I want to start out by saying that I am definitely not an advocate for crash dieting, fad dieting, or anything like that. After years of obsessively counting and recording calories, I decided to stop that cold turkey, and instead started to take the time to learn about food. Instead of recording how many calories were in every single thing I put in my mouth, I started eating to nourish my body. Basically, that meant less of those “100 calorie packs” of cookies that you need five of to fill you up, and more fresh fruits, veggies and protein! The changes I saw were incredible, and I honestly felt better than ever. I’ve adapted that strategy as a lifestyle ever since. I am generally an “everything in moderation” girl in everyday life, but there are some things I do just to look and feel my very best before I go on a trip, especially one where I plan to show some skin!
- Drink a lot of water, and nothing else. Staying hydrated is a key to keeping belly bloat at bay. It also makes my skin more “glowy”, and I always notice that I do not break out as much when the only thing I drink is H2O. I normally drink coffee daily, and it’s hard for me to turn down a good cocktail, but avoiding drinking anything but water for at least a week before a trip always pays off with a flatter looking tummy. If you HAVE to have that morning cup of coffee, good news, studies show it can actually be good for you – just without the mounds of cream and sugar.
- Stick to complex carbs. When I follow this tip, this is where I notice the biggest differences in the way I look and feel. I don’t avoid carbs! They get such a bad rap, but whole wheat/whole grain varieties of bread, rice and pasta are nutritious – as long as you watch portion control. A couple of weeks before a trip, I choose to fill up on carbs like sweet potatoes, corn, and beans. When I do this, I notice more muscle definition, and I also have so much more energy during the day.
- Up the exercise. I genuinely enjoy working out, so this one isn’t tough for me. I typically work out 2 to 3 times a week, but I try to work out 4 to 5 days a week for a month leading up to a trip. I know a lot of people who have it in their mind that they HATE working out, but I think there has to be some type of enjoyable exercise out there for everyone. When I say exercise, I don’t mean an intense program, although the more you push yourself, the better results you are going to see. Take your dog for a walk, get on a treadmill while watching your favorite show on an iPad, or Google the thousands of free workouts that exist online; just try something that’s a step above your norm. It’s not only good for your physical health, but great for your mental health too!
- Cook at home. Like I said, I am typically an “everything in moderation” type of girl, but in the weeks leading up to a trip, I try to stick to eating grilled, steamed or baked fresh foods. The best way to accomplish this is to do your own cooking, and avoid eating out. Cooking every meal can be a tough tip to follow if you have a lot going on, and if you are anything like me, you just don’t enjoy doing it every day. Meal prep is the best remedy for this! I have found so many online meal prep ideas that have made my life a whole lot easier (and healthier!). I make my lunches for the week ahead of time and plan my dinners for the week all at once, so I only have to make one trip to the grocery store a week. I save my meal ideas and recipes I use on my Pinterest board! If you need a little extra hand-holding with meal prepping for the first time, here’s a great place to get started: thirtyhandmadedays.com.
- The best way to get in shape for a vacation is to stay in shape. Eating to nourish your body and increasing fitness levels are essential for everyone’s overall health and well-being. Sticking to these guidelines for a few weeks is great, but it’s even better if some of them transfer into real-life everyday habits! At the end of the day, getting in shape shouldn’t be about looking skinny in a bathing suit; it’s about building self-confidence and feeling better. Using a trip as motivation to get in shape can be an awesome way to start on the road to feeling your best!