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The Blonde Cucina: Beach Bodies Are Made in the Winter

by and on March 08, 2015 1:00 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 is going to be here before you know it; getting that bathing suit ready body is going to take a while; and you need to realize 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 already March folks.

Remember, a healthy amount of weight to lose is one to two pounds per week.  So realistically if you’re planning an August get-a-way then you have just about 20-25 weeks to prepare or 20-25 pounds you can lose depending on how you want to look at it. 

Now I know in this high-paced eat-and-go, colossal-portion life-style, eating and maintaining a healthy weight can be very, very hard.  I know all of us have tried numerous diets and some work and some do not. 

Well, as I said, it’s a life style change and not a temporary fix. You need to remember that 3,500 calories is equal to about one pound of body 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. 500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories or 1 pound of fat.  If you need to you should keep track of your eating. Most people under count their calories. Use your smart phone and find an app or simply write it down.

So, if the math is so super 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 life style change ... because it is. There are somethings you can do to help with this new life style you adopt to help you make smart choices, not feel hangry, and will win the battle of the bathing suit war.

Remember the tortoise wins the race for a reason ... 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 … its water and muscle. 

Set goals to keep you motivated. Just be sure your goals 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 that you end up setting yourself up for failure and you will either give up and pack on more pounds or become obsessive and those negative impacts I spoke about earlier will rear their ugly little heads. 

Here are a few tips that will have a huge impact on you:

  • Pay attention to what you’re eating – remember that salad might not be the best choice!
  • 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 feel full.
  • Avoid distractions while you eat – mindless over-eating is way too easy.

To lose weight you have to eat fewer calories, as I said earlier. BUT, BUT, BUT that doesn’t mean you have to eat less. You can get full while you diet as long as you make the right life style choices. 

Here’s a little secret: eating fiber is the answer to feeling full when losing weight. Foods like: fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains will help you feel full. Now, I’m sure I don’t need to say this, but you should eat raw fruit and vegetables, steamed, vegetables -- stay away from the fried and breaded vegetables. 

Instead of filling your whole cereal bowl with cereal leave space and add tasty fresh fruit.  When you have a sandwich , forget the cheese or scale back on the meat and and add a crunchy addition like cucumbers. There’s little corners you can cut here and there to train your brain and stomach to crave these healthier options. 

Now I’m going to give you some great 100 calorie snacks and healthy meal options that will help you be full and get ready for that beach by August. I know I have given you lots of information, but please remember these tips that have always helped me and believe me you’ll see a difference -- but not overnight. As I said, slow and steady wins this life style race.

  • Eat within an hour of waking up to get your metabolism going
  • Eat every 3 hours to keep your metabolism going
  • Do at least 60 minutes of cardio 5-6 times a week
  • Water, water, water — that diet soda may say diet but it’s ruining your hard work


Cucumbers and Cream Cheese

Cut one 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.

Homemade Tzatziki Sauce and broccoli florets

Make a quick tzatziki sauce at home, combine 2 tablespoons plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed  lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon minced cucumber and dash of fresh cracked pepper. Dip six large florets into the sauce.

Turkey Sandwich

One slice whole-wheat whole grain bread and spread with 1 teaspoon honey mustard. Top with two slices of turkey.

Babybel and Apples

Laughing Cow Mini Babybel Light cheese wheel with half an apple.

Rice Cake and Almond Butter

Top a plain rice cake with 2 teaspoons almond butter.  This can be found at any store.

Baked Apple

Simple low-cal version: core an apple, dust it with cinnamon, and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (or until tender, but not mushy)

Watermelon Salad

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

Chili-Lime Shrimp

Toss 10 large boiled shrimp in 1 tablespoon lime juice. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon chili powder.


P.S. The watermelon salad and chili-lime shrimp make a great meal!

I know I have given you lots of information, but remember slow and steady will win your life style race to be beach body ready. It does take time.

Remember, you didn’t put those extra pounds on overnight.  It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.  Anyone can do this as long as they want it bad enough. Are you ready? 

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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

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]
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