Getting that Summer-ready Bikini Body & Keeping It!

If you are one that eats and workouts regularly for the sake of her health and fitness then you are probably not so worried about the way you look so far during the summer because I bet you already look better than the average. For we all know, long-term lifestyle habits are what will guarantee you feeling good, looking good, and living to the fullest. But for those of you that still have a few pounds to shed or whether your goal is to trim up, shed some fat and tone some muscles, do not you worry- it is never too late to get started!

I am giving you the blueprint on how to achieve that bikini body in a reasonable time frame and you know what? My main point will be that achieving it is the exact same blueprint required as maintaining it.

Let us begin with what you do not want to be doing to achieve that bikini body: you do not want to follow one of those “popular hot” summer diets. With the rise of summer’s approach a month ago along came endless diet fads, from the 17-Day Diet by Dr. Mike Moreno, to the Dukan Diet popularized by: Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Jennifer Lopez, Gisele Bundchen,and Penelope Cruz, and the endless Cleanses that celebrities swear by such as Beyonce,and Kim and Khloe Kardashian.

People start getting hauled into fad diets in preparation for the bathing suit season. What is a (fad) diet to begin with? Basically, anything that pledges fast weight loss and usually entails that you make drastic alterations to your daily diet. See, diet is not merely a controlled intake of your food to loose weight; instead, it is a term that should denote your everyday nutritional habits. It is the way you eat on a day-to-day basis, it is a lifestyle you maintain and happily. After researching some stats they proved that fad diets are not efficient at all. Not only do virtually all dieters put on the weight back that they dropped, but they frequently gain back even more weight as a consequence of their metabolisms being manipulated. I also do not think people apprehend that dieting can trigger eating disorders or disordered, pathological eating habits.

First of, the most famous of all fad diets: the Dukan Diet. It is a low-fat, high-protein regime often contrasted to Atkins. You eat a lot of protein and oat-bran to cleanse the system. After you lose the pounds, you’re allowed to eat foods that you like with one rule still applied, which is that you must continue to work out and eat a full day of protein once a week. What is positive about this protocol is the emphasis on exercising often and on protein in your diet- however, it does not include most food groups and hence, ideally cannot be maintained as a long-term lifestyle of eating and so will not yield long-term results.

Meanwhile, the 17-Day Diet, this diet apparently takes just 17-days to your weight-loss goal! The plan is about eating specific foods for rapid weight loss. By eating particular foods, a dietitian says the plan tricks your body into losing weight. I find this diet absurd seeing as it is known: loosing weight is easy (and I’m talking about loosing the jiggle fat and not the precious muscle). It is as easy as eating right, exercising, getting proper rest, drinking enough water, and making sure you are in a caloric deficit as the crucial point. That deficit can be achieved through many means- so yes, heard of the Twinkie Diet, or the Cookie Diet, or even the Cabbage Soup Diet? You can eat whatever food group you want daily even if it is junk and still loose weight.

The aim of this article and what I hope to leave you with as food for thought is one word: nutrition. The purpose of food being to fuel and act as recovery for your body. Food should act as a mean of nourishment. You want your body to work with you on attacking those fat pounds and not starve it off or “trick” it into loosing weight by eating the same thing over and over! Your body is smart, one way or another, it will plateau and you will regain the weight, wreck your metabolism, and then gain even more!

We live in a society in which we want everything impatiently: completed or reached quickly and with the least amount of effort required. It is a short-cut world. It is not just a weight matter either- it is a convenience matter. It appears that the civilized mainstream prefer convenience, no matter the price, they want it all at ease. Convenience is not off beam, but when it comes with health dangers or possible risk, we are frequently keen to take the stake because we merely want to see results. And because of the social model and unrealistic standard of beauty that is often tied to our body weight, we are willing to do whatever it takes to see quick results when it comes to weight loss. My intent here is not to pass judgments, but to persuade critical thinking. It is imperative that when we take part in particular behaviors and that we are well informed about these behaviors so that we can make the best likely and most useful choices.

While I’m certain the majority would oppose me, dieting is the least efficient decision you can make when it comes to food and sustaining a healthy weight. Listening to your body, eating when we are hungry, stopping when we are full, and eating a diversity of foods in moderation is a greatly safer stake.

So what am I suggesting? I am suggesting looking at points below as tips to progress into and implement for the long run, think of it as a lifestyle change for not just a healthy summer but a healthy vibrant life to come!

Now that I have condemned the popular fad diets for the summer and asserted that rapid temporary weight loss should not be favored, you are probably wondering where is the so-called blueprint to that promised body? Wait no longer! It is as simple as two points that I will elaborate on: your nutrition/diet and exercise.

