Hey Quest Fans! After a long hiatus, I’m blogging again. I can’t wait to share the ideas I’ve learned over the past few months with you guys. And this week, with Halloween coming up, a lot of people have asked me what they can do to get ready to wear a skimpy costume. I’m happy to help! Below, find a day-by-day guide to get hot for the weekend–whether it’s Halloween or any of the other 51 weekends of the year (weddings, birthdays, or any big party!). You’ll get started right now and see big changes in the next three days.
Taken three days apart:
If you normally eat food containing carbs throughout the day (things like anything made with wheat, fruit, starchy veggies like potatoes, etc.), cutting back on them will “tighten up” your body. Here’s the basic way this works: carbohydrates that you eat, but don’t burn off right away, are stored in your muscles as glycogen. Each gram of carbohydrates holds three grams of water (carbo*hydrates*). Glycogen is a great source of fuel and energy for your body, so you burn a lot of it each day. If you stop taking in a lot of carbs, you will deplete–without replacing–glycogen and, in turn, the water that it holds. Feel free to eat lots of veggies to keep you full today, this will be your last day to eat a lot of vegetables before your big night; this will give your body plenty of time to digest them so you don’t look bloated.
Drink a lot of water today, at least a gallon. Unsweetened tea counts, too. Your body gets used to processing water, so if you drink a lot, your body will process (that is, convert to urine) the water very quickly. I aim to drink about a gallon of water each day. If you have more than three days to prepare (if you’re starting earlier than Thursday for a Saturday-night event), increase your water intake for a few days. Avoid diet soda and sugar-free products that cause bloating from here on out (sugar-free gum is a common culprit). If alcohol causes bloating, avoid it until your big night as well.
If you like to do hard cardio workouts like running, intense sessions on the elliptical, or the stepmill, go ahead and do it today.
It’s never too early to start prepping to look your best. But if you’re on a short time frame, here are a few things that will really make a difference.
Exfoliate your skin using natural ingredients. My favorite exfoliant right now is the super easy, super beneficial honey-and-coffee mixture. Honey has antibacterial properties, so it can improve acne-prone skin, and coffee contains caffeine, which can tighten the look of the skin. My trick is to use instant coffee grounds on my face because they’re ground more finely than coffee-maker grounds. But you can use coarser grounds on the rest of your body to get a better exfoliating effect.
Get lots of sleep, if you can! Getting rest helps with just about everything, it makes you feel better (which makes you look better!), helps avoid dark under-eye circles, helps your digestion and metabolism, speeds healing, and lots of other good stuff. Make sure you get plenty of shut-eye and avoid stress if possible.
Keep carbs low again today. If you’re feeling hungry, increase the amount of healthy fat in your diet. Add avocado to your food, eat fattier sources of protein (pork shoulder, for example, instead of chicken breast), eat nuts, and cook with coconut oil, for example. You’ll want to decrease salt–which causes the body to hold water–and increase potassium (spinach is a great source!), which causes the body to release water. Cut your water intake to half a gallon (eight 8-oz glasses) today and you’ll be able to watch yourself start to shrink!
IMPORTANT: If you have kidney or other medical issues, don’t water deplete!
Don’t do any heavy cardio workouts today; hard cardio can cause your body to retain water, which can give you a bloated appearance. Feel free to lift weights, but avoid any body parts that you are self-conscious about, because you’ll see muscle “pump” for up to a few days after a hard lifting session.
Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! Use the coffee-and-honey mixture as many times as you wash your face and shower today. After you’ve exfoliated your body for the last time today, remove body hair. Most people use a razor and shaving cream, but Nair is another option. Nair for Men is one of the best secrets of the female-fitness-model community; it’s stronger than the for-women stuff, so it works more quickly and gives a more thorough result.
If you want to have a little glow on your big night, there are a few extra steps to take. If you are getting a pedicure to prepare for your big night out, do that before you apply your tan. My two favorite choices for a natural-looking faux tan are VersaSpa and St. Tropez. VersaSpa is a stand-up spray tan that looks much more natural than spray tans did in the past; no orangey glow! Find a location near you here (http://locations.versaspa.com/). I go to Palm Beach Tan (http://www.palmbeachtan.com/Salon-Locator/Show-all-Salons.aspx) when I need a Versa tan. If there are no VersaSpas in your area, the best at-home option is St. Tropez (http://www.sttropeztan.com/). It’s expensive, but worth it to get a smooth, natural-looking even tan. Get your tan tonight!
Keep the carbs and veggies away to avoid bloating. Continue to avoid soda (even diet), alcohol and sugar-free gum. Eat more fat to keep you fuller longer (it’s digested more slowly than either carbs or protein are). Avoid salt today, and sip on water if you’re thirsty, but don’t drink a ton. You should be able to see a tighter appearance by now.
At the event, if you plan to drink, take it easy by alternating water with alcoholic beverages, and choose non-caloric drinks like liquor mixed with Diet Coke, soda water, or plain on the rocks. Red wine is another great choice, with white slightly behind. Avoid beer if you don’t want to bloat up.
Get your workout on the dance floor tonight!
If you have any body parts you wish were tighter, you can rub Preparation H on them. It sounds crazy, but it reduces swelling, which makes any body part (legs, for example) look leaner and tighter. Many fitness models rub Preparation H on the backs of their legs to temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite. It may sound crazy, but it works! Beware, though, because it stinks, so you can’t use it after your last shower, which you should take this morning. If your tan fades or gets blotchy, touch it up. Many tanning salons sell touch-up products, or you can apply another layer of at-home self tanner to get a deeper glow.
If your legs are exposed, spray a little bit of Pam into the palm of your hand and mix it with body lotion; this will make your legs shine.
Throw on some Crest White Strips to give your teeth an extra white sparkle.
As you head out the door, make sure you have the essentials: whatever make-up products you may need throughout the night, gum and mints, house keys, identification, etc. — but also pick up a pair of Fast Flats (http://www.drscholls.com/drscholls/forher.jsp) at a pharmacy. They’re tiny, so they fit in your purse, and they’re priceless if you have to walk after wearing high heels all night!
Now go out and have fun! And remember that the one thing that makes you more desirable than anything else is a confident smile.