Eek – spring is here, which means bikini season is almost upon us! If you want to be sure you’re perfectly bikini-ready – the time to start is now!
If you find yourself regretting all those times you chose to skip spinning class, or taking advantage of that winter body special at your favourite beauty clinic, all’s not lost…
As your body emerges from its woolly wrapping cocoon, your skin may be looking a bit dull, dry and coarse.
Time to get glowing! Exfoliation to get rid of all those layers of old, dry skin works wonders. You can make your own delicious, eco-friendly sugar scrub by mixing a cup of brown sugar with half a cup of coconut and almond oils. Adding three drops of grapefruit or mint essential oil can also have a stimulating effect.
Dampen your skin and apply it in circular motions in the shower, focusing on your back, elbows, feet and heels, which are probably in desperate need of TLC. Rinse off, pat yourself dry, leaving skin slightly damp, then apply a body oil or cream to give your skin a real moisture infusion.
Dare we mention the undergrowth? Do we need an industrial-strength weed-whacker to let your legs, underarms and bikini line see the light of day? Shaving is your quickest option, but it requires regular maintenance. Waxing lasts a few weeks, but has an ouch factor, although regular waxing will lessen the hair growth as it becomes weaker. Your longest term fuzz-free option is a course of hair removal laser at a reputable skincare clinic. It’s also the most expensive, and should ideally be done in winter, as sun exposure on freshly lasered skin can cause pigmentation. If you do do it now, make sure you protect that area from the sun for at least six weeks afterwards.
Bronze up You know what’s coming… the only safe tan is a fake one! Start experimenting with your self-tan technique if you want brown legs.
Sexy sandal feet are only a pedicure away. Treat yourself with a professional one to get your tootsies twinkling, and follow up with home maintenance.
Spot check If it isn’t already a regular fixture in your calendar, book a visit to a dermatologist for a complete body check to identify any troublesome moles. They can keep track of any changes with mole mapping. If you’re worried about any changes, bleeding, itching, etc. Don’t delay. Check it out!
Be ruthless! Don’t be tempted to use last summer’s half-finished sunscreen, especially if it’s been sitting in your car all year. Please throw it away! Air exposure and heat can break down the active ingredients, and you want to know that your sunscreen is doing its job of protecting your skin.
If you haven’t quite had the time to hit the gym, and your six pack is more of the hotdog roll variety, a subtle shift in focus is required.
What’s your best asset? Eyes, hair? Whatever it is, that’s where the focus should be. Remember that most people are not nearly as critical of you as you are, so relax and don’t stress about any perceived imperfections. Remember that flowing sarongs and cute board shorts can hide a multitude of sins, too.
Exercise is, of course, a good way to get bikini-ready, and this is the time to up your cardio – adding just five minutes to your regular workout time will make a difference. Make sure your workout includes some crunches, calf raises, rowing, squats and lunges. If you don’t already do so, swap one of your regular workout days for yoga or pilates – great for toning as well as relaxation (more about that later…).
Set yourself a realistic exercise goal. Rather than deciding you need to lose five or 10 kgs before summer, decide you need to lose two. When you reach this goal (and you will!). Set the next goal. Feeling that you’ve achieved your goal will make you feel confident, not only to achieve your ultimate goal, but to get out there and hit the beach or pool.
Couple goals Does your friend also want to work on their summer silhouette? Get going together. You’ll find it so much easier than going it alone. Or this may be a good time to get a personal trainer – just for a couple of months – to get you into the fitness routine.
Hike up the hydration
Lucky for us, most of us desire lighter foods like salads in summer, so being careful about what you put into your body is not so difficult. Aim for at least five servings of fibre-rich fruits and veggies every day.
Cancel ALL fast foods and sugary drinks.
Add water, water and more water. Make it delicious with slices of lemon, cucumber or fruit to encourage you to drink. You can also make iced tea with rooibos or white/green tea. Sweeten it with a little sucralose or stevia, if you must, and add the mentioned ingredients.
Eat more water. Did we just say EAT more water? Yes we did! Foods with a high water content makes you feel fuller faster, so starting your meal with a salad is a great idea. A starter such as peppers with some hummus is both water- and fibre-rich, and will definitely mean you feel like eating less. Snack on nuts, particularly almonds – but remember not to overdo it. A small handful is enough.
It’s not often something we talk about, but make sure you don’t ignore your body’s urges as far as the toilet is concerned. Regularly putting off trips to the loo can eventually train your brain to ignore them and set your body up for bloating and constipation.
- A cup of caffeinated coffee (naturally diuretic) in the morning not only helps to get rid of excess water, but also has a stimulating effect on your gut, so it can help to get things moving.
- Probiotics help your digestive system break down food, so adding a probiotic-rich food such as yoghurt, kombucha or kefir to your diet can also help keep your system working efficiently.
For many of us, the problem area is a less- than-flat tummy. While exercise and diet will, of course, help to flatten your tummy, there’s more to it than just that.
- Stand (and sit) up straight. When you focus on improving your posture, you automatically engage your stomach muscles. Walking (and running) is really good for boosting your metabolism – and consequently reducing your waistline. Try a brisk walk for 20 minutes every day.
- Alcohol causes bloating and foods high in sodium make us retain water, so try to avoid both. If you do consume alcohol, remember to drink water at the same time.
- Regularly chew gum? You may not realise it, but chewing gum forces you to swallow more air and contributes to that bloated belly. If you feel you need fresh breath – rather suck a sugar free mint.
And finally – you need to find a way to chill. If you’re constantly frazzled, your tummy will never be flat. Why? When you’re stressed, your body produces more steroids and stress hormones which have a negative effect on your digestive system. Not only that, your body also produces more cortisol. This wonderful ‘fight or flight’ hormone specifically sends more fat to your midsection to protect your vital organs. If you can’t remove all stress from your life (and who can?), try to find time every day to just relax or meditate – your tummy will thank you.
Take a good look at last season’s swimsuit and decided whether it is actually doing its job.
Doing its job well doesn’t just mean covering all the bits that need covering. Does it enhance your assets and play down other areas? This is one item of clothing you should NOT buy online. Take time to try on several styles (and colours) until you find the one that screams Wow! Colour is really important as well. This year’s skin tone may be subtly different than last year’s, so make sure the colour makes your skin look gorgeous.