Weight Loss Tip: Scroll your goal. Write down your goals for the next 2 weeks—it’ll make you more likely to commit to them. Keep the goals in plain sight so you’ll stay focused. Some good places to put them: written in the background of your cell phone, posted on your computer monitor, or stuck to the fridge.Beauty Tip: Whiten your smile. A brighter smile makes people perceive you as younger, according to an American Academy of Dentistry study. So take advantage of these affordable innovations. Supergrippy Crest 3D Whitestrips Advanced Vivid ($45; drugstores) hold the bleaching agent hydrogen peroxide in place to boost lightening; wear 30 minutes a day for 2 weeks.
Fitness Tip: Follow the 10-minute rule. Schedule too tight to fit in a 20- or 30-minute workout? Break it up. Do 10 minutes of toning on your upper body one day and spend 10 minutes on your lower body the next day. Walk up and down the stairs in your office building for 10 minutes before heading to lunch.
Style Tip: Schedule (or skip) a shopping trip. Are you going to wear something you already own or buy a new outfit? Decide now, so you’re not scrambling or wandering aimlessly through a department store at the 11th hour. Try on any options you already own and make sure they fit well. Determine if you’ll need new undergarments (read: Spanx), shoes, or jewelry/scarves, etc. If you want to buy something, plan to go shopping in the next 2 or 3 days so you have enough time to figure out all the right accoutrement.
Weight Loss Tip: Commit food to file.Starting a digital food diary—whether creating a file on your personal desktop or joining an online plan—is a research-proven weight loss technique.
Beauty Tip: Go skin deep. Ready to have your best skin in 2 weeks? Book your skin care appointments today and learn more about how to fix your peskiest skin problems.
Fitness Tip: Bend your elbows when you walk. Whenever you walk—whether it’s for exercise or just to get where you need to go—bend your elbows 90 degrees and pump your arms, which automatically speeds up your pace and helps you burn up to 15% more calories.
Weight Loss Tip: Don’t skip breakfast (you’ll just overeat lunch!). It may seem like an easy way to drop pounds (since many people don’t have a big appetite in the morning). But this can set you up to overeat later in the day, says Andrea Spivack, RD, LDN, medical nutrition therapist at the Stunkard Weight Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. (Learn more about how eating breakfast can help you lose weight.)
Fitness Tip: Do strength-training exercises in slow motion. Lift for 2 counts and lower for 4 counts. This works each muscle fiber harder so you get firmer, faster.
Style Tip: Bank on a tank. A tank-style dress, that is. If you’re still unsure what to wear, celebrity stylist Sam Saboura says that a tank-style dress with a scooped neck works well for most body types. “It should nip in slightly at the smallest part of the waist, just under the bust, and skim the hips and thighs. The most flattering length is just above the knee or just past it,” he explains. If you are unsure about exposing your arms, this type of dress works well with cardigans, shawls, or fitted jackets.
Weight Loss Tip: Brown-bag your lunch several days these 2 weeks. You’ll save hundreds of calories (not to mention money) by making your own healthy midday meal.
Fitness Tip: Schedule workouts around meals. Exercise boosts your metabolism but can also increase your appetite. To avoid eating back the calories you just burned, try to schedule workouts so that you have a meal you would normally eat within an hour afterward. And don’t make allowances for exercise—if you usually have a turkey sandwich, stick to that.
Style Tip: Create a sleek silhouette. Start with undergarments that smooth and slim in all the right places so you and your dress will look fabulous together. Luchian Bennett, a department manager at an upscale specialty store in Westchester, NY, says shape-wear and a good bra play an important part in making a woman look and feel great. “Keep in mind your body type and what areas need slimming.”
Weight Loss Tip: Sleep yourself slim.Make a point of turning in earlier, and you’ll see the difference in your waistline within a week. One recent study found that even just a few nights of sleep deprivation can lead to almost immediate weight gain. (Tossing and turning at night? Here’s why you can’t sleep and what to do about it.)
Fitness Tip: Think health, not weight.Focusing on your weight loss goal alone can slash your odds of success by over half, say researchers. A better inspiration: the amazing health rewards you get by being active.
Weight Loss Tip: Seconds-proof your plate. Keeping your entrée, starches, and high-fat foods off the table (fill your plate one time in the kitchen) allows you to linger over conversation without temptation. This trick could cut mealtime calories by 15 to 20%.
Beauty Tip: Practice pumping volume by using a hair thickening beauty product.
Fitness Tip: Drink caffeine. Just a cup of joe an hour before your workout may be all you need to increase endurance and delay fatigue—so you can exercise stronger and longer.
