Summer is just around the corner, which might mean that you’re scrambling for ways to lose some of that winter weight. If you want to feel confident in tank tops, short shorts, sun dresses and swimwear, you’ll want to be sure you’re in your best shape—especially if you got lax with your fitness routine in the off season.
While it’s not healthy to lose tons of weight in just a few weeks, there are a few things you can do make some noticeable changes to your figure before the calendar changes. There are three things you can do to slim down in time for summer that, while they take some work, will get you the best results.
How Can I Lose Fat Before Summer?
Before we get to three effective slimming strategies, let’s take a minute to discuss how your body actually loses fat. At a basic level, you lose fat when you burn more calories than you consume. You lose weight when your body starts burning through fat storage instead of the food (primarily of carbs) that you eat.
While you can’t target fat loss in any particular areas (that is up to your genetics), you can build muscle in the areas you target. For example, if you want to slim down your waist, you’ll want to follow a health plan that burns fat throughout the body. Then focus on building muscle in your core, which will look more toned when you lose the fat in that area.
Having said that, the body is complicated, and there are multiple contributing factors to weight loss. These include your starting weight, your mindset, your body shape, your genetics, your diet, your metabolism, your activity level and what kind of exercise routine you follow. Keep that in mind as you work on slimming down—especially in a short period of time.
Also remember that a scale is just one metric when it comes to looking and feeling your best. For some people it can be motivating to track weight loss, but for others it might be healthier to set goals and track progress using measurements, photos, clothing they want to fit into, or even creating new habits that you can keep up with in the long-term.
If you want to slim down in time for summer—and keep looking and feeling great in the long term—be sure to craft a realistic plan that is best suited for you. Be proud of and love your body from the very start and keep that mindset throughout your journey.
1. Start a Waist Training Regimen
One simple yet highly effective way to slim down for summer is to start wearing a waist trainer every day. This practice is otherwise known as “waist training” and is meant to supplement a healthy lifestyle routine.
If you’re not familiar with the term, a waist trainer is a slimming garment that provides firm compression around the midsection. It generates heat in your core and stimulates perspiration, while immediately slimming your waist by 1 to 3 inches. For the best results, you can wear a waist trainer 8 to 12 hours a day. Over time, you can plan to “size down” your waist trainer to a tighter setting as your waist gets slimmer.
- Wearing a waist trainer can help you size down in several ways. First, it immediately helps your midsection look slim and smooth, which can go a long way in creating a figure you love. Just putting it on can give you an immediate boost in confidence and will help your clothes fit better and look more flattering.
- Waist training can also help you stay motivated and on track with a healthy lifestyle. When you see yourself in the mirror—as well as the progress you make each week—you can get that additional motivating push to get active. With firm compression around your midsection, you’ll also be reminded not to overeat and to consume smaller meals throughout the day, which can help your metabolism.
- Wearing a workout waist trainer can also amplify your workouts by increasing their intensity with the added heat around your middle.
If you’re new to waist training, you’ll probably want to start with a latex garment that fastens in the front using hook-and-eye closures. The Best Waist Trainer by Hourglass Angel HA102 and Size Me Down Adjustable Waist Trainer by Hourglass Angel HA113 are ideal for beginners and have lots of space for adjustment if you want your waist trainer to size down with you.
While you might be eager to see your waist training results, be sure you start out correctly so that you’ll stay on track. It’s important that you order a waist trainer that fits correctly. Don’t make the mistake of ordering a size too small; this will not only be uncomfortable, but a smaller size looks actually looks less flattering when you wear it.
Wearing a waist trainer takes time to adjust to due to the firm compression. We recommend starting out slowly and working your way up to a full day of wear. This gives your body time to adjust and also helps break in the garment.
Start by wearing your new waist trainer for no more than an hour or two in the beginning. Slowly add a little more time each day. You may want to break up your waist training sessions into two per day once you’re wearing it longer, if you need a break. You can also take a day off if needed.
If you consistently wear your waist trainer with incremental increases every day, you should feel comfortable wearing it all day after a few weeks. By the time summer comes, you’ll feel sexy and confident knowing that you have a firm, slim midsection under all of your summer attire. That’s a big win, even if you don’t lose any weight!
2. Follow a Well-Balanced Exercise Plan
When it comes to slimming down for summer, it’s important to both lose fat and build muscle in order to achieve the best results. That’s why a well-balanced exercise plan is essential.
Too many people limit their results when they focus on only one type of exercise, like cardio. That might burn extra calories, but it won’t burn a lot of fat or build muscle tone in the area you want it.
A well-balanced exercise plan combines several types of exercise:
Strength training: You need to use some amount of resistance training, either with weights or your own body, in order to build muscle strength and tone. Strength training not only helps your muscles grow stronger, but it helps you burn fat and boosts your metabolism—even when you’re resting. Your body burns through a lot of calories when it’s building new muscle. You should aim to include strength training in your routine 2–3 times per week.
Varying degrees of cardio:There are numerous benefits to cardio, including your cardiovascular health and mental health, which can contribute to a healthier weight and better body image. Get the most bang for your buck by including high intensity interval cardio, which burns a lot of calories and provides many of the benefits of cardio in a fraction of the time.
Flexibility and balance: Prevent injury and improve your form with stretching, yoga, breathing exercises and more.
Remember, you can do daily exercise that combines all of these elements. You can also wear a workout band during most of these types of exercise to maximize your results.
3. Start a Sustainable Diet
While it can be tempting to start a restrictive crash diet in order to slim down for summer, don’t do it! You might lose a lot of weight quickly, but chances are you won’t be able to keep up with your progress, and your weight will just yo-yo back up.
A healthier approach is to make changes to your diet that you’re able to stick with. There are a few principles that are good for everyone:
- Avoid processed foods and sugar as much as possible.
- Eat several smaller meals each day instead of 2–3 large ones.
- Drink lots and lots of water while limiting alcohol, sugar and caffeine.
- Be mindful during mealtimes and chew slowly so you can stop when you’re full.
- Prepare ahead of time: a balance of whole foods including plant carbs, lean proteins and healthy fats.
- Find healthy food that you enjoy! And don’t beat yourself up when you get off track.
- Don’t starve yourself. You’ll be setting yourself up for bingeing later.
- Have occasional treats.
Talk to a certified nutritionist before trying any restrictive diets that eliminate food groups. Remember that while certain approaches may work for some people, they may not be best for you with your unique body chemistry.
If you’re serious about slimming down for summer —and beyond—these three lifestyle changes can help you see results quickly as well as keep them in the long term. Good luck!