Spring is almost over and bikini season is here! That means we basically have only four weeks to get "Brooklyn Decker"-ready. (Side note: if you don't know who she is, do yourself a favour and don't Google her. It is kind of depressing unless you're a supermodel.)
C'mon let's be honest, if you're going to hit the beach, you don't want to look like a blowfish who did a five-day Atkins crash diet -- a smaller, puffy version of your former self. Because believe you me, that's exactly what you will get! Been there. Done that! I have the deflated booty stretch marks to remind me of my former yo-yo dieting days that I gave up on over a decade ago.
Don't pout, there is hope for those of you who did not come out of the womb with a Sports Illustrated bikini body. Not matter what size, shape or height you are, it is possible to look toner, leaner, and more physically fit in just four short weeks if you do it right. I've even seen it happen for women going through menopause who would gain weight by simply looking at a piece of pizza. Total body transformation? No. You will probably not see yourself go from a size 26 to a size 8 in just four weeks -- HELLO you are not naive enough to believe that anyway! But you might see a reduced muffin top, no more bloating, and drop a few sizes. That is, if you commit to the following tips 100 per cent for the next four to five weeks.
The following are tried-and-true diet and fitness tips that actually work for my readers, clients, and me personally.
EAT BIKINI-FRIENDLY FOODS
TIP 1 -- EAT COCONUT OIL Eat it, breathe it, smell it -- swim in it for goodness sakes! OK, maybe I'm a bit overzealous about coconut oil, but it's for good reason. The stuff works!
This is kind of old news, but obesity researchers at McGill University found that medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), the type found in coconuts, actually use up energy when they are metabolized. The calories the body uses to oxidize the fatty acids in coconut oil is greater than the calories they provide. KAACHING! So it's possible to burn more calories digesting coconut oil than you get from eating it. Dr. David Brownstein uses coconut oil as a part of his weight loss program at the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, MI.
One final fascinating fact about coconut oil: The primary fatty acid in coconut oil, lauric acid, which is highly antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal, is also found in human breast milk -- which, let's face it, is the perfect food!
TIP 2 -- EAT ARTICHOKES These beautiful vegetable flowers (as I call them) are amazingly filling and are inexpensive right now because they are in season!
Artichokes contain inulin, which is a type of carbohydrate that has been shown to decrease the hunger hormone, ghrelin. Artichokes also have active compounds called caffeoylquinic acids or cynarin, which are found in highest concentrations in the leaves but are also available in the hearts. These liver-friendly compounds found in artichokes prevent the build-up of fat and toxins in the liver, reduce gallstone formation during weight loss, promote growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, and act as a gentle laxative by increasing bile secretion. I know, I had you at "laxative" right? Me too! Wink, wink.
TIP 3 -- EAT DANDELION GREENS Buca, a cool little Italian hot spot in Toronto, is serving the most delicious dandelion green salad right now. These slightly bitter greens pair well with a sweet dressing such as reduced balsamic fig vinaigrette. I also use them in my infamous "Veggie Detox Shots" recipe in my new book (originally created as a hang over cure) -- they are good, green, and packed with bikini-friendly nutrition.
These edible weeds are not just ugly lawn intruders -- they are spring leaves packed with vitamins A, B, C, D, and fiber. If you know anything about nutrition, you know that all those nutrients help with... you guesses it, WEIGHT LOSS. BTW, skinny people love dandelion greens because they work as a natural diuretic to help reduce bloating and detox the body. Coolest of all, dandelions contain taraxacin, a chemical that is thought to speed up fat digestion and liver sluggishness. I don't know about you, but I'm in the market for a dandelion field!
INCORPORATE REAL FOODS INTO YOUR DAILY DIET
TIP 4 -- Shop the outer perimeter of the grocery store.
TIP 5 -- Read your labels; look for foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar.
TIP 6 -- Choose foods that offer healthy fats such as omega-3 like cage-free eggs and olive oils.
TIP 7 -- Build each meal starting with a lean protein, next add a healthy carb such as fresh produce, and always consume at least 16 ounces of water with each meal.
TIP 8 -- Consume grass-fed or free-range meats as often as possible.
TIP 9 -- Consume a fermented food or beverage once a day or take a daily probiotic. Fermented foods include: coconut kefir, dairy kefir, kombucha tea, homemade sauerkraut, kimchi (made without MSG).
TIP 10 -- Consume foods high in omega-3 fatty acids daily, or take an omega-3 supplement. Omega-3 rich foods include: fatty fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds and raw tofu.
TIP 11 -- STEER CLEAR OF FAKE FOODS
Avoid all foods that are made from refined sugars, refined flours, refined salts, and refined fats. They slow down metabolism, increase hunger, and disrupt sleep patterns.
TIP 12 -- EXERCISE AS IF YOU LOVE IT It is incredible the difference a little exercise will make. Start exercising a minimum of 30 minutes every day and you will see quick results. The weather is getting really nice, so now is the perfect time to take up an outdoor sport or simply meeting a friend for a daily walk/chat session. Oh, and if you are in a total rush to see some pounds drop, I highly recommend a hot yoga class. Although you will lose mostly water, it's a great way to get addicted to sweating and see a lower number on that dreaded bathroom scale.
See you at the beach, hotties!