Our Real Life Advice for Losing Weight and Staying Fit

Every time bikini season rolls around, millions of females jump on the healthy train for a few months to try to obtain the perfect body. Fad diets and throwing your body into starvation simply will not work.

Two of GRACESHIP's interns, Alexis and Renee, have compiled a list of their favorite fitness and food tips. Take a look below to find out what has really worked for us, and gather some tricks to help you stay trim this summer, as well as all year long. (Disclaimer: We are not registered dietitians or physical trainers, and this is only our personal take on how to live a healthy lifestyle).

Favorite Healthy Meals:




  • Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt - with more protein than average yogurt and a lot less sugar, this yummy delight is great for filling you up and keeping you going long throughout the morning hours! (an added plus is you can use this food to make many baking recipes a lot healthier or as a substitute to sour cream!)

  • Berries - Blueberries, Raspberries, and Blackberries to be exact! These are great as a natural sweetener for your Greek yogurt, and provide lots of healthy benefits! From reducing inflammation, heightening brain power, and their outrageous amounts of antioxidants, these babies are a must!

  • Granola - Many people are scared to go near this food because it is often associated with being high in calories! To steer clear of over indulging, measure out 1/4 to 1/3 cup of this yummy crunchy goodness to top off your yogurt and berry mixture! One of my favorites is Kashi Go Lean Crunch! It’s a good mix of natural ingredients, and provides a good amount of your daily fiber!

  • Coffee - For many of us we can’t go a morning without this stuff! Recent studies have shown that drinking coffee may help fight off depression, reduces the risk of developing type II diabetes, may ward off skin cancer, and could improve overall cognitive function. Add a little bit of almond milk, one Truvia, and a couple of dashes of cinnamon-delicious!



  • Spinach - this leafy green is one of the finest out there! It not only is packed full of some great vitamins, but it curbs overeating, aids in digestion, and protects against high blood pressure!

Salad Toppers

-- Carrots - one of my favorite salad toppers, carrots are high in vitamin A, which is known to enhance vision, in addition to their cancer fighting and sun protecting benefits! Why would you not want to add these crunchy veggies to your salad!

-- Cherry Tomatoes - Easy to eat raw but also awesome when they are cooked, this fruit (that’s right fruit) is rich in antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and K, and is a cancer fighter! Add these on top of any salad for an extra kick!

-- Avocado - This food is addicting! Sometimes I even eat it all by itself with a quick sprinkle of salt and pepper! It is full of vitamin E and B, fiber rich, and known to prevent breast cancer, so adding this to your salad is essential!

-- Dressing - Almost every bottled dressing is full of sugar, so I often times make my own! With a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil, your salad is complete!

  • Special K Multigrain Crackers - If the salad doesn’t completely fill me up I’ll snack on a few of these crackers! They are super low in calories for a serving of 24 of them at only 120 Cals. 


  • Grilled Chicken - Often times I marinate my chicken in Zesty Italian Dressing, and put it right on the grill! It’s a great source of lean protein, reduces the risk of arthritis, and keeps your bones in tip top shape from the calcium and phosphorus levels! It’s the perfect center piece to your meal.

  • Sweet potatoes - I could not think of a better side item than a sweet potato! They are filled with vitamins B6, A, and C, a major source of potassium, and low in calories. This root vegetable can easily be dubbed one of my favorite foods!

  • Brussel Sprouts - Another go-to vegetable, these are packed full of iron, protein, vitamin C, and fiber. I like to cut them in half, spread them on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. I then roast them at 400°F for 30 to 35 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. These are a delicious side that you can never go wrong with!


Favorite Summer Time Workouts:


1. Biking 

Being able to exercise outdoors is one of the greatest parts of summer! Biking has come to be one of my favorite cardio workouts because its gets me sweating but is still easy on my joints! Health benefits from reducing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and types of cancer are often times associated with this workout. Plus it allows me to escape from the demands of the day, as my mind can openly wonder - leading to a better mood. Another great thing about this workout is that you can control how intense you want to push yourself, and even if you are just joy riding your heart rate is still elevated and burning those cals!

