You've been meaning to shed weight all winter long, but life (and cheesecake) happened. If the time left between you and swimsuit season is dwindling, never fear. With some quick fixes and lifestyle changes, you can feel better about your beach body in just a couple of short weeks.
1,000-Calorie Deficit Per Day
First, focus on eating less and exercising more to create a 1,000-calorie deficit each day. This will cause you to lose about two pounds per week, or four pounds in two weeks. For example, if you usually eat 2,200 calories per day, eat just 1,600 calories and burn an extra 400 calories through exercise.
Cardio exercise burns the most calories, so it's the most effective for quick weight loss. A 155-pound person can burn 400 calories in just 30 minutes of running at 6.7 mph (set your treadmill if you want to get precise), or swimming laps of the butterfly stroke.
Avoid Crash Diets
Yes, you can lose weight faster by eating even less food. But when you crash diet, much of the weight comes from muscle tissue. Your metabolism will also slow down, so you'll gain the weight back promptly once you stop dieting. Plus, your body needs energy from food to fuel your exercise, so workouts will be a lot tougher if you starve yourself.
Eliminate Water Weight
When you only have two weeks to whip your body into shape, you'll also need to look beyond fat loss and eliminate any sources of bloating in your diet. Water weight can add a few pounds or more to your frame, and making a few key changes in your eating habits can help you shed it.
Sodium is one major water-retention culprit, so cut back on salt. The sodium from just one extra gram of salt in your body can lead to two pounds of added weight, which will disappear once you flush the excess. Read food labels, and aim for no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day to avoid the bloat.
Another way to beat bloating is to eat smaller meals instead of large feasts, helping to eliminate belly protrusion. And while very high-fiber foods such as broccoli and pinto beans are normally healthy to eat, they can cause gassy bloating. Keep them off of your plate for a couple of days before beach time.
Another surprising no-no: artificial sweeteners, which often contain sugar alcohols that can cause bloating. Carbonated drinks can also expand your stomach, so steer clear of diet sodas before slipping on your swimsuit.
Try a Bronzer
Finally, here's one way to look slimmer and sleeker in a matter of minutes: sunless tanner. Spray or rub these products onto your skin, and a deep color will develop over the next 4 to 8 hours. Many brands have built-in bronzers for an instant glow, and today's versions look far more natural than the orange-hued products of days past. Plus, they're far better for your skin than baking in the sun.
Practicing these tips will help you look and feel better on the beach, but remember not to strive for perfection. It doesn't exist, and you're probably far more focused on your flaws than anyone around you is. Have fun and be confident on the beach, and you're sure to impress no matter how your body looks.
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Nina Kate is a certified fitness nutrition specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). She also studied journalism at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and has contributed to numerous major publications as a freelance writer. Nina thrives on sharing nutrition and fitness knowledge to help readers lead healthy, active lives. Visit her wellness blog at BodyFlourish.com.