by Amy Shapiro
With bathing suit season around the corner images of dressing rooms, fluorescent lighting and itty-bitty bikinis come to mind. For most of us, there isn’t anything more dreadful. But no matter how you spin it, every year after a long, cold winter spent bundled up in sweaters and long pants comes spring…time to face the truth. No you can’t wear sweatpants to the beach! So how do you shed those extra pounds (thank you mac & cheese, juicy burgers and soothing cups of hot chocolate) along with those layers of clothing? It’s not as hard as it seems.
As a columnist for www.SkinnyintheCity.com–the ultimate online destination for the best health and nutrition news and trends…with a stylish twist—I have the 411 on how to get in bikini ready shape…NOW! You may already know that it’s important to up your intake of fruits and veggies and that lean proteins and low-fat dairy products will help you to stay full on the fewest calories. But, are you stuck on what else you can do to slim down without compromising your lifestyle? Luckily, this plan doesn’t include drinking watery concoctions until you’re ready to float away. Nope, these are realistic health and diet tips you can start applying TODAY. And get this, even if you only implement a few (although incorporating them all into your life will get you the best results), you’ll still be well on your way to strutting your stuff on the beach, snowsuit not required!
Hit up the H20: You’ve heard it before and I’ll say it again; staying hydrated is key in losing unwanted pounds! Recent research shows that even being just 1% dehydrated can slow down your metabolism! We often confuse hunger with thirst so the next time you feel like a snack, drink an 8 oz. glass of water (or bigger), wait 10 minutes and then reevaluate.
Fill up on Fiber: In a recent study women who consumed more high fiber foods gained less weight over a 12 year period of time. High fiber foods are low in calories, keep you full, require more chewing time and stabilize your blood sugar, all important aspects of weight loss. So ditch the white flour, rice and potatoes, which convert quickly to sugar in the body (Note: all sugar that isn’t burned gets stored as fat) and dig into whole grain breads, brown rice and sweet potatoes, instead!
Skip the Salt: Salt causes all types of disease and too much can cause bloating, puffy eyes and swollen ankles. Who needs that when you’re trying to look good in a bikini? When dining out, don’t add salt to your food (they do that for you in the kitchen) and when dining in, use low sodium products and ban the saltshaker from the table.
Cut the Constant Craving: Ideally you should never go longer than 4 hours between meals to keep your metabolism running and hunger at bay (both key ingredients in weight loss). Aim for three meals and one to two snacks daily. This way, you won’t be hungry and will lessen the chance of a binge
Quit the Clean Plate Club: Next time you eat out, leave over half of your meal (easier said than done, I know). Restaurant portions are usually 6 times larger than they should be, so pack it up and enjoy it again later
Dial up the Natural Diuretics: The week before your first trip to the beach start adding in foods such as asparagus, cucumbers, celery and dandelion tea. They’ll help nourish your body while flushing out excess water!
RD to the Rescue: If you really want to do this the right way (read, no crash diets, self-starvation or deprivation), look into hiring a Registered Dietitian (RD). RDs have extensive training on how the foods you eat affect your overall health and appearance. So let them teach you how to drop a few while increasing your energy levels and self esteem! Visit www.skinnyinthecity.com, click on “find and RD” and presto, you’ll be provided with a list of professionals right in your zip code!
Help yourself to a hearty serving of these tips and you’ll be looking and feeling good in no time! Did someone say beach party?
Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietician/nutritionist and exercise enthusiast who believes that both nutrition and physical activity play integral roles in reaching optimal health. She received her registered dietitian license and Masters in Clinical Nutrition from New York University in NYC, where she lives with her husband and young son. She is also a writer for SkinnyintheCity.com, a daily newsletter and online community that combines the best of diet and nutrition information with the latest fashion and beauty news. Amy is an avid foodie who enjoys dining out, reading, traveling, chocolate, and wine.