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9 Tips to Lose Weight for Bikini Season

Written by Jennifer Strailey

losing weight in time for bikini season Tired of starving yourself in order to squeeze into your swimsuit by summer? Check out our nine ways to slim down without dieting.

"Bikini". How can a word jiggling with so much glee and sunshine fill me with so much dread? Truth be told, even a one-piece bathing suit with a skirt scares me right now. To make matters worse: I refuse to go on a diet.

I don't have to and neither do you, but we do need to be realistic. So here are nine ways to make friends with Lycra without making food your enemy. 

1. Break a sweat often. Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, six to seven days a week, advises fitness expert Karen Andes. 

2. Strength train two times a week. Muscle burns more calories than fat. Add three pounds of muscle to your frame and you'll speed your metabolism by as much as 7 percent. At first, focus on doing the weightlifting exercises properly, says Andes. Then take the intensity up a notch so you aim for failure.  In other words, work your muscles until you can't do another rep.

3. Banish processed foods. Skip the snacks and convenience foods, and keep white flour out of your diet.

4. Use low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Supplement or substitute the low- and fat-free dairy products with dairy alternatives such as soymilk, rice milk or soy cheese.

5. Eat slowly and enjoy your food. The slower you eat, the less you are likely to consume.

6. Minimize it; don't super size it. Eat frequent, small meals.  400 to 500 calories at each meal if female, 500 to 600 each if male. Eat more, even in the form of non-fat food, and your body will probably store it as fat, warns Pat Booth, assistant director of the Nutrition Services Department at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. Active women can eat 1,500 to 2,500 calories a day. Active men can eat 2,000 to 3,000, depending on size and how active you are. Ideally, every time you eat, your plate should have a little protein, a little fat and a little fibrous bulk to ensure you feel full and satisfied.

7. Eat man, don't drink woman. There are a whopping 140 calories in each can of Coke you slurp down with lunch. Add juices, lattes and alcohol to your diet and you need a calculator to tally the calories that don't do a thing for your fullness. Stick to drinking water and tea and eat your daily calorie intake.

8. Become a water baby. Don't forget to drink those eight glasses of water a day (some doctors actually even suggest as much as 10 glasses).  People who exercise need to drink even more to replenish lost fluids.

9. Don't call it quits with carbs. No-carb diets are a fettuccine Alfredo binge waiting to happen, says Andes. But while you needsome carbs for energy, it's a good idea to lighten up on carbs at dinner. Eat half your normal portion of rice, potatoes or pasta. Fill up instead on all the vegetables you want.

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