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Bikini season

As a competitive swimmer, I find two-piece swimsuits highly impractical. If I can’t swim laps in it, what’s the point? Despite this, I bought a bikini on clearance at the end of last summer to motivate me to stay fit during the winter months (and so I’ll be prepared for my annual trip to the beach or the occasional pool party).

As bikini season nears, women across the globe are starting new diets and exercise plans. But is it ever enough? I’m a size 2 and even I feel self-conscious in a swimsuit. At some point we women have to decide that we’re good enough as is. We have to end the constant struggle to achieve the “perfect body” and accept that healthy is more important (and more beautiful) than skinny. If you’re at a healthy weight and you exercise and eat right, there’s no reason you shouldn’t don that bikini. If you wait for the day when you finally have a six-pack, you may never get a chance to wear it (I worked out three hours a day during my swim career, yet I never achieved the coveted six-pack). Looking great in a two-piece all comes down to this: eat right, exercise, get a great tan, and (most importantly) be confident.

If you’re not feeling so confident, here are a few quick tips for slimming down before May gets here:

  • Cut soda and alcohol from your diet. Even diet soda–although it doesn’t contain calories, it tricks your body into thinking it received all this sugar when it actually hasn’t, causing intense cravings for sweets later. Drink water instead and save yourself thousands of calories.
  • Start weight-training. It’s the fastest and easiest way to lose weight and get toned. But do your research before you start with the weights, because improper technique may not yield results (or worse, it could lead to injury).
  • Drink tea. I’ve read from several sources that certain teas (especially green) can boost the metabolism. Another reason I suggest this is because tea is a good solution to the eating-out-of-boredom problem. Many of us go to the kitchen when we’re bored, or we feel the need to constantly be sipping or nibbling on something. Drinking tea is a great way to get your oral fixation without taking in unnecessary calories. And before that pool party, you may want to try a tea that specifically helps you lose water weight. I’ve seen this in the tea section at Target. I’m interested to see whether it works…I suppose it’s worth a try.
  • Incorporate ab exercises into your daily routine. I like to do 100 crunches before bedtime during the summer. It’s a good complement to your normal workout routine. Like I said, six-packs are hard to achieve–but they’re not impossible. 😉
  • Snack on fruits and vegetables instead of chips and crackers. When you go to the grocery store, buy fruits and vegetables with each color of the rainbow represented (for example, strawberries, carrots, bananas, broccoli, blueberries). We’re more attracted to colorful, pretty foods (and therefore more likely to eat them). When you get home, take an hour or so to wash, peel, and chop all of them at once. Place each in a container and stack them in the fridge. Not only are they easily accessible when you get hungry, but they’re ready to be easily packed in a lunch or included in a meal.
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