We all know the term "cold-weather comfort eating" a little too well. And if you're like me, you don't think about fitting into your bikini until the weather starts to get warmer. Unfortunately, that didn't happen this year until May (yes, MAY), and Memorial Day just so happens to be in the same month. That means one of the biggest beach days of the year is less than a week away.
So, what can you do to lose the extra weight quickly? If spending your life in the gym is not an option, read on. I have seven great tips that I love, and best of all, you won't feel like you're really working out.
1. Get a device that tracks your steps, calories, and sleep habits. They come in many different styles like wristbands or clips, and are very small. They work over WIFI and Bluetooth so there are no messy computer cords. See the number of steps on the device, or download the free app. Of course, they don't do the walking for you, but they are very good motivators. Many of these devices are pre-programmed to encourage you to walk a certain number of steps per day. When you wear the device and see the number of calories burned as you walk, a miraculous thing happens. You try to get more, and more, and more steps. Before you know it, you've gotten to 10,000 steps! My fav: Fitbit. www.fitbitcom. $59.95.
2. Strap on weights to your legs, thighs, or wrists. This trick is very simple, yet very effective. I recently bought 2 pound weights that I wear around my ankles. They're basically little sandbags with Velcro. Now, for every step I take, I've added 2 pounds to each leg. If you use these together with your Fitbit, you'll be walking everywhere and burning more calories without even thinking about it. If you're really ambitious, do little exercises with your weights on. Try jumping jacks or leg lifts. My fav: Da Vince adjustable ankle or wrist weights. www.amazon
.com. $11.95 for a pair.
3. Use a sugar substitute with your coffee or tea. There's no reason any of us should be consuming refined sugar when there are so many healthy, all natural substitutes. There are approximately 100 calories in 6 teaspoons of sugar. Before you reach for the sugar to sweeten your drinks, try a healthy alternative. I promise you won't be able to taste the difference. My fav: Monk Fruit In The Raw. All natural, 0 calories. www.intheraw.com. $9.08 for 2 boxes.
4. Participate in outdoor activities that you enjoy. Own a dog? Take your furry friend for a longer walk tomorrow. Walking is one of the best activities for your body. It can get your heart rate up, improve circulation, and is a low impact activity that is easier on your joints. Now that the weather is warmer, there are plenty of options for outdoor activities. If you live in NYC, try riding up the West Side Hwy on a Citi Bike, or rollerblading in Central Park. With all the trees blooming right now, it's a beautiful time to be surrounded by nature. My fav: tennis courts. Find ones that are free to use and bring your own racquet, and a friend!
5. Buy health magazines and actually read them. Visual images affect us much more than we consciously realize. Have you ever noticed that when you're reading a food magazine, especially one about baking, you just want to eat everything that's in it? In sight, in mind. The same reasoning applies to fitness magazines. They can motivate you to cook that healthy recipe, or do some more crunches to look like the fitness model on the page. My fav: Fitness magazine. www.fitnessmagazine.com. $5.99 for 10 issues.
6. Buy a healthy cookbook and learn to cook simple recipes. Keep the motivation going after reading your health and fitness magazines. See a recipe you like? Either buy the ingredients or find a similar one in a healthy cookbook. Many famous chefs are now realizing the importance of healthy cooking, and many have created their own easy recipes. Shed pounds in just one week by changing what you eat for only one of your daily meals. My fav: The Pound A Day Diet by Rocco DiSpirito
. www.amazon.com. $23.40 hardcover, $10.99 on Kindle.
7. Bring a healthy snack wherever you go. When our bodies are hungry, we often crave sugar to temporarily fuel it. Too often we give in to the craving because we don't have anything else around to snack on. Whenever you leave the house, pack your favorite healthy granola bar or a baggy of nuts in your purse or brief case. If you prefer fruit, an apple or an orange is easy and doesn't require refrigeration. My fav: almonds.
If you practice these seven tips for the next three weeks, I'm almost certain you can loose the pounds you gained over the winter. The most important thing is to remain positive, practice gratitude, and tell the universe your goals so you can work on getting them achieved. Have fun at the beach!
Nicola Mar is an author, model, and conscious living advocate. She grew up in St. Maarten and currently lives in NYC. missmar