JJ Virgin: So, you're doing some spring cleaning and decide to put all of your short-sleeve summer shirts in a pile to try on. What happens next is enough to gasp: Somehow, you've gained a few over the winter ... and it has gone to your arms, too. Suddenly, shirts that looked OK last year now make you look like you have girl-linebacker arms. Never fear: My new book, "Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy," hits stores on May 11 (although it's available for pre-order now on Amazon.com.)
Here are a few ways you can start to slim and sculpt your arms for summer. (You can start in your kitchen!) Future columns will discuss how to slim and sculpt using my best workout tips. For now, let's hit your fridge and cabinets and make a few important changes ....
Want Great Arms? Start in the Kitchen!
Stop the Coffee Shop Madness!
It's easy to convince yourself that drinking a low-fat latte on a daily basis is a great choice, but most of them are laden with sugar and calories. Instead, you can save money and your body by opting for plain coffee. Put a splash of coconut milk in there, and it will taste exactly like a creamy latte -- only better. (You can also use a splash of organic half & half.) Add a little xylitol or stevia if you like it sweet, but skip all those other artificial sweeteners that just mess with your system.
Make an Oil Change
If you're still cooking with vegetable oil -- whether it be sunflower, soybean or corn oil -- it's time to throw out those bottles once and for all. Trade them for the far-healthier extra virgin olive oil, walnut oil or sesame oil. These are also good oils to use when making salad dressings; just blend them with specialty vinegars based on taste.
Try a Little Cinnamon
Sprinkle cinnamon on foods such as cereal and yogurts, because this spice is great at leveling out your blood sugar. You can also shake a little of it into metabolism-boosting green tea, which is delicious.
Is that Salad Healthy?
Take a hard look at the salads you eat as "healthy going-out meals." Use common sense, and substitute grilled chicken for sautéed or fried. Insist on oil-and-vinegar dressing (on the side!) instead of a creamy dressing. Skip the croutons and the fried wonton strips, and trade in the blue-cheese crumbles for goat cheese. Take a moment and tell your waiter all of your substitutions. You're not being a pain: He or she wants you to be happy with your meal!
Skip the Fro-Yo
Don't fall into the current trap of believing those frozen yogurt stores on every corner that scream they're a healthy alternative. Yes, frozen yogurt has fewer calories and fat than real ice cream. But it's still loaded with unnecessary sugar and calories.
"Sugar-Free?" Not Really
Get rid of anything "sugar-free" in your life -- including puddings and jams. These are just chemical cocktails that wreak havoc on your system and have little to no nutritional value. Likewise, if you've swapped the fried version of chips for the baked ones, why not just rid your life of the whole bagged mess? You don't really need chips -- they're trigger foods that tempt you into overeating.
Don't Drink Your Calories
Pass up the fruity waters in your grocery store. Most of them are water plus sugar. Why do you want to drink a quick dessert?
Celebrity nutrition and wellness expert JJ Virgin is a public speaker, costar of TLC's "Freaky Eaters" and author of "Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy: The 5-Step Plan to Sleek, Strong and Sculpted Arms," available May 11. Pre-order your copy now (it's less than $10!) and receive her "10 Hottest Tips to Get Slim and Sexy Fast" audio (a $14.95 value) FREE at SixWeekstoSleevelessandSexy.com.