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How to look thinner than you actually are

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Oh God. Why do we do this? Every year, we force each other to parade around in bathing suits. Is it masochism, voyeurism, or some sick combination thereof?

In any event, it’s time to wear small amounts of slippery-feeling clothing in front of your friends. Yay? Problem is, just like me you’ve failed to ditch the eggnog-and-butter-cookies weight (or habit) of yesterwinter and you’re still a little, um… paunchy.

It’s okay: there are remedies for such emergency (poolside or otherwise), and they don’t involve you actually losing weight. Listen to my go-to tips for looking skinnier quickly (some instantly), some of which I’m sure you’ve already heard but some of which may surprise you.

  • Carb down (just for a little while). Without getting too technical -carbs make our body store something called glycogen, which allows you to have quick energy. Each gram of glycogen is bound to FOUR grams of water.When you cut out carbs, your body empties the glycogen stores and you’ll lose a good amount of water weight. You don’t need to do it long before your beach adventure – a day to a day and a half will deplete your glycogen enough to have you looking more ripped. This glycogen manipulation is part of a strategy bodybuilders use, depending on whether they want to look leaner or bulkier.

    How do you do this? Um, first, don’t eat carbs. Duh. You can still get the effects with a *few* carbs, but for optimal results keep it pretty incredibly low. I would say <40g and <20g if you can stand it. Remember to count the carbs in your vitamins, your fruit, your Diet Snapple, EVERYTHING.

    Second, you can do what the lifters call “depletion cardio”. This basically just means the first 30-40 minutes of a cardio workout where your heart rate is pretty high, usually 120-140bpm. If you go to a 30 minute spin class, congratulations, you’re probably already doing depletion cardio. Stay away from strength training during this time – it can cause an inflamed look (not ripped) and it’s also very tough with so little fuel in your system.

  • Get your shine on. Body oils and glitter/shimmer lotions aren’t just favorites of dancers because they’re super classy; they also make you look thinner. You know highlighting and contouring? The shine provides a natural highlight, and with light comes shadow, creating long, lean, contoured lines.Is it the kind of look you’re going to wear to brunch at Couchon? No, but it’s more than passable at the beach. And there are plenty of sunscreens with the glitter built right in! (Yes, it’s marketed to kids. So what? It works just the same!)
  • Ditch excess water weight. Gotta weekend poolside photo shoot (or just a hottie coming to your bbq)? Load up on water all week before, then the day of, drink little to none before you go. (When I say load up, though, I mean LOAD UP. Get a gallon jug and make sure you drink at least one each day all week.)(Obviously, don’t be stupid and dehydrate yourself unhealthily. If you need water, drink it. As long as it’s less than you’ve been drinking all week, you’ll be fine.)

    Another good way to

  • Darken up. Um, duh, yeah, tans make you look thinner. Don’t tan outside or in a bed. The beds literally double your risk of skin cancer. Spray tan instead – Mystic is attractive, affordable and available at many local tanning salons.You probably know you can also wear darker clothes to create the illusion of being thinner. This also applies to swimsuits. Manipulate the effect further by choosing a lighter top and darker bottom to visually reduce your butt and enhance your boobs. It’s like psychological Photoshop.

What did I miss? What do you do to look thinner tomorrow? Tell me in the comments.

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