State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

The Blonde Cucina: Beach bodies are made in the winter

by on March 04, 2015 3:16 PM

I’m sure with all of the cold weather and snow, none of us have really thought about summer. When it comes to creating that beach body, you need to remember a few things: Summer and your vacation are going to be here before you know it, getting that bathing suit ready body is going to take awhile, and it’s a lifestyle change, not a quick fix.

Even though there is still snow on the ground and you’re wearing sweats to bed, it’s March, folks. Remember, a healthy amount of weight to lose is 1 to 2 pounds per week. So, realistically, if you’re planning an August getaway, you have just about 20 to 25 weeks to prepare, or 20 to 25 pounds to lose, depending on how you want to look at it.

Now, I know in this fast-paced, eat-and-go, colossal-portion nation, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight can be very, very hard. I know all of us have tried numerous diets; some work, some don't. Again, it’s a lifestyle change, not a temporary fix.

You need to remember that 3,500 calories is equal to about 1 pound of fat. So, if you are planning to lose those 20 pounds by August, you need to cut 500 calories a day. (Simple math, and let me tell you, I’m not the greatest at math.) Most people under count their calories. Use your smart phone and find an app or simply write it down so you can keep up with the math.

So, if that math was so simple, why do people have such a hard time losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle? There are always these new diet pills, and new diet fads … and let me tell you, those diets will always leave you “hangry” (hungry and angry). Notice, I keep saying it’s a lifestyle change, because it is. There are some things you can do to help with this new lifestyle you are adopting:

Remember, the tortoise wins the race for a reason, so be slow and steady.

If you lose too much weight too fast, it can actually have a negative impact on your body and mind. And, folks, that super-quick weight you lost isn’t fat — it's water and muscle.

Set goals to keep you motivated — just ensure they are realistic.

Saying you want to lose 75 pounds and fit into that bikini for your beach vacation is not realistic. When you have an unrealistic goal like this, you end up setting yourself up for failure and you will either give up and pack on more pounds.

Pay attention to what you’re eating.

Remember, that salad might not be the best choice if it's loaded with dressing and “extras.”

Eat slowly.

The faster you eat, the more food you consume, and your brain and stomach cannot keep the same pace.

Stop eating before you’re full.

If you stop before you’re full, wait a few minute and your stomach and brain will come together and you will actually be full.

Avoid distractions while you eat.

Mindless overeating is way too easy, so focus on your meal, not the television or something else.

Eat within an hour of waking up to get your metabolism going.

Eat every three hours to keep your metabolism going.

Do at least 60 minutes of cardio exercises, five to six times a week.

Drink water. That diet soda may say “diet,” but it may be ruining your hard work by making you crave sweets.

To lose weight, you have to eat fewer calories. But, that doesn’t mean you have to eat less food. You can get full while you diet, as long as you make the right lifestyle choices.

For example, eating fiber is the answer to feeling full when losing weight. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains will help you feel full. Now, I’m sure I don’t need to say this, but eat raw fruit and raw or steamed vegetables, and stay away from the fried and breaded vegetables. Instead of filling your whole bowl with cereal, leave space and add tasty fresh fruit. When you have a sandwich, leave off the cheese or scale back on the meat and add a crunchy addition such as cucumbers.

Here are some great 100-calorie snacks and healthy meal options that will help you feel full and get ready for that August beach trip:


Cut 1 medium cucumber into long strips. Combine 2 tablespoons diced roasted red or green peppers and 2 tablespoons low-fat whipped cream cheese. Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the strips.


Combine 2 tablespoons plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon minced cucumber and a dash of freshly cracked pepper. Dip 6 large broccoli florets into the sauce.


Spread 1 teaspoon of honey mustard on 1 slice whole-wheat bread. Top with 2 slices of turkey.


Enjoy 1 Laughing Cow Mini Babybel Light cheese wheel with 1/2 of an apple.


Top a 1 plain rice cake with 2 teaspoons almond butter.


Core 1 apple, dust it with cinnamon and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until tender, but not mushy.


Top 1 cup raw spinach with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 3/4 cup diced seedless watermelon.


Toss 10 large boiled shrimp in 1 tablespoon lime juice. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon chili powder. Makes a great meal when paired with Watermelon Salad.


Ciara Semack is the owner of The Blonde Bistro in Bellefonte. She is the mother of one and a lifelong resident of Centre County. Her column appears every other week in the Gazette. Questions, suggestions and comments can be directed to [email protected]
Disclaimer: Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.