Summer is the perfect time for hitting the beach and taking road trips. But before you put the top down on your convertible and drive to your favorite summer beach destination, get a tune up, check that you have auto insurance and do everything possible to make your body bikini ready. Follow these simple tricks to lose weight, tone up and get ready for summer.
1. Eat smaller portions
Overhauling your entire diet takes hard work, time, dedication and possibly a miracle. But simply reducing your portions by 20 to 50 percent is much simpler. According to the Mayo Clinic, people’s perception of correct portions has been skewed by the large portion sizes given to them as children and at restaurants. Eat only half of restaurant entrees, and downsize your portions in general. For every 3,500 calories fewer you eat than normal, you lose one pound of fat — shaving off your love handles, and getting you one step closer to that sexy summer body.
2. Give up one high-calorie treat
The Mayo Clinic recommends skipping one high-calorie treat each day to lose weight. A coffee beverage may contain 400 calories or more. Your morning doughnut could have upwards of 200 calories. Having a handful of grapes or a healthy tea instead of your usual treat, lowers your calories without much effort.
3. Park farther away
Instead of parking right in front of your office or stores when you run errands, park a little ways away. Those extra steps can add up. You burn off one pound of fat for every 3,500 calories you use during exercise.
4. Take the stairs
Taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator is a sneaky way to get in some exercise without doing a full on high intensity workout. The extra steps count toward your 3,500 per pound goal. Also, taking the stairs is faster so it saves you time, according to a 2011 study conducted at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatchewan, Canada. Researchers found that it generally took 13 seconds to walk up one floor, but it took 37 seconds for an elevator to get you the same distance. On average, people may save 10 to 15 minutes per day using the stairs.
5. Drink more water
To assist with weight loss, drink water before each meal. A study presented at a 2010 meeting of the American Chemical Society stated that drinking two eight-ounce glasses of water before consuming breakfast, lunch and dinner helps you lose weight, if you also eat reasonable portions. Also, as weather starts to heat up for summer, your body needs more water to be healthy. Failing to drink enough water could result in dehydration, which may contribute to unattractive acne, blotchy skin and chapped lips.
6. Stand up straight
As simple as it may sound, standing up straight can have a dramatic effect on your posture. Standing up tall creates a long, lean look that makes your body look sexier. But it may be more difficult than you think. Sitting in front of a computer all day often causes your shoulders to slump forward, your lower back to round and your chin to jut forward — all of which make you look shorter and can cause further complications like headaches from the increased tension and postural deficiencies.
Ideally, you should sit and stand with your head centered over your shoulders, your shoulders pulled back, your abdominal muscles pulled in, and your spine in a neutral position. A neutral spine means that your spine creates an “S” shape with your upper back curved slightly outwards and your lower back curved slightly inwards. If this is hard for you, work with a personal trainer to fix any muscle imbalances that could be the cause of your difficulties.
7. Do muscle-strengthening activities twice a week
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two days per week of muscle-strengthening activities. But that does not mean you have to join a gym and pump iron. Weeding, shoveling and other gardening activities help tone and strengthen your muscles. A short Pilates or yoga DVD workout can also help get you beach ready without a lot of effort.
Muscle Strengthening Workout
8. Walk this way
Walking is a gentle, low-impact way to burn calories. Instead of struggling to fit more walking time into your busy schedule, simply change the way you walk. Swinging your arms and legs in sync on the same side, instead of swinging your right arm forward as you step your right leg back, burns 26 percent more calories. Trail walking on an uneven surface burns 82 percent more calories than walking on pavement or a track, according to “Fitness” magazine article published in January 2010.
9. Use a skin-darkening lotion
Pasty skin is not right for a sexy beach body. Show up with a natural-looking tan by using a skin-darkening lotion. Simply apply the lotion to your body once a day for at least a week before the summer season and your skin will be bronzed, sans tan lines. No lying out in the cold or paying for a tanning membership necessary.
Not getting enough sleep causes dark under eye circles and tired looking skin. Your skin is your largest organ. If your body isn’t well rested, it cannot function well and all of your body systems suffer. It isn’t called beauty sleep for nothing. If you are having difficulty sleeping, try turning on some fans or the AC before you go to bed. Your body has to cool down before it can fall asleep, which may be difficult with increasingly temperatures. Stop drinking liquids two to three hours before bed to prevent waking up to urinate. Cool down by taking a semi-cold shower instead of reaching for cold glass of soda.
By making these 10 simple changes, you can get your body ready for summer quickly and easily. Try starting with even two or three. As you feel ready, add more changes. This slow approach is more likely to work and won’t stress your out.
Author Bio: Natalia is a freelance writer who loves the ocean and online car insurance. Before each road trip to the beach she always makes sure that she has comprehensive auto insurance.