a last-minute sprint. But if you start now, you'll increase your odds of success. Here are a few simple tips for converting to a healthier lifestyle.
Drink water: Have a water “appetizer” before each meal. This will fill you up, so you won’t go back for seconds. As an added bonus, staying hydrated will also do wonders for your skin and hair. Keep a water bottle with you at all times—work, class, the gym, the grocery store, etc. It’s also a good idea to invest in a reusable water bottle, so you don’t have to keep buying cases of plastic ones. It’s better for the environment, and cheaper for you!
Catch some ZZZ’s: Getting enough sleep will boost your productivity. Sleeping for only a few hours, on the other hand, can sabotage your best intentions for the day. Making it to your 8am class, early morning shift, or the gym will be a struggle. Also, when we don’t sleep enough, our cortisol levels rise. Cortisol is the stress hormone that is often associated with weight gain.
Bulk up your breakfast. Your biggest meal should be your breakfast. A hearty meal in the morning will give you energy to tackle the rest of your day. Instead of eating a big dinner or snacking before bedtime, try to consume the majority of your daily calories before 3pm. This will give you time to burn off those calories throughout the active hours of the day.
Mix up your workouts. Try out different group fitness classes at the gym like spinning, Zumba®, or high intensity interval workouts. Who knows? You might discover something you love. Bring a friend along; having a partner to try new things with will keep you motivated. If you're planning to Zumba your way to a summer body, be sure to really push your limits in class. Exaggerating all your movements and putting in your best effort will help you reach your goals.
Kickstart your exercise. Have your cup of coffee before you work out. The more tired you are, the harder exercise will be. Coffee can boost your endurance, so you can burn more calories and maximize your workout. That extra shot of espresso will push you through your last set of burpees.
Brown-bag it. Bring your lunch to work. Eating out doesn’t always provide the healthiest options. Also, restaurants tend to give over-sized portions. Take away the temptation to eat greasy fast food at lunchtime by bringing your own lunch and snacks. Make sure your lunch is filled with protein, fruits, and veggies to keep you full throughout the day.
Make small sacrifices. It’s okay to have a cheat day once in a while—you’re human. However, it is important to make healthy choices whenever you can. Hold off on supersizing your meals. Choose a side salad instead of fries. Substitute avocado for cheese on your burger. Skip the pre-dinner bread or tortilla chips at restaurants. These small sacrifices can add up and help you reach your fitness goals.
Get some extra help from a plastic surgeon. We all have our trouble spots, some of which don't budge even with diet and exercise. According to Scottsdale plastic surgeon Dr. Josh Olson, liposuction and tummy tuck are popular options for people who are in good shape, but need a little boost to achieve their body goals. These procedures require some recovery time, so you should plan accordingly to be ready for summer.
Indulge wisely. Don’t ruin your diet by drinking your calories. Margaritas and other sugary drinks are not only unhealthy but will give you a gnarly hangover. Try a shot of vodka with a splash of soda and a squeeze of citrus. This is a low-calorie, low sugar, and refreshing substitute for your go-to drink. Make sure to have a glass of water in between drinks as well. This will slow you down, keep you hydrated, and save you a few bucks.
Faux-tan. Everyone looks better sun-kissed. It can help you look slimmer and camouflage any cellulite or skin imperfections. Tan skin also accentuates muscle definition making you look more toned. However, harsh UV rays can cause premature aging and even cancer. A salon spray tan or a do-it-yourself kit can be a great alternative to laying in the sun or a tanning bed.
Many of the diets you read about online are unrealistic, and incredibly bad for you. Crash dieting and working out 3 hours a day is not the ticket to looking and feeling your best. Instead, making healthy lifestyle changes will help you gradually reach your fitness goals. Good things take time—luckily, if you start now, achieving your bikini body for Memorial Day weekend will be a breeze.
This article was sponsored by Dr. Josh Olson and the Advanced Plastic Surgery Institute of Gilbert, AZ. To learn more about Dr. OIson's services, please visit his website today.
Karen Serino is a life and style blogger, sharing fashion, fitness and fun for youthful women in their forties, fifties and beyond.
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Click the picture below to see my interview with the lovely Jonet Wooten from Fabulously Chic Over 50