While the sun is still shining and the days of summer are still long, we tend to focus on exercising and eating healthy to look and feel our best. And we sometimes forget to count the drinks and cocktails we consume, which can be key to maintaining our bikini bodies.
When reaching for a drink on warm summer days, water is the best possible choice, while soda is the number one beverage to avoid. All soda, even diet soda is offensive when it comes to health and weight loss or maintenance. Every time you drink a bottle of soda, you get hundreds of empty calories! If you find the taste of water boring or bland, incorporate slices of lemon, lime or orange. According to the World Health Organization, a compound in these sour citrus fruits called d-limonene can give sluggish bowels a kick, which helps maintain a healthy digestive system.
If your choice is alcohol, don’t forget that alcohol has calories too—7 per gram! That’s more than protein or carbohydrates, and almost as much as fat. So, if you want to feel your best around the pool this summer, it is important to realize low-cal choices are helpful in maintaining that beach body you worked so hard for.
Apart from the calories in alcohol, the calories in the mixers of your favorite cocktails often pose a far greater issue than the actual alcohol. Why? Because a cocktail you order at the beach bar will contain more sugar than vodka. In fact, 4oz of a daiquiri or margarita mix can contain upwards of 35 grams of sugar—that’s 7 teaspoons of sugar! Calories from mixers are simple and refined sugars, which are the worst kind of calories. When they're combined with how alcohol affects your metabolism, it is not ideal for your body.
The obvious solution is abstinence, but what fun would that be? You can still enjoy summer sippers and not have to worry about the large number of calories. Choosing the right drinks can curb your appetite, tweak your metabolism, and help cut calories. Here's a guide to how to drink alcohol and maintain your weight. First and foremost, minimize the calories from mixers. Even the most natural juices are loaded with sugar. A glass of 100 percent orange juice has six teaspoons of sugar, and a glass of 100 percent apple juice has seven teaspoons. Instead of using bottled juices, make margaritas with fresh squeezed lime juice, and use calorie-free club soda instead of regular tonic water and other high-calorie carbonated drinks. Try this Super Skinny Margarita recipe that will satisfy your craving, but keep your weight in check.
Super Skinny Margarita
- 3 ounces of sparkling ice lemon lime
- 1 ½ ounces tequila
- Fresh squeezed orange juice
- Fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 lime slice for garnish
Shake first four ingredients and pour over ice into a chilled glass rimmed with salt. Garnish with lime slice.
Per serving: 100 calories, 3g carbs, and 2 grams of sugar
If your choice is wine, you can expect to consume roughly 100 to 120 calories per glass. White wine contains fewer carbohydrates than red wine, making a small difference in terms of calories. On the other hand, a study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry shows that red wine's allergic acids delay the growth of fat cells while slowing the development of new ones. However, there's a way to cut calories, but still enjoy your favorite wine.
- 4 ounces of white wine or rose
- Club soda to taste
- Fresh fruit garnish
Per serving: 45 calories, 4 carbs
And for the non-alcohol drinkers, take a look at the delicious low-cal mocktail recipes below, and prepare sip your way slim!
Virgin Citrus Mimosa
- ¾ cup lite orange juice
- ½ cup lite grapefruit juice
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 packet Stevia
- 16 oz bottle of sparkling water
Combine all juices and stir in stevia. Cover with foil and chill mixture for at least 2 hours up to 24 hours. To serve pour into 4 champagne glasses, add sparking water and stir lightly to mix. Garnish with citrus.
Per 6oz. serving: 28 calories, 19mg sodium, 3g carb, and 1 gram of protein
Lean Green Mocktail
- 1 whole cantaloupe
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 apple
- 1 quarter inch piece of ginger
- 16 oz sparking water
- Salt to taste
Juice all fruits and vegetables. Mix juice with sparking water and serve over ice. Garnish with citrus slice. Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 44 calories, 33 mg sodium, 8g carbs, and 1 gram of protein
Peppy Tomato Mary
- 2 cups tomato juice
- 2 tbsp. lime juice
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire
- ½ tsp. horseradish
- Hot pepper sauce to taste
- Ice cubes
Combine all ingredients into small pitcher over ice, garish with celery.
Per 8 oz. serving: 37 cal, 41 mg sodium, 6 grams of carbs, and 1 gram of protein
Mint Pineapple Grape Fizz
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened grape juice
- 1 6oz unsweetened pineapple juice
- 2 cups club soda chilled
- Ice cubes
Place the ½ cup of mint leaves in pitcher; use the back of a spoon to bruise the leaves. Stir in pineapple and grape juice. Cover and chill for 4 -24 hours. Strain mint, and discard. Stir club soda into juice mixture, pour into 6 ice filled glasses, garnish with mint sprigs. Makes 6 servings.
Per Serving: 61 calories, 24 ml sodium, 8 carbs
Minty Lime Quencher
- ½ cup lime juice
- ½ cup mint leaves
- 1-2 packets of Stevia
- 2 cups sparkling seltzer water
- 1-cup ice
Add first 3 ingredients to a large glass and shake to combine. Add ice, divide mixture and top off with sparking water. Add lime as garnish.
Per 8 oz. serving: 26 cal. 40 mg sodium, 5 carbs, and 1 gram of protein.
