Get Skinny, Healthy and Fit in Your 20s

Now is the time to the body you really want

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Are you ready to get serious about your body? If you’re in your 20s, this might be the first time you’ve had to really think about losing weight or getting in shape. But there's no need to panic.

You can take off the pounds and set up healthy habits to get skinny and keep the weight from coming back. Post this list on your bathroom mirror to serve as a daily reminder of the things you need to do to get in shape so that you not only get fit, but you stay lean and healthy for life.

10 Ways to Get Lean and Healthy in Your 20s

  1. Redefine “skinny.”  We often use the word, “skinny,” but let’s face it, ladies, skin and bones are not sexy.  What you really want is a sleek, tight physique.  That means muscle. “Contrary to common belief, muscle makes you leaner, smaller and firmer, not bigger and bulkier,” says Ariane Hundt, M.S., founder of Slim & Strong 4-Week Fat Loss Program based in New York City.  If you are not in the Big Apple to attend her boot camp style sessions, you can build strength at home or at your local gym.
  2. Eat more protein.  Yes, I know there are cupcakes and pretzels in your office lunchroom, but if you want to get fit and healthy you won’t eat them. Opt for snacks and meals that are full of protein to build muscle and boost your metabolism. Lean protein will also help you feel full so you eat less throughout the day.
  3. Workout harder.  Short, intense workouts are most effective for weight loss.  When you’re young, you’re more likely to be healthy enough for vigorous activity.  So take advantage of it!  Learn how to do interval training to burn more fat in less time.
  1. Ignore magazines.  Did you know that women’s magazines contain 10.5 times as many ads promoting weight loss as men’s magazines? Many of the ads promote unrealistic claims and use airbrushed images that can make you feel hopeless. Focus on building the strongest, fittest version of your own body to boost your confidence and keep your commitment in tact.
  1. Skip the fad diets.  Quick weight loss is effective in some circumstances, but many fad diets promote short-term loss that will mess with your metabolism. “If you are young and haven’t done too much yo-yo dieting, your metabolism will respond to pretty much any change you expose it to,” says Hundt.  She recommends that you skip the trendy diets and opt for a healthy diet of lean protein and vegetables. It’s often cheaper than processed food, too!
  2. Drink less booze.  Heads up, party girls!  Your drinking may be causing more than just a morning headache.  The calories you consume from drinking wine, beer or cocktails can add up to pounds on the scale each year.  Want to make a single change to slim down?  Make a plan to drink less for weight loss and better health.  It works!
  3. Build healthy habits. Now is the time to establish daily activity habits to burn calories.  Healthy lifestyle routines will help you slim down in the short run and prevent weight gain in the future.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator, stand up while you work at the office, walk to lunch instead of taking the car. 
  1. Get organized. The hardest thing about losing weight in your 20s is trying to eat healthy when you have a crazy social schedule.  Let’s face it, you have better things to do than slaving over a hot stove to cook healthy meals every night. So learn a few basic meal-planning strategies to minimize your food prep time and maximize your access to diet-boosting foods will keep you lean even when you’re on the run.
  2. Clean out your closet. Think of your weight loss plan as a long-term strategy, not a quick fix solution.  As you slim down, get rid of the clothes that no longer fit. According to Hundt, when you keep bigger items “you send your brain the message that you will eventually get back to your old weight.”  Go all in, girls! Kiss the fat jeans goodbye and don’t let them back in your closet.
  3. Watch your snack habits.  Do you know how many calories should come from snacks each day?  Get the answer based on your caloric needs.  Then try to be more aware of your snack habits throughout the day.  Try to eat less when you watch television and rein in the late night nibbles when you’re out on the town.

The good thing about trying to get skinny in your 20s is that your body is more likely to respond to small changes, says Hundt.  So get organized, get serious and get confident to make small adjustments and get a fit, healthy body for life.

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