First, focus on making little changes to your diet gradually:

What to include and exclude:

  • Eliminate junk and fast foods gradually (at least limit them to once or twice a week).
  • Ditch the sugar for fruits (okay to treat yourself on occasion)!
  • Focus on real whole foods for nutrition. Think of food as fuel to your body, you want a high-class engine? You got to fuel it properly with the best food choices.
  • Eat your vegetables: focus on greens and fibrous vegetables.
  • Try to have complete lean protein sources with at least 3 of your meals. Our bodies depend on proteins and amino acids to produce important molecules – without enough protein in our diet our bodies canʼt function well at all. Making sure you are getting lean protein with each of your 4 to 5 meals per day can also help to control body fat. Generally speaking, if you are a woman, the size of your complete lean protein portion should be the size and thickness of your palm. For guys, it should be two palms. Do the best you can to approximate your servings of lean protein using your palms as measuring tools. It is a simple approach that in my opinion is far easier on many levels than counting calories. Your portion size of veggies should be approximately 2 cupped hands together for both guys and girls and for starchy carbs (whole wheat bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, oats etc) 1 handful.

Eating and lifestyle habits:

  • Eat 4-6 small meals per day spread throughout every 2-4 hours. This has the benefit of keeping your blood sugar level stable throughout the day and so your metabolism is constantly working- and it is a great way to fight cravings as you never really get the chance to get hungry and make bad food choices. Remember, every time you eat, it is an opportunity to make your body better (or worse). An example would be three main meals per day that consist of: 50% vegetables, 25% lean protein, and 25% of a complex carbohydrate. Add to that 2 snacks per day, let’s say, a fruit and a handful of nuts and you are on your way to a better body!
  • Portion size control! We all grew up in homes with distorted portion sizes. There are no bad foods, just bad amounts we consume! You can eat whatever you wish in moderation for balance will always be key.
  • Drink enough water throughout the day! For every kilogram of body weight drink 30-40 mL of water. A more general approach is to drink about 3 L of water a day. The human body, which is made up of between 55 and 75 percent water (lean people have more water in their bodies because muscle holds more water than fat), is in need of constant water replenishment. So make sure you stay hydrated!

Once your diet is dialed in, you should notice immediate benefits daily in your mood and energy levels, and over the weeks, your body composition will change too. Now on to the second part of the equation that is exercise:

  • Perform cardiovascular exercise 3-6 days a week. Start anywhere from 20 minutes a day and gradually increase the minutes till you are doing anywhere from 30-60 minutes of aerobic activity is more than enough. Cardio it is a great calorie burner to add to the equation. Running is the best option, you can cycle, power-walk, do kickboxing, take aerobic classes, put your rollerblades on! Basically, keep active and make it fun! Also, a great cardio workout would be swimming, perfect during the summer so make use of the beautiful warm weather outdoors. Keep in mind, your heart is a muscle you must train too!
  • Running and sit-ups alone will not get you that tight trim body for the tiny two pieced bikini instead you must resistance train. Start doing some body-weight exercise circuits and/or pick up some dumbbells! Yes I said it! Resistance or strength training is of many benefits to your health and will shape you up into a goddess physique. There are many myths and misconceptions concerning women and weight lifting; it will not bulk you up if you eat right. Take my word for it! Learn proper form and make sure you are monitored by a professional for the first few sessions. Two to three sessions a week of a full-body routine will suffice. Pick one to two exercises per body part and do 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions. Make sure to warm-up before your session and stretch after you are done!

Lastly, for those of you that do want to loose some body fat in a short period of time to enjoy the rest of your summer days and still eat things like bread, pasta, rice, and sugary foods. I have some good news for you: you can eat those foods but only 1-2 hours after your workout! Think of it as you earn your carbohydrates after your training. You should still focus more on eating whole-grain, unprocessed carbohydrates such as plain quinoa, plain full flake or steal cut oats, plain amaranth, plain millet, plain barley, brown basmati rice, etc. This is not a low-carb diet, but rather a way to control your carbohydrate intake for your benefit.

There you have it. To loose the weight and look good throughout the summer without the diet deprivations just stick to the few points above!

To sum up, weight loss requires a caloric deficit, you do it first through your diet and secondly, through your training. You should focus however, on maintaining an exercise regime for the long run and not simply see it as a weight-loss tool. Think of the fact the more you progress in the gym or at the track, let’s say you lift more repetitions or run an extra mile- the progression means you will look better and better over time! Same for eating, focus on non-processed whole, clean, foods that you know provides your body with nutrition. Make sure you eat from all the food groups, eat at regular intervals, and drink up your water!

Just as fit and buff Cameron Diaz said, “You have to give your body the right nutrients and really think about whatʼs best for it.”

Have a happy, healthy, and robust summer!

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