2. Zumba

I am one who easily gets bored with my workout routine, so last semester when I decided to take a Zumba class I had no idea what I would be in for. The routines constantly change, and the instructors really push you to burn those extra calories. An added benefit.... it’s fun! This dancing workout not only puts you in a great mood and allows you to let loose, but can cause you to burn anywhere from 200 to 400 calories in just one session!

3. Swimming 

Unless your fitness club has an indoor pool, swimming is one of the limited exercise choices. Swimming is not only a great summer workout because it keeps you cool while getting your cardio in, but it works every single muscle in your body. To be able to move accurately through the water, every muscle from your legs, stomach and arms will be reached.



How to Cheat your Diet without Killing It:


1. Sweet Tooth

I have a killer sweet tooth that will randomly strike sometime around 9 o’clock at night. Majority of the time I am looking for something with chocolate. I refuse to let myself completely give in to this temptation so I decided to allow myself a small piece of Hershey’s Dark Chocolate. Not only do I get my fix, but dark chocolate is also good for the heart.

2. Eating at a Restaurant

Eating out with your friends and family when trying to watch what foods you’re consuming is a difficult task. Completely unaware of how the cook is preparing the meal. There is always the go-to salad choices, but always watch what dressing you choose. Get it on the side and choose an oil and vinegar option. If you want something a little heartier and it’s available, choose the veggie or turkey burger. You’ll get the burger taste without the calories.

3. Summer BBQ

The number one downfall to a summer diet is the numerous BBQ events to attend without all those mayonnaise based pasta or potato salads. DO NOT GIVE IN TO THOSE! Instead stick to the fruit, vegetables and shishkabobs. Watch the fruit and vegetable dips though because that is just empty calories.

>>Fitness Apps Everyone Will Love:


 1. My FitnessPal

We would place this little bundle of joy at the top of your favorite apps list. Every day both Renee and Alexis log their meals into My FitnessPal to accurately track not only the calorie consumption, but to ensure we are staying in range for Carbs, Fats and Protein. It is very informative and has worked for the both of us.

 2. Fooducate

Any and all information for all your food questions are wrapped up into this app available for both Iphone and Android users. Do you think something is healthy? Scan the package and all nutritional facts will pop up allowing you to not onlty see your rating in that category, but healthier alternatives as well.

 3. Nike+

Nike is a big brand name to throw around when talking about sports or other forms of physical activity.  This app ties in with all Nike+ products. Everything from the Fuel Band to the Sports Watch GPS will be displayed in your phone. If you aren’t up for your usual routine at the gym or are looking for something different to try, the Nike+ app has a wide range of options from beginners to experts all targeting different areas!


Boost Your Workout:


1. Look Good, Feel Good

Women love clothes and we love feeling good in a fresh, new outfit. If you are feeling a lack of enthusiasm to go to the gym, try buying a new work out outfit that you’ll be super excited to wear. If you think these clothes cost a fortune, you’re looking in all the wrong places. Rather than spending $60.00 on a new pair of running capris at Dicks Sporting Goods, check out TJ Maxx. I just bought a pair of $110.00 capris for only $19.99!

2. Music

Downloading a few new songs or creating an awesome workout play list with up-beat tempos will enhance a work out greatly. Make sure they are enough beats per minute to keep you motivated and moving at a fast pace. Here are some of our favorite tunes to listen to:

        ALEXIS -

        · “I’m A Machine” by: David Guetta, Crystal Nicole, and Tyrese Gibson

        · “Radioactive” by: Imagine Dragons

        · “When Love Takes Over” by: David Guetta

        RENEE - 

        · “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark” by: Fall Out Boys

        · “Warrior” by: Disturbed

        · “Fighter” by: Christina Aguliera

 3. Money Jar

Money is motivation for everyone, something we work for each and every day. Why not incorporate this into your health? Set up a workout money jar that allows you to work toward those over-priced jeans or that designer bag, like GRACESHIP’s women’s laptop handbags! For each exercise or workout completed, place whatever dollar amount you have set into the jar. For example what I would do is $1.00 per workout, but for Saturday and Sunday I would put $5.00. The weekends are much more difficult to get to the gym, so there would need to be a greater reward.


With bikini season in full swing, we hope that these tips will put you on a better path to an overall healthier lifestyle.

Alexis Carter
Alexis Carter


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