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1) When you wake up and before you go to bed, have a cup of hot water with lemon. Lemon acts as a natural detox and the hot water helps to you to burn more calories.

2) Replace your breakfast for a protein smoothie. Use protein powder, egg whites, or a tablespoon of peanut or almond butter for a source of protein; this will help to keep you full until lunchtime. You may also want to add some fresh spinach or kale to your smoothie as well; I even had my doubts about this, but believe it or not, you cannot taste it and it adds an extra source of vitamins.

3) Instead of going out or getting food from the vending machine, bring your lunch to work. I for one know that I eat healthiest when I am at work because I bring food and have no other choice but to eat what I have. Believe me, if I were at home with all my choices in the fridge, freezer, and cupboards, I would probably choose the unhealthy choice, but bringing a healthy pre-packed lunch not only ensures I eat healthy, but saves me money too. Sometimes I even take out my cash and change from my wallet so I am not tempted to get snacks from that oh-so-dangerous (and tempting) vending machine.

4) I know there are many diets out there, but balanced meals are the best way to go. Your body is built to need certain nutrients, so depriving your body of what it needs can only do more harm than good. Just be careful with the carbs, proteins, and dairy you consume. Opt for darker bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes (i.e. sweet potatoes vs. regular Idaho potatoes; whole grain bread vs. white bread; brown rice instead of white rice; whole wheat pasta instead of regular). Be sure to choose lean meats and if you must have red meat, keep your portions small. Even black and kidney beans are great alternatives to meat because they provide a good source of protein. When eating eggs, be sure to take out the yolk and only use the egg whites, and when drinking or using milk for cooking, use fat free, light soy, or almond milk instead.

5) Drink two or more cups of hot or iced green tea on a daily basis. Green tea is an excellent antioxidant and has certain nutrients, which help to burn belly fat and increase metabolism.

6) You probably hear it all the time, but water is truly one of the best things for you. Drink eight ore more glasses a day in order to flush out toxins, keep your metabolism up, and burn fat. They say drinking ice cold or hot water is the best thing for you; your body needs to work in order to bring the water to your body’s temperature, so the more your body works, essentially the more calories you will burn.

7) Here is one of my biggest battles, portion control! It is hard to limit yourself especially when the food is so good! Cut back on heartier foods like meats and carbs and load up on veggies and fruit instead. Better to eat more veggies and fruit than anything else.

8) Snack on healthy low-cal snacks such as: almonds, fruits, hummus, light Laughing Cow cheese, granola bars, raw veggies and Greek yogurt. Almonds are loaded with protein and help to work as an appetite suppressant. Raw fruits, such a blueberries, are a great source of antioxidants. Hummus is a healthier alternative to dip; it tastes great with pita bread, veggies, on a sandwich in place of mayonnaise, or even with meat. Light Laughing Cow cheese is a great alternative to cream cheese; they taste almost the same and it’s only 35 calories a wedge (I personally love this with celery). When choosing granola bars, choose ones without too many preservatives and sweets (like chocolate chips), if you need to add something for a little more flavor, trying spreading a thin layer of peanut or almond butter on top. If you can handle them, raw veggies are the best thing for you; by cooking them, you loose a bunch of nutrients, so try your best to eat them raw, even if you have to eat some hummus or low-fat dressing with them. Lastly, try Greek yogurt, which tastes great with honey, fruits, and/or almonds, or works well as an alternative to sour cream. Even chips and salsa can be a healthy snack; salsa essentially has no fat and if you break up tortillas and bake them with a little salt, it will be a lot healthier than packaged tortilla chips, which are often fried, loaded with salt, and preservatives.

9) Along with going to the gym or doing whatever your work out of choice is, stay as active as you can. On days or nights you and your love are looking for something to do, consider doing something fun and active together. Instead of spending money, go hiking, swimming, bike riding, for a walk in your neighborhood or local park, dancing, or play a sport like tennis or basketball together. Not only will you be saving money (that could be put towards the wedding), but you will have fun together while staying active and burning calories as well.

10) Everyone needs a cheat day for his or her own sanity. There is no doubt that trying to stick with a strict diet 7 days of the week is tough, especially when your fiancé, friends, and family are always wanting to go out. So choose one day of the week to cheat a little. As long as you are keeping up on the other days by healthy eating and working out, one day of a little cheating shouldn’t hurt anything. Many people break their diet when trying to stick with a strict diet, but many more tend to stick with it when they allow themselves a little leeway.

By adding these simple and doable changes to your daily routine, you will not only lose weight, but keep it off as well. There are a lot of fad and get slim fast diets out there, but really, it’s truly about a lifestyle change. Small changes like these make your goals a lot more achievable because you are not starving yourself or depriving your body of certain nutrients. It’s really about making healthy food choices, drinking a lot of natural fluids like water and tea, portion control, and staying active.

In Love,

The RiL Girls