Couple on the BeachWant to look your best and feel confident in your swimsuit this season? Make these easy diet and exercise changes to slim down and tone up. You’ll be beach ready before you know it.

Take these steps to slim down

Getting started:

  • Start where you are by determining how much weight you plan to lose; and by when: I will lose 10 pounds by June 1. Consider snapping your “before” photo.
  • Break that down into weekly goals to increase your chances of success and feelings of accomplishment. For example: if you plan to lose 10 pounds, your weekly weight loss goal might be 2 or 3 pounds. Realistic goals help you stay on track and encouraged. Get on the scale once each week on Wednesday.
  • Plan meals that support your slim down goals. Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Opt for at least 5 servings per day. Include whole grains, protein and fiber – aim for 25 to 40 grams per day. Increase incrementally to avoid gastrointestinal distress. Protein and fiber will help you feel satisfied longer and keep your digestive system running smoothly. Good choices include leafy greens, lean chicken and nuts in moderation. Finally, keep healthy snacks on hand so you always reach for the good stuff. If you know that you have no willpower around foods that derail your swimsuit plan, ban them from the house. Ask your family to support, or even join, you in this.

Going the distance

Hispanic woman doing a pilates plank for fitnessHealthy eating habits are only part of the equation. The other part is activity. Look for ways to include regular exercise in your schedule as well as ways to stay active and move more all day.

  • Try for at least 40 minutes of cardio four times a week (go for three to start if you need to). You can do 20 minutes two times each day if that fits more easily into your schedule. A bonus of breaking it up is the double dose of post exercise calorie burning power you get.
  • Mix it up to keep yourself interested. Try intervals to boost the power of your workout. You can do this by adding brief periods of jogging to your walking routine. In fact, you can do this with any routine. Simply up your level of exertion from about 5 on a scale of 1 to 10 to about 8 every few minutes.
  • Get up and walk around at least once an hour throughout the day.
  • If you can’t get to the gym, you can also try this at home circuit training plan for head to toe toning:
    • Jump rope or jog in place – burns calories and boosts heart and bone health.
    • Squats – tones quads, hamstrings and calves. Stand with feet a bit wider than hip width apart, toes facing forward. Bend your knees to sit as if meeting a chair. Take care not to let the knees go past your toes.
    • Bicep curls – tones arms. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Your feet should be hip width apart. Engage your core and lift each weight to the front of your shoulders. Lower and repeat.
    • Plank – tones your abs – Get into push up position. Elbows should be directly below your shoulders. Use your hands to push the body up; your feet should be resting on your toes and the body in the form a straight line.
    • Lunges – tones glutes, strengthens hips and core. Stand with feet hip width apart. Step forward with the right foot and slowly lower both knees no more than 90 degrees. Repeat with opposite feet.
    • Kettlebell swing – tones hips, glutes and hamstrings. Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart . Bend forward from your hips and grasp the kettlebell. Stand and swing the kettlebell forward with arms fully extended until it reaches chin height. Lower through your thighs with knees soft.
    • Glute bridge – tones your bottom and strengthens your back. To do this lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line between knees and shoulders. Clasp your hands under your bottom and hold.


Do each exercise for 30 to 60 seconds. Go for two sets when time permits. Remind yourself often about why you are doing this. You can do it!