When the weather starts to warm up, this time of the year, one starts to anticipate the dreaded swimsuit season which always seems to come too early for our success in shaping up.  Why not start earlier and use methods that actually work?  I know this sounds a bit too simple but if it works, why not?

Here is a list of tips to start incorporating into your daily life today.  Don’t feel like you have to add all of them at once.  Start with implementing 2-3 habits this week and once these become second nature; add a few more.  You’ll start seeing changes sooner than you think and the changes won’t even feel that challenging after awhile!
1.  Water.  It’s a wonderful thing and it’s not a mistake that I list it as #1.  It hydrates, detoxifies, and helps you feel full.  It helps your skin stay clear.  Rehydrate after burning fat from your workout.
2.  Work out.  You knew this was coming, right?  πŸ™‚  There are no excuses, and it will keep you centered, grounded and focused.  It may seem like a huge challenge and difficult to fit into your schedule, but believe me, once you start feeling the benefits of your mood and attitude; you can’t help but NOT want to continue.  Habits take 28 days to stick; so plan out a month’s worth of workouts and don’t let yourself skip when you “don’t feel like it”…trust me, you’ll know why!!
3.  Repeat after me, “White meat, please.”  White meat turkey or chicken has about half the fat of dark meat.  Most people figure they are eating “lighter” because they chose poultry over beef, but this information will help your efforts more than you know.  Stick with white; stick with light!
4.  Be prepared.  Have protein-rich snacks on hand at work and on the go.  Nibble a few nuts or seeds or whole-grain crackers to stave off hunger between meals.  Sip on lemon-infused water or tea throughout your day to ease any hungry grumblings.
5.  Carry your journal with you.    Get into the habit of writing down the foods you eat throughout your day and if necessary, add the hunger levels at each time of meal.  You may notice patterns where you need more food during your day so you don’t risk any “out of control” habits take hold.  Use this journal as your personal road map to success.
6.  Get excited about exercise!  I know we already talked about adding workouts into your life but start a new habit of adding in activity-based fun into your life.  Have you always dreamed of rock-climbing?  Why not look into the nearest indoor sports center which provides the chance to try it out.  Maybe you’ve dreamed of trying out surfing but never had the guts to follow through.  Sign up for classes taught closer to summer season with other folks at the same beginning level as you are.  Be creative and find something that inspires you to become naturally more active!
7. Don’t give up on your healthy habits just because you get too busy!  It’s just as easy to hit the health food deli and get some hot lentil soup and an herb-grilled chicken breast, as it would be to go next door and buy a pizza.
8.  Get enough sleep.  Let your body heal itself.  Studies show that when we are sleep-deprived, the stress hormone cortisol is released at an increased level, which makes us feel hungry, even if we are full. Get enough sleep each night and get in the habit of turning off the television a bit earlier each evening.
9.  Go green!  Green tea, that is.  Iced or hot, green tea helps you burn fat, fight off radicals, and build stronger bones  Try jasmine-flavored, or mixed with yerba mate, for twice the fat-burning power!
10. Go, take a hike!  I’m serious.  I’m all about the lunchtime walk.  Stand up straight, engage those abs, squeeze those glutes with each stride; it’s often referred to as “the inner pinch”.  And hey, if you don’t want to pinch your butt-well, no one else will want to, either!
11. Seaweed:  it’s not just for getting tangled in your hair at the beach anymore.  It blocks up to 75% fat, has thermogenic properties, and is loaded with minerals and phytonutrients.  Have some miso soup with wakame, a nori roll stuffed with brown rice and avocado, and tasty seaweed salad for lunch today!
12. Clean the house from top to bottom, in honor of “spring cleaning”.    “Cardio cleaning” burns almost 600 calories an hour!
13.  Avoid fruit juices; you might as well be drinking soda.  Twelve ounces of Coca-cola has 10 teaspoons/40 grams of sugar.  The same amount of orange juice contains 8 teaspoons/33 grams; apple juice has 10 teaspoons/39 grams and grape juice contains 15 teaspoons/58 grams!  Rethink your drink!
14.  Eat vitamin and fiber-rich whole-grain breads and pastas.  They keep you satisfied, and keep your blood sugar and insulin levels stable.  Always choose whole-wheat over white.
15. Become a label reader.  Think that breakfast bar you grabbed running out the door is a good choice, just because it has whole oats?  Well, not if it also contains high-fructose corn syrup, a laboratory-created substance formulated by adding enzymes to corn syrup after is has been processed from corn starch. HFCS is 55% glucose and 42% fructose.  Read: bad for diet!

16. Ditto that low-carb diet bar with the artificial sweetener.  Approach those with caution; some chemical sweeteners have a laxative effect – and your scheduled run isn’t until later on this afternoon. πŸ˜‰
17.  Step right up!  Take the stairs; one at a time, two at a time, three if your legs are unusually long.  Forwards, backwards, up and down – even sideways!  Work those muscles; burn that fat!
18.  Buddy up.  Enlist your dieting buddy in your joint effort to be the two hottest friends on the beach this year!  Pull high-fat and sugar foods out of eachothers’ hands and bring healthy snacks in Ziploc bags for each other.  Schedule workouts together too; whatever works to keep you motivated!
19.  Stop eating when you’re full.  This tip would seem obvious but for the fact that each Thanksgiving, millions of siblings across the globe engage in a contest that could rightfully be called, “Let’s see who can get their pants to explode first.”  Put your fork down before your plate is empty.  Remember, you can always eat again later.
20. Be nice to yourself.  Serve that lovely white-fish, sauteed in 1/4 cup water, with a splash of white wine, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, dashes of turmeric, black pepper and cayenne, on a lovely china plate, with a lemon wedge beside it.  Toss a side salad in a light sesame seed vinaigrette.  Pour a chilled 5-ounce glass of organic white wine, or wine spritzer, and light a taper candle.  Bon apetit!

There you go!  How easy is it to implement some of these changes into your daily habits?  Let me hear what you think and how it works for you!

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