Do you have a hot date coming up? Are you off on a beach vacation soon? Chances are if you’re reading this, your body may not be too ready to fit into the amazing dress to impress your date or the ‘Make ‘Em Stare’ bikini you’d want to strut around the beach or the pool. Here are 9 tips from a registered nutritionist that will help you slim down really quickly.
1. Drink water. (And then drink more!)
It may seem counterintuitive, but the best trick to beating bloat is to drink more water, says Sarah Greaves, R.D., nutrition director at the Blue Sky Wellness Center in Riverdale, N.J. “If you’re drinking water, you’re flushing out everything and keeping all systems going.” Try sipping a tall glass of H20 every time you feel hungry.
2. Skip Soda (or Pop for you Canadians or Soft Drinks for you Brits)
Another way to get a flatter stomach, according to Greaves: Avoid soda. Soft drinks, even diet ones, contain sodium, which is a big contributor to bloat, she warns. Instead of reaching for a diet cola, opt for unsweetened iced tea or coffee.
3. Try A One-Day Cleanse
Cleanses aren’t the key to permanent weight loss, but stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Beyoncé swear by juice cleanses and fasting to slim down and reset their bodies. For a version you can stick to, eat only raw fruits and vegetables for a day. You’ll feel fuller than if you just drink juice, but you’ll easily be able to keep your daily calorie budget in check.
4. Find Fuel-Up Foods
Hitting the gym? Keep your energy up by picking foods that’ll help you burn more calories during your workout and throughout the day. Greaves says, “Go for good carbohydrates, like whole grains, and lots of fruits and vegetables. It’s time-released fuel for the day.” Translation: You won’t be reaching for unhealthy snacks to keep you going.
5. Focus On High Intensity Cardio
Since you’re short on time, swap out spot-toning like sit-ups—they won’t give you the fast results you’re after. You’ve got to burn fat before you build muscle. I would recommend lots of cardio to lean the body down. To really shed pounds quickly, pick a high-intensity interval training workout, which amp up fat burning in short-but-superhard sessions. They hurt but they work.
6. Cut Out Refined Carbs
Rid your diet of bad carbs (a.k.a. white flour and sugar), which reduce your energy and can make you want to skip that last-minute workout. “Think about how foods affect your energy level. Refined carbs, white flour, snack foods—these tend to elevate your blood sugar and then you crash,” Greaves says. “They are energy-busting foods.” And remember, “No energy equals craving more food.”
7. Eliminate ALL Processed Foods
When you’re trying to lose weight quickly, give your body the natural foods it can digest, and say no to anything that comes in a wrapper. Greaves says to use the tip when you’re out at restaurants, too. “Try salads and grilled protein. Skip the sauces.”
8. Fill Up On “Anti-Fats” Foods
Foods that fight belly fat? Yes please! “Eat more fruits and vegetables that naturally contain water. The diuretic effect helps rid the body of excess water and bloat,” says Greaves. (Sound familiar from tip #1? It should!) “Try melons, tomatoes, pineapples, and grapes. All are easy additions to a summer salad.” This watermelon and arugula salad is a great place to start!
9. Ditch Alcohol
You’re a smart girl, and you know alcoholic drinks can be calorie bombs. But that’s not all. Greaves says drinking actually stimulates your appetite, so drinking is like double diet sabotage. If you don’t want to cut out drinking completely, Greaves says to stick to wine (being portion-conscious, of course!) and to start with a tall glass of water first to stay hydrated. Perhaps cheat with alcohol if you REALLY have to impress your date but then again, if you need alcohol to impress him, he’s probably not worth it!