Get your body beach beautiful

Knowing that that summer is officially upon us may fill you with dread as much as it gives you a thrill. The thought of pouring our pasty bodies into a swimsuit is enough to send most of us reeling to the cookie jar. But perhaps an extra bit of motivation is exactly what you need.

Summer brings with it cravings for lighter, healthier foods, glorious fruit and weather that makes you want to jump out of bed, so it can be an excellent time to give your weight loss a boost.

Jane O’Shea, an Accredited Practising Dietitian at the University of Wollongong said that studies have shown that summer and the New Year are the most popular times to start a weight loss program. However, an individual’s motivation and frame of mind are the best indicators of whether they will be successful or not. “The key to successful weight loss lies in a mental shift,” she said.

Give your body and your mind a boost in time for summer with these 10 tips.

1. Eco-friendly exercise
Get back to nature with one of the many outdoor boot camps running in parks or at the beach in the warmer months. Other fun outdoor activities include bushwalking, horse riding and rock climbing. As well as being beneficial for weight loss, UK researchers from the University of Essex found just five minutes in a green space, such as a nature trail, can improve your overall health and wellbeing.

2. Give your tastebuds a makeover
You may miss the taste of added sugar or salt if you eliminate it from your diet, but stick with it because the cravings will stop, O’Shea advised. “People’s tastebuds do change after a very short period without a sweet food that keeps promoting a desire for sweet things,” she explained. “You can change the way you desire certain foods.”

3. Have a dressing down so you can dress up
While salads are a great option in summer, it’s best to lay low on the dressings. “Watch the extras – you have a beautiful salad prepared and then you’re going to spoil it all by adding a blob of mayonnaise,” O’Shea said. She suggested low-fat options such as a squeeze of lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs and spices or a sprinkle of toasted almonds.

4. Hula hoop your way to health and fitness
Turn child’s play into an exercise program with a hula hoop. As well as twirling your way to a toned stomach, a weighted hula hoop can burn up to 600 calories an hour according to Christabel Zamor, author of Hooping: A Revolutionary Fitness Program. Other fun summer workouts to increase your core strength and cardiovascular fitness include skipping, tennis and beach volleyball.

5. Add the entree but lose the rich dessert
O’Shea suggested having an entree rather than a rich desert when dining out. In fact, she said that if you have a salad or a soup before you have a main meal, overall, you’re likely to go easier on your main course. “They are filling, they are satisfying and you ultimately eat less”. However, it’s best to bypass creamy, rich soups or low energy density salads.

6. Get a killer butt and legs
Studies show that outdoor cycling or an indoor spin class can be some of the best calorie burners. As well as increasing your cardiovascular fitness and fat burning, cycling can also sculpt and shape your legs, hips and butt. While you can’t spot reduce, you can tone your lower body with simple exercises, such as squats and walking lunges in the gym or outside in the fresh air.

7. Be mindful of mindless eating
Try to always be aware of what you’re eating and not eat simply out of habit. O’Shea calls this mindless eating. “Very often when you get home from work, the first thing you do is go to the fridge because you are hungry. Is that a habit or are you eating because you are hungry?” O’Shea questioned. Be conscious of what you’re eating and think before you eat.

8. Shed your winter skin
As the weather heats up, get your skin in great summer shape and achieve healthy skin from the inside out. Foods known to promote smooth and radiant skin are oily fish, salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds, which include omega 3 fatty acids. Drinking plenty of water is a must for hydrated skin and it can also reduce cellulite when combined with an exercise program.

9. 90% good and 10% treat rule
Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the good eating wagon in summer. “People should not be too hard on themselves when they have a bad day or they have a social occasion to go,” O’Shea said. “We bring in the 90% good and the 10% treat rule. We want people to make a fundamental lifestyle change but you can’t eliminate all foods that you enjoy.”

10. Change your weight loss mentality
O’Shea said that weight loss is more of a long-term lifestyle plan than a short-term diet. “Usually people have put on a lot of weight over a long period of time and there’s not a quick fix. It is usually a lifestyle change if you want to lose the weight and maintain it,” she said.

Originally published on The Biggest Loser Club website. Copyright Gillian Nalletamby 2011. Follow me on Twitter or subscribe to email notifications.


  1. Heidi McElnea, 16 January 2011, 8:35 pm

    Wow – hula hoop fitness. I hope the book has tips for people like me who can only keep a hula hoop airborne for about 12 seconds. Can’t imagine doing it for an hour though. Mind boggling 🙂

  2. Gillian, 16 January 2011, 8:42 pm

    You have two little girls – no excuses! Grab a hold of their hulu hoop and start practising! My personal best is a minute 🙂


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