8007283533_747a31b731With bathing suit season only 3 months away, getting that sexy beach bod is on everybody's mind. Whether you want to shed that winter coat or simply tone up your abs, getting your body ready for summer is going to take some hard work and dedication. But don't fret! This article will take you through a few simple steps that will help you get in shape without starving yourself all while having a little fun along the way.

Step 1: Do it for YOU
Before you start losing weight, make sure you're doing it for yourself. Your body is your own and if losing weight means becoming more confident, you're on the right path.

Step 2: Set realistic goals
Dropping more than 2-3 pounds a week in considered unhealthy. If you try to lose more than that, you're actually doing more harm to your body than good. Restricting your diet to less than 1,200 calories a day will end up slowing down your metabolism in the long run. Keep that metabolism healthy by filling your body up with fruits and veggies throughout the day.

Step 3: It's all about a lifestyle change
Instead of going on a 2 week crash diet consider changing your eating habits permanently. Before the word permanently scares you away, know that changing your lifestyle can be easy!

Reduce your calorie intake. This is the fastest way to lose weight. The amount of calories you should consume depends on your height and weight so be sure to consult your doctor or use an online calorie calculator to make sure youre eating the right amount.

Keep a food journal. Those who write down everything they eat tend to lose more weight than those who don't. There are lots of on-line and mobile apps that make it super easy to track your eating and this will keep you aware of how many calories you are eating throughout the day. Also, avoid eating after 8pm.

Cut the empty carbs! Bread, rice, chips and pasta are just a few examples of empty carbs. Try replacing these carb packed foods with lean proteins like meats and cheeses.

Eliminate the junk food. Instead of snacking on chips and soda after school, try munching on carrots, celery and ranch dressing instead. Cut out the carbonated sweetened drinks, too!

Drink water! Staying hydrated is crucial. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. This will keep you full between meals, help you snack less, and keep your body at a good energy level throughout the day.

Step 4: Exercise
Come up with an exercise plan and stick to it! Whether you enjoy running, playing sports, or weight training, make sure you do something active at least once a day. THM has some great workout videos if you need some help getting started. Some other ways to sneak exercise into your day is by riding your bike or walking to school if you live close enough. Also, doing light chores around the house or taking your dogs on a brisk walk can burn more calories than you think!

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