Now that we're well on our way to bikini season, there's a right way and a wrong way to see results by Memorial Day. Skip the crash diets with these seven steps to get ready for your beach-filled Summer plans by the end of the month.
- Set a realistic goal. While it's true that you can make many smart changes in four weeks, you don't want to set yourself up for failure by aiming for an unrealistic goal. Instead of stressing over whether or not you'll be able to lose 20 pounds in a month, focus on a goal that is attainable in this short amount of time. Seeing yourself inch toward this smaller goal will be a lot more rewarding than feeling discouraged that you're not seeing big changes straight away.
- Make simple swaps. Anything that can safely help you with your weight-loss goals without a lot of effort should become part of your routine. Make simple swaps throughout the day to save a few hundred calories easily, like opting for red wine over a vodka tonic at happy hour and choosing a low-calorie sandwich spread. Check out more of our 10 quick calorie-cutting tips that will help you drop pounds now.
- Give yourself a boost. Another way to make simple, waist-friendly changes to your diet? Adopt a few of these healthy metabolism-boosting habits. It's easy to give yourself a fat-burning boost — from eating breakfast to drinking green tea every day to having a healthy prebedtime snack, read our tips on how to increase your metabolism every day.
Four more steps to get into bikini-ready shape after the break!
- Bump up cardio. If you're looking to drop a few pounds, you need to get serious about your exercise routine. Adding more cardio to your weekly workouts is a great way to burn more calories; incorporate high-intensity intervals into your sessions to ensure your calorie burn is efficient.
- Don't forget to strength train. While working up a sweat on the treadmill is great for burning major calories, focusing on strengthening your muscles will help you burn even more calories. And since toned arms and thighs give you that enviable definition to show off on the beach, aim to strength train for 30-45 minutes twice a week. These strength-training workouts will help you look more toned in a month.
- Control portions. If you constantly feel like you're stuffed after a meal, you may be eating too much at each sitting. Take a look at your portions; if they're too big, you could be tacking on hundreds of unneeded calories to your day. Controlling portions is all about knowing what a serving looks like, so learn them and keep them in mind the next time you eat. Curious about what an ounce of cheese looks like? Look at your thumb. Need to know what a one-cup serving should be? Make a fist. For more portion-control visuals, download and print this handy portion-control guide.
- Prioritize sleep. Sleepy people eat more during the day and can have trouble saying no to temptations, so make sure you're getting seven to eight hours of quality sleep a night. Sticking to the same sleep schedule every day and changing certain prebedtime habits will help you catch better z's; read more of our 25 tips for better sleep to help you get there fast.