5 Simple Steps to a Healthier Summer Body!
It's never too late to get healthy this summer.
(Credit: Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT)

Are you tired of covering yourself at the beach? Most of us dream for those toned abs, tight thighs, firm arms and a sculpted behind that will have all the boys chasing us in the sand. Well, with these five lifestyle changes, you might just be on your way to that bombshell Victoria Secret bikini this summer!

1. Stay Active with Zumba
Dancing is definitely be one of the best workouts you can get without the dread and struggle of going to the gym. Zumba’s sexy style of Latin fusion dance has the moves to keep you wanting more. From shaking your bum to twisting and turning your feet, the fun never stops! Check out LA Dance Fit Studio for your first class, which only costs $10, and be sure to check out the rest of their amazing classes as well.

2. Water, Water, Water
This beneficial liquid nourishes the body by flushing out toxins, it improves your skin complexion, increases your energy and promotes weight loss. Since our body is mainly made up of water, we must drink enough of it, especially during exercise. Drink some water about 20 minutes before your meal to reduce your hunger and appetite. Experts recommend at least eight cups a day.

3. Say Goodbye to Bad Carbs
Start cutting out carbohydrates that serve your body no justice. This includes processed foods such as white bread, white rice, cake and donuts—all simple carbs. Simple carbs contain refined sugars that digest very rapidly and turn into the fat that may be currently surrounding your abs or thighs. Instead, turn to substitutes that taste just as great but simultaneously provide your body with the right nutrients. Try complex carbs such as whole grains: wheat bread, brown rice or oatmeal (however, you must pay attention to portion sizes). Good carbs are also found in fruits and vegetables, so be sure to include those in your diet as well. For dinner tonight, ditch that russet potato for a delicious, sweet baked yam, and enjoy it guilt free!

4. More Protein, Please!
Protein is key to a lean body. It provides the body with a speedy recovery after a productive workout, reduces muscle loss, builds lean muscle, helps maintain a healthy weight and curbs hunger while making you feel full longer. The best protein sources come from lean meat such as chicken breast, turkey breast or ground turkey, salmon, trout and other types of fish. Quinoa is a great source of protein, eggs are good for breakfast, and nuts make a fast and easy snack. Be sure to incorporate protein in your daily regime, preferably in all three courses: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

5. Fix Your Salad the Right Way
Many people stick to salads when trying to lose weight. However, they also drench their salads with loads of calories and simple carbohydrates found in the dressing. Skip the fattening salad dressing for a homemade, delicious Balsamic dressing with only five ingredients: Balsamic vinegar, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. You can also add a tad bit of honey for some sweetness. Just eyeball each ingredient, mix and serve. It’s easy, healthy, fast and tasty!

So, my bikini-craving ladies, make a lifestyle change this summer. Don’t expect results right away. Be patient, determined and enjoy the journey, because you will truly appreciate it that much more. Your body is your temple—treat it right, and it will thank you.