Even if we don't worry normally, many of us are all too conscious of how we are going to look on the beach.
Thinking ahead to the summer holidays? Find out how to look good on the beach without crash diets or starving!
If you have even just a few weeks to go before your hols you can still achieve
a slimmer look as long as you are determined.
Combining diet and exercise will speed things up, research proves again and again that this combination is the key to long-term results. We all need to incorporate exercise into our daily life - just 30 minutes of walking is enough to make a difference to your figure and your health.
A popular and effective diet strategy is to restrict your carbohydrate intake after 6 p.m, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and try to drink at least 2 litres of water during the day (good for your complexion too), and look forward to your holidays!
Don't starve yourself in a desperate attempt to lose weight, crash diets are doomed as no one can maintain them and your body will react if it doesn't get enough energy by slowing down your metabolism.
As well as cutting your calories back a few weeks (or months if you're planning well ahead) before your holidays, there are some other things you can do to feel confident in your swimsuit :
yourself to a professionally applied fake tan - a golden skin can make you
feel slimmer and more glamorous.
It's a much healthier choice than sunbeds or sunburn which can age and damage your skin.
TIP: If you fake-tan it yourself - exfoliate your body before.
Moisturise an hour before tanning, paying special attention to elbows, knees and feet.
Don't forget to wash your hands afterwards, as tanned palms tend to give it
St.Tropez and Piz Buin are both good fake-tan products. Don't forget to take some with you on holiday to top up.
There are lots of body moisturisers now that have a fake tan product in them - your skin gets moisturised and also gradually builds up a golden colour
Get a spray tan and look slimmer
Bridget Jones knew the secret - there are some brilliant underwear options that really smooth out your bulges and allow you to wear those gorgeous silky, summer, cut on the bias dresses and feel confidently great.
Tights and knickers with tummy control panels can flatten your
stomach for those special holiday evenings, so you don't have to hold yourself
in all night.
TIP: choose flesh coloured control underwear as it is the most useful and less obvious.
Most of us don't enjoy swimsuit shopping - the harsh lighting and three-way mirrors in changing rooms can make you feel very exposed when trying on costumes.
Choose a swimsuit with some underwiring to give you support
and enhance your voluptuous bust. Try to choose one with some structure in
the bust, and try to avoid spaghetti straps as wider straps will be much more
comfortable. Swimwear with hidden control panels can help flatten the tummy
and lift the bottom.
If you want a bikini it's a good idea to get a suit where you can buy the top and bottom sizes separately. Don't buy over-big bottoms though, in an attempt to tuck everything in, the more fabric you wear on your bottom the bigger it can look. Bikini bottoms with string side ties are more adjustable and can help avoid any bulging.
Tankinis (a vest-like top and bikini bottom) are available with built in support, and can look sporty as well as hiding your midriff. Ruching on a tankini or swimsuit can help disguise your tummy. A tankini can also add length to a short torso.
A dark-colored bikini top or swimsuit with vertical stripes can be more flattering then a bold print. Bikini bottoms with a belt, coloured band or beading can take attention away from your top.
Avoid strapless bandeau tops, as these squash all but the smallest busts into an unflattering sausage shape, also keep clear of tiny, strappy triangular halternecks that offer minimal coverage - you'll be in danger of falling out! A well structured halterneck with wide straps can help slim down broad shoulders.
Choose swimwear with foam padding, gel-filled cups or under-wiring in the top as this will help enhance a small bust.
Halter-neck or the itsy bitsy triangular tops still look great (see pic above). Printed tops help maximize a small bust, as do ruffles and frills.
Look for a top with adjustable straps behind the neck and around your back,
this enables you to tighten and adjust the top so it makes the most of your
Avoid sporting swimsuits with no bust definition, as these flatten small breasts.
Choose a style between a hipster and a high waister for
best effect. Too high-cut briefs will extend the length of your legs,
but can increase the size of your bottom. The most flattering leg height for most women is about one-inch below their hipbone.
Darker coloured bikini bottoms work well. Focus on your top with a ruffled, decorated or boldly printed top.
Tie string bikini bottoms that can be adjusted to your hip size can be more flattering than bikini pants that cut in.
shorts, ruffled or skimpy bottoms - they will add to your hips. keep
well away from bold prints and horizontal stripes on your bottom half.
One-piece cut out styles are brilliant for taller bodies – this effect breaks up the vertical line your body makes.
If you have a boyish physique then boy shorts will highlight your toned thighs and a halter neck top (slightly padded) will show off shapely shoulders, and bring a feminine touch to those defined muscles.
If you need more confidence to face the beach this year, try a sarong - there are some beautiful designs available in all colours, sizes and textures, from fine sheer to ethnic cotton batik. Remember to tie them below your belly button to get the most flattering look.
Embroidered and beaded kaftans are also a glamorous cover-up as the sun gets hotter during the afternoon - don't get them too big, and wearing a low-slung belt can make them a useful addition to your summer wardrobe with linen trousers or cut offs.
The reason that most diets or weight loss programs fail is that the dieter sets too difficult a target. Those flat stomachs and six-packs you see on the TV and in magazines didn't happen overnight...
Don’t try to do too much at once. If you’ve never done a lot of exercise start off slowly and gently with a brisk daily walk rather than straight into a frenetic session at the gym!
The same goes for eating. If you try and reduce your calorific intake too drastically, the odds are that you’ll make yourself so hungry that you’ll crack and make straight for the biscuits or chocolate! Fill up with good foods - fruit, veg and slow release carbohydrates (i.e.granary or wholemeal bread rather than white).
It's no good reaching the right weight and then blowing things by getting ill on holiday. Remember to take things easy for the first couple of days in the sun. It's tempting after a year of the gloomy weather at home to lie out in the sun and toast yourself from day one. Bad idea - apart from the risk of sunburn putting a stop to the fun, you'll also run the risk of heat exhaustion straight away and premature skin ageing and skin cancer in the future.
Much better to work up gradually to a tan - start in the morning before the sun gets too hot and get into the shade between 11am and 3 pm - you'll feel better for it.