Although bikini season is probably the last thing on your mind right now, you probably have at least one or two big events you want to look great for this holiday season.
There are winter weddings, high school reunions and that one great aunt who constantly pesters you about your weight at Thanksgiving.
With us yet? Good.
Although we very much encourage you to make a healthy, non-extreme weight loss plan you can stick to, we understand sometimes things don't just pan out that way.
After all, it seems there's always pizza to be eaten and beer to drink.
So if you're guilty of too much pizza-eating and beer-drinking and only have so much time before whichever event you swore you'd be skinny for, you're not alone.
We consulted "Should I Scoop Out My Bagel?" authors Hallie Rich and Ilyse Schapiro (who also happen to be health experts) for tips on how to fit into that little black dress when you only have so much time.
When you have two weeks...
OK, so you have two weeks before your freshman year roommate's wedding. And your ex, who dumped you via Facebook message, will be there.
You have the perfect dress, but you'd really like to lose about a few pounds before facing him. Good news: It's doable!
Rich and Schapiro recommend starting with snacks. Put down the pretzels and chips and go for healthier (but just as crunchy) alternatives like carrots, cucumbers, celery or peppers.
They also recommend ditching the processed foods for a couple weeks. They explain,
They’re not natural and your body often doesn’t know how to digest them. They also tend to have tons of sugar and/or fat, which won’t do your figure any favors. Be careful with salads and avoid too many toppings (cheese, bacon, nuts), starchy veggies (corn and peas) and don’t drown it in dressing.
They also recommend eating breakfast between 60 and 90 minutes of waking up to stabilize blood sugar and keep your appetite in check, switching up workouts (jog one day, lift weights the next) in order to see quicker results and, of course, getting enough sleep.
The more restful you are night, the more likely you are to make better choices during the day and make smarter choices when it comes to your health and eating habits. Not getting enough sleep can actually stimulate appetite. Lack of sleep affects appetite hormones in your body and can lead to cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods.
That doesn't sound too hard, does it?
When you have a few days...
There's nothing worse than continuing to put off making healthier choices and realizing you only have a few days before you have to squeeze into your skinny jeans before your aunt's holiday party.
So, how can you make the best of it?
Although you probably can't lose five pounds, you can make a few changes that will give you results quickly.
Rich and Schapiro recommend drinking lots of water and increasing fiber intake and avoiding excess sodium (hello, bloat).
They also recommend laying off artificial sweeteners, gum and sugar-free candy, as all of these can lead to a distended stomach and gassiness. And skip the diet soda and alcohol -- stick to water and seltzer.
As for restaurants and takeout, forget it.
Rich and Schapiro explain,
By preparing your own food, you will be able to be in control of what you eat when. Also, use smaller plates so you are guaranteed to use portion control. Try not to eat out or get take out. Restaurants tend to prepare big dishes and large sides, which can mean more calories and fat. As delicious as their meals may be, remembering how you have to squeeze into that outfit in a few days may make your home cooking seem a bit more appetizing.
Yep, it's time to blend up a lot of green smoothies.
When it gets unsafe.
Before we send you off into the world of fitting perfectly into your little black dress, we should make one thing clear: You should never, ever do anything harmful to your health in the name of losing weight.
On the subject of taking it too far, Rich and Schapiro say you should never eat less than 1,200 calories per day.
Not only might the weight loss be short-term, but you might suffer from dizziness, fatigue, headaches, dehydration and constipation. The best bet is to have a healthy strategy that focuses on everything in moderation and knowing your triggers so that you can plan accordingly and maintain balance.