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May 14, 2014

Get swimsuit ready, in small bites

Swimsuit season is just around the corner. Are you ready? If not, we have a few ideas on how to lose weight and tone muscle by summer.

Swimsuit season is just around the corner. Are you ready? If not, we have a few ideas on how to lose weight and tone muscle by summer.

Not enough time to make a difference?

“It’s actually a lot of time,” says Danielle Omar, a registered dietitian in Fairfax, Va. “You could lose up to 15 to 16 pounds in that time, depending on the changes you make.” She suggests starting by looking at everyday eating and exercise habits.

“Just bring your lunch to work and stop those daily Starbucks runs and you could lose more than a pound a week with just that,” she says.

Heather Calcote, a Washington dietitian and endurance athlete, says “it’s really important to set realistic goals” and not to have an all-or-nothing approach to fitness.

That means incremental changes.

Small changes

Maybe you start by making one daily exercise change and two daily nutrition changes, Calcote suggests.

For example: Add up to 30 minutes of walking at least three times a week for your exercise change and start bringing your lunch to work and eliminate the high-caloric coffee drinks for your two nutrition changes.

Every few weeks you might add other changes. Those can include using the plate method (1/2 of the plate is veggies, 1/4 starchy vegetable or whole grain, 1/4 lean protein), replacing soda with water, cutting (or cutting down on) wine and saying no to free office food.

Exercise to tone

Although you might achieve your weight goal with just nutrition changes, exercise is also encouraged.

Ingrid Nelson, a personal trainer, suggests adding strength training to the mix. “You are going to see big changes in the body if you incorporate some strength training,” she says. “And if you are looking for weight loss, weight training supports that really well.” The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn.

Plus, “once the fat melts off, then what are you going to see?” Toned muscle is the goal.

Change the routine

If you are already active, Nelson says, consider switching your routine. If you are running long distance three to four times a week, add track work or interval training and strength training and see where it takes you.

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