You’ve invested in some sweet and sexy underpinnings in anticipation of Valentine’s Day, and now you’re wondering how to erase the evidence of your daily donut intake stat, so you can actually have fun strutting around in it. Fret not: We’ve got five healthy steps you can take to look and feel your best by February 14.
Lingerie + Confidence = Success
Modify Your Workout
Though professional opinions are mixed, studies have shown that morning cardio on an empty stomach can burn 20% more calories than exercise done after eating breakfast. Whichever you choose, your workout should involve some kind of high intensity cardio interval training. Enter: Tabata workouts. When done properly, which means you're feeling a bit like you might pass out, Tabata can burn more fat in four minutes than a traditional 60-minute cardio workout. You can choose any cardio activity (running, biking, etc.). The trick is to do it at the highest intensity possible for 20 seconds, then rest 10 seconds, then go hard for 20, and so on and so on, for four minutes total (or longer, for even better results). If you need a little guidance, we love these Tabata workouts by BexLife.
Make A Few Dietary Tweaks
This is not the same thing as a crash diet—do not starve yourself. Instead, on a short-term basis, avoid large dinners and skip dessert. Eliminate carbs after 4pm, though healthy foods like sweet potatoes and brown rice aren't going to destroy your efforts, and they may help you avoid cravings for more sugary carbs. Try snacking on healthy fats, like avocado or nuts, as your body will use them as fuel. And double down on veggies, which help you feel full faster.
Beat The Bloat
Many foods you probably eat every day are natural diuretics, including leafy greens, asparagus, beets, grapes, pineapples, garlic, bananas, berries, watermelon and onions. Hydration also helps reduce bloating, with the added benefit of being a metabolism booster. Probiotics or yogurt can help as well. Items to avoid: salt, alcohol, raw broccoli, soda and anything with added sodium (like canned soup or frozen meals).
Fake A Tan
This is our favorite piece of advice, because it's also the easiest. A (good) spray tan will immediately make you look and feel slimmer and more toned. You can also use an at-home self-tanner—here are our favorites.
Wait, we lied—this is our favorite piece of advice. Massages reduce the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked to weight gain, while increasing feel-good hormones like dopamine. They also help ease bloating. So treat yourself! And also make sure you're getting enough sleep, as your body's appetite-suppressing leptin levels plummet when you're sleep-deprived, while appetite-stimulating ghrelin levels skyrocket.