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BY Nicole Carter Leah Chernikoff Wednesday, April 29, 2009, 4:20 PM That shrieking sound you heard last weekend was from women putting on a bikini for the first time since Labor Day.
Send a Letter to the Editor Join the Conversation: facebook Tweet Get Daily News stories, delivered to your inbox. The key to weight loss is taking in fewer calories than you burn, but what you eat can give you a tremendous advantage. New research reveals that your body has a harder time burning fat without adequate levels of vitamin C--the star nutrient in OJ. People who eat fish three or four times a week have higher levels of leptin, a hormone that is believed to control appetite and promote fat loss. Lean meats, such as sirloin steak, as well as turkey, chicken, tuna, lentils and fortified cereals, are rich in iron, the mineral that's responsible for forming hemoglobin and carrying oxygen in your red blood cells. Sure, milk delivers bone-building calcium, and some studies suggest that calcium promotes fat burning, but that's not the whole story, or perhaps even the most important part. Some experts estimate that up to one-third of Americans routinely run low on this important antioxidant. Without enough oxygen-carrying hemoglobin, your energy flags and your metabolism falls, says Heller. The morning meal fires up your metabolism and increases your energy to tackle the day--and hopefully the ride--ahead. Fish are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to regulate the body's blood-sugar levels, keeping hunger at bay. When German researchers gave 14 men and women two cups of water, they found that the subjects' metabolism began to rise within 10 minutes of their final sip. Researchers are now discovering that vitamin D is an important player in metabolism, as well as bone development.

Most Americans get only about 15 percent of the recommended daily amount (650mg) of omega-3s. Research shows that egg eaters consume fewer calories than non-egg eaters in the hours following breakfast.
After 40 minutes, their average calorie-burning rate was 30 percent higher and stayed elevated for more than an hour. Strawberries, kiwi, red bell peppers, tomatoes, citrus fruits and spinach are all excellent sources. Good to know: Canned tuna contains fewer omega-3s than salmon, and it has recently come under fire for its high mercury content, which limits the amount of tuna you should eat. Good to know: Almost 80 percent of people who lose and keep off large amounts of weight eat breakfast daily, according to the National Weight Control Registry. What's more, water quenches your thirst and helps prevent dehydration, which can slow your metabolism. If you live in the northern states (any above the line from New York City to Northern California), the sun is strong enough for your body to make the vitamin only from May to September. Good to know: Part of the increased calorie burn occurs as your body warms the liquid to your body temperature, so if you're aiming for max burn, dump ice cubes into a 16-ounce water bottle and fill it to the brim with water.
What's more, sunblock with an SPF higher than 8 will block the UV rays necessary to make vitamin D.
Twelve ounces a week, or four 3-ounce cans, deliver all the omega-3s you need, plus it's low in calories (80 per can) and high in protein. Good to know: Three cups of milk a day deliver your daily dose of calcium and about 75 percent of your vitamin D needs (400 IU a day).
When youa€™re stressed out, your body releases a hormone called cortisol that actually leads to bloating, says Lindsey Emery, senior fitness editor at Fitness magazine. Within a month every trace of C disappears from the juice, leaving you with nothing but a carton of orange-colored calories.
Toss it in salads, mix it with pasta, or just serve it up with a little mayo in a salmon sub.

For the rest, hang out in the sunshine for about five minutes a day to get some light on your hands, face and arms. She suggests taking yoga or Pilates classes, which focus as much on physical fitness as on relaxing your mind. Before you stretch out in the park and risk sunburn and skin cancer, reach for the fake stuff. In addition to making you feel sun-kissed and glowing, Murphy notes that fake tanners can make you look slimmer and conceal flaws.
If you eat 300 less calories and burn 300 more a day, for five days a week, you should lose nearly a pound a week. She points to a study that shows when almonds replace less healthful foods, dieters actually can lose more weight and trim more inches from their waistline.
Emery says that even 1,000 crunches at the gym wona€™t sculpt those abs in time for bikini season.
Exercises that work your body and your core: planks, pushups and anything with a stability ball. Murphy recommends boy shorts: a€?They give you enough coverage to feel confident, but they still show skin, so you feel sexy. They cut them so the waist is a little higher, so you dona€™t get that tummy spillover.a€? Luckily, the trend toward retro swimwear is also figure-flattering, as high waists, ruffles and gathered fabric hide the right places.
Every few minutes, go a little faster.a€? Another tip, she says, is to increase the incline on the treadmill or up the resistance during spinning class to burn more calories. It can be hard to remember that youa€™re working toward that bikini bod while youa€™re hunched over a computer at work.
So Murphy suggests a€?perspiration inspiration,a€? using images of tight-toned abs in a bikini and words that compel you to stay on track.

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