Everyone knows Labor Day weekend is the most bittersweet weekend of the year. You’re tan AF, you haven’t been sober since May, and you’re ready to end the summer with a bang (literally, you’re looking to bang someone). Basically, the goal is to get too drunk to realize summer’s over and the new gin rosé concoction you just discovered is already out of season. You also want to look your hottest, considering people are seeing you in a bikini for the last time until like, Christmas. You may have gained a couple pounds since your pre-summer diet, so here’s how to slim down—or at the very least, fake it—in time for that one last poolside pregame.
1. Cut Out Artificial Sugar
We’ve already told you how we feel about your daily Diet Coke and three packets of Splenda in your iced coffee, but new studies just came out proving our point even more, so it’s time to stop kidding ourselves. Fake sugars aren’t actually doing anything good for your body. In fact, new reports are showing that artificial sweeteners actually lead to weight GAIN instead of weight loss. Basically, because you’re digesting all chemicals and no calories, you’re tricking your body into thinking it’s full, but then your brain just ends up craving actual sugar, and you put on ten pounds just like that. JUST SAY NO.
2. Eliminate Salt
Having a little salt in your food now and then isn’t bad for you, but if you’re trying to flatten out your tummy in a short amount of time, your best bet is to eliminate as much salt as you can. So, yes, that means avoiding soy sauce with your spicy tuna roll, and saying no to the side of edamame, too. It’s been scientifically proven that sodium makes you bloated, so you might have to be okay with eating bland foods for the next few weeks if you want to lose those last three pounds.
3. Snack On Cucumbers And Watermelon
You already know how important it is to drink a ton of water throughout the day, but sometimes drinking water is just annoying and you get sick of having to get up to pee every six minutes, so you have to trick your body into hydrating. That’s where cucumber and watermelon come in. These two foods are LOW in calories and HIGH in water content, so by snacking on them, you’re filling your body up with water. If you’ve ever eaten a huge bowl of watermelon and felt super full afterwards, it’s because of its high water content. These snacks are key.
4. Have Easy-To-Digest Foods At Night
Because everyone’s bodies are so different, sometimes the healthiest foods in the book will still make you feel like shit if you eat them right before bed. If you’ve ever eaten a huge salad for dinner with raw veggies and chickpeas, you may feel bloated and gross after. It’s not because you ate unhealthy, it’s actually because you ate things that are just harder for your body to digest. We’re not saying vegetables and legumes are bad for you, nice fucking try, but try eating them earlier in the day so your body can digest your food more easily at night and you don’t have to wake up with a food baby.
5. Do Resistance Training, NOT Excessive Cardio
This sounds counterproductive because obviously cardio burns a shit ton of calories and that makes you lose weight. Thank you, science. Here’s a curveball, though: sometimes when you need to lose a few pounds in a time crunch, resistance training is actually your best bet. When you do an intense bootcamp class or a spin class, your body is losing a ton of water, and you walk out of the class STARVING, so you’re dehydrated and you end up eating more than you burned off. By lifting weights or doing Pilates, you’re toning your body without giving it a reason to pig out post-workout, so put down the Quest Bar.
6. Walk Everywhere
Your late-night Uber driver might miss your drunken rides home, but it’s time to stop cabbing everywhere and actually get some steps in. Even though we just told you not to do a ton of cardio, walking is an amazing way to burn calories throughout the day without making you starving or (that) sweaty. Whether you’re parking far away or picking up your dinner instead of Seamlessing it, try to get around 8,000 steps a day and you’ll notice a huge difference. And don’t worry—”Despacito” will still be on the radio when it’s time to take a cab again.
7. Chill On The Alcohol
This tip is obviously a huge and literal buzzkill, but it’s the truth. If you’re indulging in margaritas at happy hour every night after work, those calories add up REAL quick, and don’t even get us started on the bowl of nachos that are too close for comfort. Try limiting yourself to one night of drinking per week until Labor Day. Your weekends might be a little more boring, but you’ll probably find that you feel skinnier, more energetic, and less hungover. Like, imagine waking up on a Sunday morning without a pounding headache and a cracked iPhone screen. What’s that feel like?