I’m nudging you now, because many people have the tendency to put this off. As in, “I’m going on a surfing trip next week and I can’t be seen looking like this” A crash diet to take off a couple of pounds in a week might make you slightly less self-conscious in your board shorts, but if you really want to make some headway before swimsuit season, the time to start is now.
My summer shape-up plans got derailed when I pulled a muscle in my ribcage a few days ago. It hurts like crazy and I’m told it could take weeks to heal. Bench presses and sit-ups are out of the question…. as would be – except for the fact that they’re unavoidable – breathing, sneezing and rolling over in my sleep. (Actually, let me correct that last one. Right now, it’s less of a roll, and more like a three-point turn). So, it looks like I’ll be doing more lower body exercises for the next few weeks. But – assuming you haven’t hurt yourself like I did – you’ve got a good six weeks before summer starts, which is plenty of time to work on your beach body from head to toe. And to see some real results.
Here’s the thing: a safe and achievable rate of weight loss is about one or two pounds a week. In order to lose a pound in a week’s time, you need to tilt your calorie balance in the negative direction by about 500 calories per day. Since a pound of fat stores about 3500 calories, if you burn up 500 of those stored calories every day for a week, you’ll lose about a pound of fat. Larger people can often tip the balance a little further – coming up with a shortage or 750 or even 1000 calories a day to lose a bit more quickly.
Depending on your body size, that means that if you start now, you could lose 5 or 10 pounds by early June and that could be enough to give you a beach body by the start of summer. And, with a one-two punch of diet and exercise, six weeks is enough time to see some noticeable changes in your muscle tone and shape if you dedicate some serious time to your workouts.
Ready to start? Here are some diet tips to help you look your best by summer.
Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.