10 Slimming Tips to Get You Ready for Summer

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You probably heard that “summer bodies are made in the winter,” referring to the fact that a healthy, fit body is sculpted all year long, not just when it’s time to head to the beach. And that’s true.

But you know what else is true? It’s never too late to adopt healthier habits — and there’s still plenty of time to shape up for summer. While we’re not going to tell you how to lose 30 pounds in two weeks (that’s just unhealthy), we will offer some simple ways to drop a few pounds and tone up before the Fourth of July. And none of them involve starving yourself or living at the gym.

1

Limit Foods That Cause Bloating

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You already know that salty snacks like chips and fries can cause bloating. But, sadly, there are still some good-for-you foods that can cause bloating: cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower) and foods high in FODMAPs (like apples) — a group of carbohydrates that can be difficult to digest. That doesn’t mean you should avoid these foods altogether, though. They’re nutrient-dense, high-fiber foods that should be part of any healthy diet — just skip them on beach days.

Read more: The 10 Worst Foods for Bloating

2

Split Up Your Workouts

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Instead of exercising for, say, 90 minutes in the morning, split up your workout into strategic 45-minute halves. Joel Martin, Ph.D., assistant professor of sports medicine and kinesiology at George Mason University, suggests a cardio-based interval workout in the morning, followed by strength training in the evening.

High-intensity intervals keep your heart rate up hours after the workout, and strength-training builds muscle that boosts your calorie burn even when you’re resting,” Dr. Martin says. Why cardio first, strength second? “Resistance training requires more attention from your nervous system, so it’s better to do it when you’re more awake,” he says.

3

Constantly Challenge Your Muscles

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This is not the time to stay stuck in your workout rut. “Mix up your routine so your body is constantly adapting to different workouts,” kinesiology professor Dr. Martin says. “The body adapts best when training is manipulated either by altering sets, reps, weight or types of movement.”

Your plan: Do a full-body strength workout a few days apart three or four times a week, mixing it up each time. So maybe your first full-body workout focuses on heavy weights, your second focuses on lighter weights at higher reps and your third and fourth features exercises you’ve never tried before. And be sure to still incorporate cardio and HIIT into your training (see No. 2).

4

Don’t Cut Too Many Calories

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We know you’re trying to lose weight fast. But you don’t want to lose just any weight — you want to lose fat. And to lose fat, not muscle, you need to make sure you’re eating enough. “If you have a caloric deficit higher than 500 calories, you’re going to lose muscle mass,” Dr. Martin says.

So between exercising more and eating less, make sure to keep your overall deficit between 200 and 400 calories to burn fat instead of muscle. If you’re not sure how many calories you should be consuming each day, try a calorie-tracking app like LIVESTRONG.COM’s MyPlate.

Read more: The Magic Number of Meals a Day You Need to Lose Weight

5

Exercise on the Spot

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There’s a reason fitness models do push-ups and crunches right before a shoot. “Working out increases blood flow to the muscles so they look larger and more toned,” Dr. Martin says. The effects won’t last very long — Dr. Martin says 15 minutes, tops — but we won’t judge you for logging a set or two just before the selfies start. Besides, who doesn’t love a good beach workout? You can try these beach exercises to upgrade your workout.

6

Load Up on Fiber

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First off, fiber-filled fruits like raspberries and strawberries are very low in calories (one cup of raspberries has 65 calories, and a cup of strawberries has 49). This alone makes berries a solid snack for those trying to lose weight.

But fiber offers another important weight-loss benefit: It keeps you full. In fact, a 2014 study from Nature Communications shows that the digestion of fiber may release an appetite-suppressing molecule called acetate, helping to keep hunger at bay. Aim for 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day.

Read more: 10 Surprising Flat-Belly Foods

7

Drink Lots of Water

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Drinking water isn’t just crucial to survival, it’s also an important part of your weight-loss plan. According to a 2015 Obesity study, people who drank 500 milliliters of water 30 minutes before each meal lost almost three pounds more over a 12-week period than to those who didn’t.

It might sound too simple to be true, but water can help you feel full, reducing how much you eat during each meal. Plus, it’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger, so before reaching for a snack, ask yourself if you’re really wanting food because you might just be dehydrated. Still unsure? Here’s how to determine how much water you should drink.

8

Adopt a Short-Term Keto Diet

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Otherwise known as a high-fat, low-carb diet that trains your body to use ketones for fuel instead of sugar, the keto diet can be a quick way to tone up. “The keto diet works for weight loss, and it works quickly,” says Taylor Wallace, Ph.D., professor of nutrition and food studies at George Mason University. In fact, it’s possible to lose up to 12 pounds in a month on the diet.

Exactly how many pounds you drop depends on how much weight you have to spare in the first place, but you may see some body benefits even if the scale doesn’t budge. Since the diet fundamentally changes the way your body accesses fuel — forcing it to burn fat instead of sugar — many people say they look leaner on the diet. Dr. Wallace suggests trying the keto diet for two months for the best results. Thankfully, barbecue is allowed!

9

Try Intermittent Fasting

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Intermittent fasting (IF) has been getting a lot of attention lately. People say that intermittent fasting has helped them lose weight, boost energy and improve overall body composition. The theory is that taking a break from eating forces your body to dip into its fat stores for energy and, ideally, puts you in a calorie deficit. Just be sure you don’t eat everything in sight as soon as your fast is over!

Indeed, a 2017 Cell Research study found that six weeks of intermittent fasting (eating for two days, fasting for one) reduced body fat in mice. There are a few ways to fast, but one of the more popular methods is to limit all of your eating to an eight-hour window, meaning you’re fasting for the remaining 16 hours (you’re sleeping for seven to nine of those hours anyway).

Read more: Could Intermittent Fasting Solve Your Weight-Loss Plateau?

10

Don’t Sacrifice Sleep

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We know you’re waking up early to get in your cardio (see No. 2), but make sure you’re still logging seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Several studies have linked sleep deprivation to a larger waistline, likely due to an increase in hunger hormones.

And how many times have you grabbed a doughnut for an energy boost when you were exhausted? You’re not alone: UC Berkeley researchers found that people were more likely to crave junk food (like pizza and doughnuts) over fruits and vegetables when they were tired. Time to hit the hay!

What Do YOU Think?

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Are you excited for summer? What are your plans for the warmer months? Do you plan on slimming down? What’s your current action plan? Did any of these tips help guide you? Are there any others you’d add? Share your thoughts, suggestions and questions in the comments below!

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Overview

You probably heard that “summer bodies are made in the winter,” referring to the fact that a healthy, fit body is sculpted all year long, not just when it’s time to head to the beach. And that’s true.

But you know what else is true? It’s never too late to adopt healthier habits — and there’s still plenty of time to shape up for summer. While we’re not going to tell you how to lose 30 pounds in two weeks (that’s just unhealthy), we will offer some simple ways to drop a few pounds and tone up before the Fourth of July. And none of them involve starving yourself or living at the gym.

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