Style Tip: Look tall and lean in the right shoes. When it comes to buying dress shoes, Saboura recommends you buy evening shoes in the, well, evening, when your feet are already swollen from the day. He suggests heels for their overall slimming effect or at least a kitten (small) heel with a peep toe or some embellishment to keep the look dressy.
Weight Loss Tip: Post motivational messages in plain sight. Seeing these notes will help you stay focused and reach your goal. Tack inspirational photos around your workspace, in your car, and on your home fridge. Tape a message like “I can do it!” to the back of your cell phone or set up your computer’s screen saver with a favorite quote.
Beauty Tip: Update your cut. The right haircut is one of the easiest and most immediate age erasers. Why? It hides wrinkles, frames your features, and boosts hair’s volume, which can wane with age, explains Louise O’Connor, owner of OC61 Salon and Spa in New York City. Nothing drastic, but a simple upgrade, like adding layers, will make you look fresher and younger.
Fitness Tip: Take a break! Rest days are key to letting your muscles heal and to avoiding injury, but that doesn’t give you a free pass to park your butt on the couch all day. Instead, try sneaking moves into your current schedule. Knock out a set of squats while waiting for your lunch to microwave or go on a 10-minute walk during the day—it all adds up.
Style Tip: Think about a throw. Bennett says women can update a dress they already own with a pashmina scarf in a bright color, but they should stay away from loud prints that bring attention in the wrong way. If you want to conceal the upper arm area, she recommends wearing a dark-colored shawl or a simple, cropped jacket.
Weight Loss Tip: Watch for sneaky sources of sodium. Water is attracted to sodium, so when you take in higher-than-usual amounts, you’ll temporarily retain more fluid, which contributes to a sluggish feeling, a puffy appearance, and extra water weight.
Beauty Tip: Get hot locks…literally.Restore your locks’ luster with a hot oil treatment 5 to 7 days before your event. Save a bundle by substituting jojoba oil (find it in natural food stores for about $10) for pricier hair-repair products. “Jojoba has a fine molecular structure that allows it to enter and fill the hair shaft, making it a perfect choice for conditioning,” says Paul Labrecque, owner of the New York City-based Paul Labrecque Salon. Spread the oil liberally through dry hair, put on a plastic shower cap, then cover with a hot towel for 30 minutes. Wash it out thoroughly, then rinse with cold water to seal the cuticle and trap added moisture. “When the hair shaft is infused with oil, the cuticle lies flatter, so your hair looks smoother and shinier,” he explains. “With a hot oil treatment, clients should do it prior to color or even just before color is applied. You must wait at least 2 weeks following color to do the treatment.”
Fitness Tip: Be a heavy weight. Lifting weights (the most you can manage) helps you burn more calories—24 hours a day. Every pound of muscle burns between 30 and 50 calories a day, while a pound of fat uses only 2 to 5 calories.
Weight Loss Tip: Go whole. Skip juice and eat the whole fruit instead. You’ll not only get more heart-healthy fiber in your diet (3.5 g in a small apple versus 0.5 g in a glass of juice), you’ll also stay satisfied longer. Research shows that fiber aside, liquid carbohydrates just aren’t as filling as solids. Plus, there are the extra calories—45% more if you’re drinking that juice rather than eating the whole apple, which can add 4 more pounds to your weight by year’s end.
Beauty Tip: Practice your bronzing technique. Apply a light layer of dark foundation or matte bronzer like Rimmel London Natural Bronzer ($5; drugstores) under your chin, which helps define your jawline and, if necessary, can reduce the appearance of a double chin, says Matin Maulawizada of Laura Mercier Cosmetics. Blend toward your neck with a sponge or brush, staying within two shades of your skin tone.
Fitness Tip: Stay hydrated. An hour before working out, sip 8 ounces of water. During your workout, sip 14 ounces of fluid per hour if you don’t sweat a lot and 20 ounces per hour if you’re the type who ends up soaking.
Weight Loss Tip: Breathe—don’t eat—away stress. Instead of abusing the Chunky Monkey ice cream when you’re under pressure, try a short yoga routine or a few minutes of progressive relaxation: Breathe slowly, then focus on one area of your body at a time. As you exhale, feel tension in that area melt away. Start with your feet and end with your neck, shoulders, head, and face (relax your eyes and even your tongue—you may be surprised by how much tension you’re holding in those spots!). Twenty minutes of relaxation could lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can trigger food cravings.
Beauty Tip: Get color conscious. There’s nothing like a great dye job to turn back the clock. Hair color not only covers gray but also boosts volume and shine, makes fine lines less noticeable, and brightens a dull complexion. That is, unless you’re still coloring the same way you did in your 30s. “What worked then might be aging you now,” says colorist Kim Vo of the Mirage Las Vegas.
Fitness Tip: Visualize success. Picture yourself reaching your goal weight or looking fab in your ensemble; it’ll make the home stretch feel easier and more rewarding.
