8 Ways to Jumpstart Your Diet Before Beach Season

Get ready for beach season! (photo: Getty)
Get ready for beach season! (photo: Getty)

Yes, its still snowing and the bitter weather isn't showing any signs of letting up, but beach season is fast approaching-at least measured in "how many days to I have to get in shape?" time. It's hard to believe, but soon we'll be trading mom jeans and bulky sweaters for bikinis and bathing trunks, and now is the perfect time to embrace healthy eating and exercise and drop a few pounds a long the way.

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Best-selling author Ian K. Smith, M.D, is an expert at helping people lose weight and get in shape fast, without compromising their health. His most recent book, Super Shred: The Big Results Diet, which is currently on the New York Times bestseller list, outlines what he calls, "a destination diet for the goal-oriented person who wants faster, more dramatic results right away." He adds that the plan is geared for those, "who have a specific target they need to reach by a certain date-a beach vacation, reunion, wedding" or who have orders from their physician to lose weight quickly.

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Smith shared with Yahoo Shine his favorite tips for jumpstarting your diet and exercise goals:

Forget 60 minutes in a gym. It's hard for many people to commit to that amount of time and you can achieve great results in less than half an hour in your own home. The best workout is called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which involves short burst of energy and followed by brief periods of rest. HIIT burns more calories than an hour of steady-state exercise such as walking on a treadmill. To get started, try the SHRED 27 Burn workout offered at www.shredlife.com. A recent article in the New York Times outlines the latest research on the effectiveness of HIIT and offers a free, 20-minute video.

Split up your workout between morning and night. Bookending your workout boosts your metabolism throughout most of the day. You're burning calories even while sitting at your desk. Try it once a week.

Snack like a champion. Strategic snacking can help you reduce your overall calorie intake while at the same time curbing hunger. Once a week, choose a day where you eat two regular meals and 4 snacks. Each snack must be 150 calories or less and separated by no more than 2 hours.

After 2 PM, stay away from meats and focus on plant-based foods. This is a major principle of Super SHRED. Eating vegetarian at night and heavier meals early in the day will provide you with more fiber and fewer calories when your metabolism is naturally slowing down and it's harder to burn those extra calories.

Do the cardio-muscle toning tango. If you like working out a gym, rather than do all of your cardio on one day and then saving the muscle toning for another, do them in the same day by switching from one exercise to another. For example, perform 10 minutes on the treadmill of walking/running sprints then do a round of leg extensions on the machine for muscle toning. Your muscles will tell you about it later, but the results are fast. This principle can also be followed when working out at home as well.

Consume one liquid meal a day. Once a day, choose a soup, smoothie, or protein shake as a meal replacement. This will help cut your overall daily calorie intake. Make sure they are 200 calories or less and not loaded with sugar. Fresh is always best if possible and include both fruit and veggies into your smoothie or shake.

Work out at your desk. Sneak in a little exercise whenever you can. Here are two easy moves you can do right at your desk every day for 5 minutes or less. Work your triceps by grabbing the end of your seat with your hands, palm down and knuckles forward, and dip down till your rump almost hits the floor, then push yourself back up. Keep your elbows and shoulder blades squeezed together. For an ab strengthener, sit at the edge of your your chair and bring your knees up to your chest to one at a time. Do 10 reps each leg.

Choose one low-calorie day a week. It's what I call calorie disruption. Going low calories for just one day can actually be a trigger for rapid weight loss. Try to cut out 40% of your calories, so if you typically consume 2000 calories in a day, schedule one day where you only consume 1200. There is interesting new research on how intermittent fasting can be more effective then daily calorie restriction. Its challenging but remember, its only 24 hours.

For more information on Smith's diet plans and exercise tips, visit his website, driansmith.com.

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