Although it’s still a few months away, bikini season is approaching more quickly than you might realize. For many women, the weeks and months leading up to summer consist of a stressful frenzy of crash diets and outrageous exercise plans that are better suited for a trained marathon athlete than a beginner in the gym.
Stop using unhealthy and—let’s face it—largely ineffective crash-dieting techniques in an attempt to transform your body for bikini season. Strict fasts, juice cleanses, and insane ab challenges usually just end up doing damage to your physical and mental health and leave you right where you started once summer arrives and you start shopping for bikinis. This year, prep for bikini season in smarter, healthier ways to make lasting change and achieve a body you love and feel proud of before summer rolls around.
If you’ve ever tried to get into shape two weeks before it’s time to embark on your annual beach vacay, you know how hard—try impossible—it is to achieve your “perfect body” in a rush just to fit into a sexy bikini. Making lasting, healthy changes to your body takes time. It is much more effective and better for your mental and physical health to start making changes to your diet and exercise as early as possible—at least a few months before you want to reach your ultimate fitness goals.
Start with small changes by incorporating simple, healthier diet and exercise-related habits into your daily schedule. These small changes are easier to get used to and less of a challenge to incorporate into your normal life than major alterations like crash diets. Over time, they will lead to the real physical change you want to see and help you maintain the body you want year-round.
Drink More Water
Much of the puffiness and bulge that you mistake for signs that your body is out of shape might be easier to get rid of than you think. In fact, visible symptoms that mimic fat are often just bloating from dehydration or excess sodium intake.
The easiest and most effective way to get rid of water weight is to drink more water. Very few women actually drink as much water as they should on a daily basis. Stay hydrated by drinking at least eight cups of water every day. Remind yourself to drink more water by setting alarms on your phone to go off every couple of hours. Every time one of your alarms sounds, drink one or two cups of water. Repeat this process until you’ve met your goal for the day.
Embrace Your Body As Is
An important—but difficult—truth that every woman needs to accept is that your body can be bikini-ready no matter what it looks like. While it might be a major challenge—especially for women who struggle with severe body insecurities—learning to embrace your body without trying to change it is totally worth it in the long run.
It’s easy to want to change your body to make it look more like you think it should. The truth is that there is no right or wrong way for your body to look. Even if you’re unable to reach your bikini-body goals by the time summer rolls around, that doesn’t mean you can’t turn heads on the beach. Remind yourself that your body is beautiful no matter what it looks like, and boost your confidence by shopping for flattering bikinis that enhance your figure just the way it is.