7 Plans for a Summer Slim-down ...

Jeez, I need to lose weight for summer. I'm sure I'm not the only one, either. It's so hard to get motivated, though, and it's even harder to know when and where to start. Well, the time to start is now, and here are some plans for a summer slim-down that will show you where to start. Although it will take a lot of will power, slimming down for summer is surprisingly easy – you just have to be willing to do the leg work.

1. Set a (Realistic) Goal

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Setting a realistic, attainable goal is the first solid plan for a summer slim-down. You're not going to be able to lose 100 or even 50 pounds by summer, at least not if you lose weight in ways that are safe and healthy, but you can get slimmer between then and now. You have to have something to work toward, though, even if you start out small. Say you want to lose 5 pounds first, and then you won't overwhelm yourself.

2. Have Something to Look Forward to

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In addition to having a goal, you need to have an event to look toward, something to look forward to that will act as a motivator. Maybe you have plans to go to the beach this summer, or even to attend a pool party. Sometimes an event like that can help motivate you to stick to your new diet, and give you the little push you need to exercise each day. I know I need something like that, otherwise I procrastinate and never meet a single goal.

3. Banish the Temptations

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Like Oscar Wilde, I can resist everything except temptation. If there are cookies in the house, I'm probably going to eat them. Some of you out there might have the will power needed to just ignore all the bad, delicious, fattening food in the house. I both hate and envy you. For those of us who have problems with that, then here's another plan for a summer slim-down. You have to get rid of all those temptations! Clean out your refrigerator and banish the bad food from your pantry. For that matter, get rid of the things you know you'll never eat, like that can of chick peas that's been there since the Y2K scare.

4. Eat Smart

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Now you're ready to start eating the right foods – and the right way. Eat five to six small meals a day, rather than three huge meals. When you go out to restaurants, immediately half your portions and take the leftovers home. Eat breakfast every single day and try eating something like oatmeal and fruit, which will help keep you feeling full throughout the day.

5. Change It up

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It goes without saying that exercise is enormously important to losing weight. However, although you may think an exercise routine is the best thing, it's actually the worst thing you can do. Rather than getting into a fitness rut, change up your routine every four weeks or so. That way, you will keep challenging yourself and your muscles will not get complacent.

6. Get outside

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With the weather getting so beautiful out, making sure to spend as much time as possible outside is a great plan for a summer slim-down. Being out in the sun will give you lots more energy, and there are lots of ways you can exercise while still having fun. Besides, again, being under the sun will act as a motivator for slimming down.

7. Shop Well

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How you shop is also important. Choose fresh, healthy foods, try changing white bread for wheat bread and, perhaps most importantly, never go shopping while you are hungry! Don't buy huge portions of things, and look for lighter foods. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt is a great idea, as are other lightweight but filling snacks.

It's especially hard to lose weight for summertime because although you want to look your best, you may also feel afraid. Sometimes fear can keep you from ever beginning any plans for a summer slim-down. How do you keep fear at bay and keep yourself motivated so that you can lose weight?

Top Photo Credit: ScalesCure

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