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You’ve booked a seaside holiday, bagged a new bikini and have already started counting down to your beach babe days away from reality. There’s just one thing left to fret over — how to get in shape and look terrific, pronto. From losing that food baby bump to nixing bloat, here are some tips to get you ready to go.


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1. Eliminate all processed foods


When you’re trying to get lean fast, you want to cut the processed foods out of your diet. Any high you get from eating them dies off quickly and you’re left unsatisfied and craving for more unhealthy calories. Anything that contains ingredients that you cannot pronounce is a no-no. When in doubt, reach for a colourful (the more colour, the bigger the variety of vitamins and nutrients you’re likely to be getting) salad loaded with vegetables and a portion of grilled protein.


2. Lay off the sugar, skip sauces and keep dressings by the side


When tucking into a salad, ask for the dressing by the side — it’s the biggest culprit of unnecessary calories when you’re trying to slim down quickly. Stick to vinaigrette and yoghurt-based dressings and remember, low-fat alternatives often make up for the taste by piling on the sodium and sugar. Healthy fats, like in a moderate amount of olive oil, help the body to fully absorb the benefits of those hearty greens.


3. Load up earlier in the day


Trying to slim down doesn’t mean you should starve. Aim to consume the bulk of your daily intake of calories before 3pm, and keep dinner light. If you’re hitting the gym, keep energy levels up by eating good, fibre-rich carbohydrates like whole grains, quinoa or brown rice and loads of fruits and vegetables. They’re more likely to keep you full throughout the day and give you the energy for a kick-butt workout.


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4. Ask to take away before you tuck in


Keeping the pounds off can be difficult when you eat out, especially in the evenings. Servings at restaurants can be hefty and calorie counting is usually not the topmost concern at establishments that want you to keep coming back — deliciousness is, and the stuff that make food so yummy are usually fat, sodium and sugar. What’s a girl got to do when she wants a flat tummy and still be able to have a social life? Apart from ordering the healthiest item on the menu, try asking for half the portion to be packed for take-away before you dig in. It’s better than wasting food, and you have the next day’s lunch ready with a quick zap in the microwave.


5. Wear shoes that keep you moving


Don’t let your footwear keep you from being as active as possible throughout the day. Besides adjustments to your diet, it’s important to keep those muscles working. Every step counts so walk as much as you can — the few bus stops home instead of hopping into an Uber, for instance. So stow those pretty but oh-so-painful sandals away. From wedges and trendy sneakers to this season’s dressy slip-on mules, there are plenty of stylish options made for walking.


6. Work out with the girls


Instead of your weekly happy hour gathering, sign the squad up for a new fitness class. It’s fun and you’ll get as much of a buzz from HIIT (high intensity fitness training) and none of the calories from those sugar-laden cocktails.


7. Drink loads of water


The easiest way to banish bloat is to drink lots of water — about two to three litres a day — so be sure to have a water bottle around as it helps the body flush out toxins. Sip instead of gulping it down, or you’ll find yourself running to the toilet a lot.


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8. Fix your posture


When it comes to the big day, don’t ruin the lines of your tauter body with a bad slouch. Straightening your posture is the quickest way to looking leaner. Tuck in your tummy, tighten your butt for a perkier posterior and you know what? Just have fun! At the end of the day, the rest of this stuff is really not that important.


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