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The Bikini Diet

A Fun & Easy Way to Slim Down for Summer
  -- By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian
Pool parties, beachfront vacations, and water park adventures…ahhh the joys of summer are almost upon us! To celebrate the causal, relaxed pace of the season, SparkPeople is happy and excited to introduce The Bikini Diet, a fun and simple way to control portions, shed a few pounds, and feel fit and energized.

There is no weighing food, no carrying around measuring cups and spoons, no special foods to purchase or prepare. The Bikini Diet can be used at home with the family, at the neighborhood cookout, or when dining out with friends. So bring that itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, yellow polka-dot bikini back into your life—it’s a wonderful tool when it comes to healthy eating.

Bikini Tip #1: Start with a 9-inch plate.
You may not be surprised to learn that as our waistlines have increased, so have the sizes of our plates. Get our your plate and measure its diameter with a ruler—don’t eyeball it. If your plate is bigger than 9 inches, put it back on the shelf and get a new one!

Bikini Tip #2: Visualize a bikini on your nine-inch plate.
Bikini Tip #3: Don’t forget the sunscreen!
An 8-ounce bottle of sunscreen is the perfect visual to represent the amount of low-fat milk to enjoy with your meal.

Bikini Tip #4: Sweeten with fruit.
Picture a tennis ball, balancing inside a large seashell. Your fruit selection should be about the size of that tennis ball. You can enjoy your fruit with your meal, or save it for a snack later in the day.
Bikini Tip #5: Imagine a tube of sunscreen lip balm.
Add this amount of fat to your meal. This could be salad dressing, olive oil used to sauté vegetables, butter or margarine, sour cream, or mayonnaise for a sandwich.

Bikini Tip #6: For breakfast, think bikini top only.
Enjoy your meat and grain items on the bikini top. Add some low-fat milk the size of your sunscreen bottle, and fruit that fits in your large shell.

Bikini Tip #7: The bikini body is an active body.
The Bikini Diet encourages getting 30 minutes of lifestyle activity 5-6 days a week. To get you in the mood, turn on those wonderful sounds from the Beach Blanket Bingo era. Vacuum, dust, mop, wash the car, garden, and "twist and shout" your way to a new healthier you!

For best results, add "The Bikini Workout" to your diet. You’ll be swimsuit ready by summer!