Skinny Blueberry Vodka Mojito
- 2 oz. vodka (optional: use blueberry vodka for even more flavor)
- 4 oz. Sprite Zero
- 2 sprigs fresh mint (reserve one sprig for garnish)
- 1 tbsp. fresh blueberries (reserve a few for garnish)
Muddle vodka, mint and blueberries together in a shaker. Add one cup of crushed ice and shake. Pour into a cocktail glass and top with Sprite Zero, garnish with remaining mint & blueberries!
Per serving: 130 calories, 5 carbs
- 2 ounces of tequila
- Squeeze of lime
- Club soda, to top
- Lime wedge for garnish
Fill a highball glass with ice and add tequila and lime juice. Top with club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Per serving: 95 calories, 5 carbs
"Steal the mesh underwear you get from the hospital," a friend said upon learning I was pregnant with my first daughter.
It was the single best piece of advice I received before giving birth in December 2013. My best friend delivered her daughter eight months previously, and she was the first to pass along this shared code among new moms: you'll need mesh underwear for your at-home postpartum recovery, and you can't find them anywhere for purchase. End result: steal them. And tell your friends.
My delivery and subsequent recovery were not easy. To my unexpected surprise, after almost 24 hours of labor, I had an emergency C-section. Thankfully, my daughter was healthy; however, my recovery was quite a journey. The shock to my system caused my bloated and swollen body to need weeks of recovery time. Luckily, I had trusted my friend and followed her instructions: I had stolen some mesh underwear from the hospital to bring home with me.
Unfortunately, I needed those disposable underwear for much longer than I anticipated and quickly ran out. As I still wasn't quite mobile, my mother went to the store to find more underwear for me. Unfortunately, she couldn't find them anywhere and ended up buying me oversized granny panties. Sure, they were big enough, but I had to cut the waistband for comfort.
I eventually recovered from my C-section, survived those first few sleepless months, and returned to work. At the time, I was working for a Fortune 100 company and happily contributing to the corporate world. But becoming a new mom brought with it an internal struggle and search for something “more" out of my life--a desire to have a bigger impact. A flashback to my friend's golden piece of advice got me thinking: Why aren't mesh underwear readily available for women in recovery? What if I could make the magical mesh underwear available to new moms everywhere? Did I know much about designing, selling, or marketing clothing? Not really. But I also didn't know much about motherhood when I started that journey, either, and that seemed to be working out well. And so, Brief Transitions was born.
My quest began. With my manufacturing and engineering background I naively thought, It's one product. How hard could it be? While it may not have been “hard," it definitely took a lot of work. I slowly started to do some research on the possibilities. What would it take to start a company and bring these underwear to market? How are they made and what type of manufacturer do I need? With each step forward I learned a little more--I spoke with suppliers, researched materials, and experimented with packaging. I started to really believe that I was meant to bring these underwear to other moms in need.
Then I realized that I needed to learn more about the online business and ecommerce world as well. Google was my new best friend. On my one hour commute (each way), I listened to a lot of podcasts to learn about topics I wasn't familiar with--how to setup a website, social media platforms, email marketing, etc. I worked in the evenings and inbetween business trips to plan what I called Execution Phase. In 2016, I had a website with a Shopify cart up and running. I also delivered my second daughter via C-section (and handily also supplied myself with all the mesh underwear I needed).
They say, “If you build it, they will come." But I've learned that the saying should really go more like this: “If you build it, and tell everyone about it, they might come." I had a 3-month-old, an almost 3 year old and my business was up and running. I had an occasional sale; however, my processes were extremely manual and having a day job while trying to ship product out proved to be challenging. I was manually processing and filling orders and then going to the post office on Saturday mornings to ship to customers. I eventually decided to go where the moms shop...hello, Amazon Prime! I started to research what I needed to do to list products with Amazon and the benefits of Amazon fulfillment (hint: they take care of it for you).
Fast forward to 2018...
While I started to build this side business and saw a potential for it to grow way beyond my expectations, my corporate job became more demanding with respect to travel and time away from home. I was on the road 70% of the time during first quarter 2018. My normally “go with the flow" 4-year-old started to cry every time I left for a trip and asked why I wasn't home for bedtime. That was a low point for me and even though bedtime with young kids has its own challenges, I realized I didn't want to miss out on this time in their lives. My desire for more scheduling flexibility and less corporate travel time pushed me to work the nights and weekends needed to build and scale my side hustle to a full-time business. If anyone tries to tell you it's “easy" to build “passive" income, don't believe them. Starting and building a business takes a lot of grit, hustle and hard work. After months of agonizing, changing my mind, and wondering if I should really leave my job (and a steady paycheck!), I ultimately left my corporate job in April 2018 to pursue Brief Transitions full-time.
In building Brief Transitions, I reached out to like-minded women to see if they were experiencing similar challenges to my own--balancing creating and building a business while raising children--and I realized that many women are on the quest for flexible, meaningful work. I realized that we can advance the movement of female entrepreneurs by leveraging community to inspire, empower, and connect these trailblazers. For that reason, I recently launched a new project, The Transitions Collective, a platform for connecting community-driven women entrepreneurs.
As is the case with many entrepreneurs, I find myself working on multiple projects at a time. I am now working on a members-only community for The Transitions Collective that will provide access to experts and resources for women who want to leave corporate and work in their business full-time. Connecting and supporting women in this movement makes us a force in the future of work. At the same time, I had my most profitable sales quarter to date and best of all, I am able to drop my daughter off at school in the morning.
Mesh underwear started me on a journey much bigger than I ever imagined. They sparked an idea, ignited a passion, and drove me to find fulfillment in a different type of work. That stolen underwear was just the beginning.