Style Tip: Finalize your flare. If you’re still unsure which accessories you want, decide now to prevent last-minute scrambling. “Go for a textured clutch when it comes to an evening bag—an embossed skin or patent leather works great. A shot of color with your accessories, like shoes and bag, will keep your simple dress looking modern and chic, says Saboura. Bennett suggests wearing a statement necklace or accessorizing with bracelets and a statement ring. “Experiment with mixing and matching if it’s comfortable to you.”
Weight Loss Tip: Avoid gassy veggies.These last few days, skip veggies like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, legumes, cabbage, onions, peppers—they can cause excess gas in your GI tract, making it blow up like a balloon. Instead, sauté some less gassy options, such as French green beans (haricots verts), wild mushrooms, or diced squash, for a delicious side dish.
Beauty Tip: Play up your brows. Nice brows are like an instant face-lift. “When brows are thin and light, they make your features disappear, adding years to even the youngest-looking face,” says Damone Roberts, a celebrity eyebrow artist. Fill in sparse spots with a dark brow shadow to create the illusion of thickness.
Fitness Tip: Do a mini yoga routine.
Weight Loss Tip: Drink before you eat.Quaff a glass of water and wait about 10 minutes to determine if you are truly hungry. It’s easy to mistake hunger for thirst, notes Dee Sandquist, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Overeating today could cause bloat that may hang around until your big event.
Beauty Tip: Bling up your hands. Hands are a notorious age-giveaway, but studies show certain tricks can hide the signs. Wearing nail polish or rings can distract people from noticing common maturity signs, such as veins and age spots, according to a study by plastic surgeons in England. Researchers asked people to estimate women’s ages based solely on photographs of their hands. The stunning result: 49% thought women’s hands looked younger when adorned with nail polish; 52% felt the same about jewelry.
Fitness Tip: Ease muscle soreness naturally. Dr. Andrew Weil, Preventionadvisor, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona, and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, suggests the following natural pain-relieving practices:
- Take a hot bath following intense exercise to increase circulation and help remove metabolic wastes, both of which ease soreness.
- Get a Swedish massage, which research suggests may help decrease inflammation and speed muscle recovery immediately after a workout. Consider treating yourself to a massage, or ask a friend to rub your muscles.
- Take supplements. Dr. Weil recommends taking 5 g of D-ribose before (and even after) exercise. This simple sugar may help speed recovery by energizing muscles. You might also try homeopathic arnica or an anti-inflammatory agent, such as turmeric.
Style Tip: Do a dry run. Try on your outfit and make sure everything looks great together. “You should be able to sit, relax, and move in your evening look,” says Saboura. “The idea behind special-event dressing is to always be the ultimate version of yourself, not to copy a style that is out of your comfort zone.” Do any touch-ups and adjustments that need to be taken care of within the next 2 days. Some last-minute things to address:
- Ironing or steaming out wrinkles
- Cleaning or polishing scuff marks off shoes
- Packing your evening bag with staples like Band-Aids for blisters, double-sided tape for a dress that’s on the move, clear nail polish for panty-hose runs, and breath mints
- Polishing your jewelry so it sparkles and shines
Weight Loss Tip: Don’t chew gum. When you chew gum, you swallow air. All that air gets trapped in your GI tract and causes pressure, bloating, and belly expansion.
Beauty Tip: Do a last-minute skin sweep. You have 24 hours to get your skin in gear—but there’s lots you can do!
Fitness Tip: Reach and hold. These yoga moves will ease any preparty stress and limber you up so you can dance, dine, or just shoot the breeze in style.
Weight Loss Tip: Depuff with a stroll. If you didn’t get any exercise today, go for a 10-minute walk after lunch and dinner. Walking after eating can help relieve belly bloat, flattening out a temporary pooch.
Beauty Tip: Brighten up undereyes.After 40, skin loses elasticity and thins, which can make you look tired and allow blood vessels to show through, heightening discoloration. Here are five ways to send your circles packing and look younger—instantly.
Fitness Tip: Squeeze a workout in!Today is your last opportunity to exercise, but don’t stop there. Find more routines to keep you looking and feeling fabulous here.
Before you join the party:
Style Tips: Plump your lips. Line the outer edge of your lips first, then fill in completely. “This creates a barrier that accentuates fullness and reduces lipstick bleeding,” says New York City celebrity makeup artist Laura Geller. Try a plumping liner like Lip- Fusion Micro-Injected Collagen Lip Plumping Pencil ($28; fusionbeauty.com), with collagen microspheres to add volume. For a natural effect, choose a clear or skin tone or one that’s the same shade as your lip color.
Bring the confidence! Remember to stand up straight, smile, and feel great about how you look tonight. Now go have some fun!