Sharecare Top 5: It’s Not Too Late to Get Your Beach Body

Beach season has arrived and for some, bulging bellies and flabby thighs may overshadow the excitement of warm weather and sunny skies. If the summer crept up on you before you’ve had time to get bikini-ready, don’t fret. Here are easy tips to help you lose a few pounds – fast!

1. Sleep more, stress less: How do stress and poor sleep mess with weight loss? Chronic stress boosts levels of cortisol, a feel-hungry hormone that makes us crave comfort food and sends a message to your belly fat cells to hold on to calories. Many of those foods are not only high in waist-padding sugar and fat (hello, doughnuts!) they’re also addictive so the more you eat, the more you crave. Lack of sleep can interfere with your metabolism, cranking up your appetite even more while making you too weary to exercise. Your best bet? Banish gut-busting treats like ice cream and chips from your kitchen, replacing them with healthy snacks. And if you get to bed on time, that’s less opportunity to binge out on brownies — and more time to snuggle up with your honey. Research shows that sex can not only double your weight loss, it helps curb carbs and carvings.! Learn more about how stress can lead to belly fat in this video with Dr. Shawn Talbott.

2. Kick up the cardio: One surefire way to lose the belly blubber is to increase your cardio. Whether walking, running, or swimming, aerobic exercise is the best way to burn calories and fat. If you’re not sure which workout is best for you – or just want to mix up your routine with something new — take the Aerobic Workouts and check out our Aerobics/Cardiovascular Exercise center for tools, tips and workout videos.

3. Plan your portions: We all know that what you eat is essential to losing weight but so is how much you eat – even if the food is healthy. In a world full of super-sized servings, learning how to manage your portions is key to reaching your weight-loss goals. Learn more about calories and portion sizes by taking the portion control quiz.

4. Bet on your bikini body: If you need a little motivation to lose weight, bet on yourself. Studies have shown that those who wager on winning tend to lose more weight than those who don’t have an incentive. If betting isn’t for you but you still need accountability, join Transform You2. This free step-by-step weight loss and fitness plan, complete with workouts, a food log and other tools will connect you with online experts to help you every step of the way in your weight-loss journey.

5. Cheat a little: Don’t skip a day at the beach because you don’t feel like you’re “beach ready.” (Most people will be worried more about how they look!) Instead, love the skin you’re in and find the best swimsuit for your body type. In this video, Dr. Oz and InStyle fashion expert Rachel Zalis share tips on how to find a slimming suit that’s right for you.