sweet cerealShedding pounds, slimming down and getting fit for an event (like beach season or Prom 2012!) is not an unpopular trend. Atkins, HCG, South Beach and other fad diets offer ways to help lose weight fast, but they’re not the key to fitting into that bandeau bikini for long. We caught up with nutrition expert Tara Ostrowe for tips on getting fit so it lasts.
Balance it out
You don’t have to starve yourself or participate in one of those crazy fad diets for a quick get fit solution for summer. “Watch portion sizes for balance in food,” says Tara Ostrowe, dietitian and nutrition counselor of New York City.

Ostrowe says diets are often too restrained and can make you gain weight faster after you go off the diet. Instead, monitor how much you eat at meals and what you eat. This will help you get fit and stay fit. Slow and steady may test your patience, but you will see results.

Cut it out

To speed up the process, cutting down fatty foods will help.
“Stay away from high fat foods like burgers, pepperoni and fried anything,” Ostrowe warns. “Also be careful of sugary drinks like soda, frozen beverages or coffee that are high in calories.”

Avoiding the triple threat of high calorie, high carb, high fat in foods will help achieve a healthy and fit lifestyle. “Things like turkey, grilled chicken and fish are better choices,” Ostrowe says.
Opting for grilled chicken in the caf. can help cut down on calorie intake. According to Ostrow, a burger can add up to 400 calories or more (depending on what you have on it), but grilled chicken is only about 150 to 200 calories.

Can I get vegetables with that?
Another thing to be mindful of are the sides that come with meals.
“Some sides like chips, nachos, fries, cookies, milkshakes and fried rice, could add up to an extra 300 to 600 calories,” says Ostrowe.
So ditch the chips for fruits and veggies. “Have snacks in between meal times, like carrots or bell peppers.” she says.

Grabbing a handful of carrots rather than chips can make a big difference in balancing out your diet. Don’t like plain vegetables? Use a light dressing to dip it in.

Another option is to add more grains to your diet. “High fiber foods and whole grains will keep a person more full longer,” says Ostrowe.

Back to the basics

Grab a water bottle and aim for 8 glasses of water.
“During the day carry around fruit and water,” says Ostrowe. “Sometimes when you are hungry it is because you are dehydrated and just thirsty.”

Still have cravings for chocolate, chips or other junk food? According to Ostrowe, it might be because you are not eating enough of whole grains or fruits or because you are stressing out (like about making a great impression at a special event).

“If you do have a craving try to have it in a small portion, eat it slowly, enjoy it and try not to let yourself feel guilty about it,” says Ostrowe.

Ready, set, glam!
You don’t have to give up your favorite foods to get fit, just make sure you have them in moderation and balance it out with exercise. So ditch the fad diets, for a more healthy option of adding water, fruits, grains and vegetables.
-Kimberly Turner

Photo Credit: D. Sharon Pruitt

 Prom perfect fashionistaProm tickets, check. Limo, check. Head-turning-one-of-a-kind dress, check! With only days left to spare, every second (and every dollar) counts. By adding in these simple steps four days before the big night, you will look and feel stunning (and still have money in your metallic clutch purse)!

Manicure in a box
Planning on a do-it-yourself mani/pedi the night before Prom and looking for the easiest way of doing so? We at ME found the answer for frugal fashionistas: Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips. This new $10 product not only costs way less than an actual salon mani/pedi, but also lasts 10 days! Wash your hands, take off the Nail Polish Strips, carefully place them on each finger and toe, and file the unused parts of the strips away. Now, you have one less task to worry about on Prom day.

Get smooth…
Elbows are probably the most neglected body parts, and the most deserving of our attention. Think about it: we abuse our elbows on a daily basis by pounding and pressing on them, which causes low blood circulation and over-stretched skin. In order to remove the roughness and get those elbows silky soft, look no further than your kitchen for proper “rough buffers”! You’ll need one lemon, baking soda and olive oil.

Squeeze out the juice from the lemon. Then, pour a teaspoon of baking soda into the lemon, place your elbow inside of it and make circles with your elbows. Do the same with your other elbow. Rinse and dry both of them after three minutes of circling. Finally, rub olive oil on your elbows, making sure to rub every crease of your elbow.

By following these steps, your elbows will be light and smooth in four days or less! Feel confident enough to pose for side pictures with your Prom date and flaunt your lightened and smooth elbows while showing off the detailed back of your Grecian inspired dress!

Crunch time!
If you want to feel great on Prom night, consider doing crunches. Crunches help tighten your tummy, and they’re not at all time consuming. Pair this with a healthy diet and you’ll feel confident and ready for pictures galore at Prom. Eating candy and a burger the night before Prom, however, can cause unwanted bloating.

Break ‘em in

Here’s an equation everyone can use:  Brand new heels + hours of dancing = your foot’s worst nightmare! If you’re planning on buying new shoes for Prom, make your night a more comfortable experience by wearing your high heels four or more nights before Prom night to break them in. By wearing your high heels with tube socks around the house for at least thirty minutes a day, you’ll be molding them to conform to your feet, leading to a more comfortable fit and more toned calves!  Even if you feel that you’re ready to take on the dance floor with 4-inch heels, be safe and carry a pair of rubber flats or flip-flops. KushyFoot offers Flats to go—“affordable, purse-packable and elegant relief for weary feet.” They’re cute and cheap (only $8.99!) ballet flats that can fit in any size purse!

Put your game face on

If you’re planning on doing your own makeup for Prom, be sure to practice one or two days before the big night. YouTube has SO many make-up tutorials for Prom from talented girls just like you. From naturally beautiful to extraordinarily fierce, there is a look out there for you! Also, if you’re looking for a quick way to tighten your pores pre-makeup application, use an ice cube and rub away! Ice cubes are known to increase blood circulation and provide a natural blush to your cheekbones. 

Tell ME: What is your frugal pre-Prom tip?
-Grace Gavilanes

Photo by Chris Willis