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Clear from Head to Toe You're not the only one. Many adult women suffer from body acne. To get your skin clear in time for a big date, swear off the spandex at the gym, which traps sweat next to skin, and wear looser-fitting clothing. Also, wash with a salicylic acid-based cleanser, like Neutrogena Body Clear ($6.44), all over, especially on areas prone to breakouts.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate Drinks lots of water -- at least eight glasses a day -- to keep skin soft and clear. Try drinking one or two glasses of water with every meal or snack, and keep a large bottle on your desk at work. Staying hydrated will also help you feel more full -- which could help you slim down.
Firm Up Most experts agree that cellulite creams cannot permanently get rid of that dimpled skin 85 percent of us have. But some say they can make skin appear tighter in the short term with continued use. Clarins Body Lift Advanced Cellulite Control ($66) is a favorite among beauty junkies.
Rev Up Your Workouts If you don't already have an exercise routine, looking better naked should be just the motivation you need to start one. Cardiovascular exercise is essential, so commit to doing 20 to 30 minutes each day, three to five days each week. Add some strength training to the equation, too. Since you've only got two weeks, you may want to focus on one body part -- your arms, tummy, or glutes for example. Pick two or three exercises and dedicate yourself to doing three sets of each exercise every time you work out. How many repetitions you do and how much weight you lift should depend on your tolerance -- don't push yourself too hard. Remember the idea is to slowly build your strength, not force it to magically appear.
You Are What You Eat It's annoying but true, so stop with the doughnuts and coffee already! Studies have shown that good nutrition contributes as much to your mood as it does to your weight, so for these two weeks (at least) drop your junk food habit.
Take Care of Your Teeth Who's gonna wanna see you in the buff if they can smell your breath a mile away? Start a nightly dental regimen -- brush, floss, and use the strongest mouthwash you can stand. You might consider investing in an at-home teeth-whitening program, too. Most teeth-whitening programs last 14 days or less. These little details will go a long way toward creating a sexier smile.
Take Time for Yourself Stress shows on your face and in your body, so it's essential to find some relaxation time each day. Yoga is an excellent stress-reliever, not to mention wonderful exercise. So buy a video that you can follow in your home. Put on some comfy and loose-fitting clothes, hide away in a room of your own, light a scented candle, and relax as you settle in to the video. Follow the routine with a cup of green tea. The antioxidants are good for you, and the ritual of enjoying the tea will allow you to stay in your meditative yoga state for that much longer.
Load Up on Fruits and Vegetables Start eating fruits and vegetables like they're going out of style, especially juicy citrus fruits. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice contain lots of antioxidants to keep your skin looking bright and healthy. Apples, dried apricots, cherries, grapes, kiwi, oranges, mango, melon, and raspberries are all excellent additions to your diet. Don't foget your veggies -- cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet peppers, and carrots offer super antioxidant properties, too. Oatmeal is an excellent breakfast solution. Rolled oats are quite filling despite being low in calories. Fish like salmon and herring have essential oils that make your skin and hair healthier.
Foods to Avoid Take it easy on the salt. It will leave you and your skin feeling thirsty, and can make you feel bloated. This means watching your cheese intake, along with foods like pepperoni, bacon, and pork. Milk contributes to that bloated feeling too, so you may want to avoid it for a few days. Garlic is a no-no, especially the day or two before your big romantic event, as it will linger on your breath and in your pores. Sugar is another culprit to avoid because it produces a natural high, which also means there's a natural low. This is when you're at your most vulnerable to overeating. Finally, try to stay away from refined starches like cakes, biscuits, rolls, and soft white bread -- these foods will quickly turn to sugar in your body.
Don't Get Your Drink On Alcohol is a major source of calories -- one glass of red wine has almost 100 calories, and beer is even worse. So reduce your alcohol intake, if not cut it out altogether. This is not to say you can't celebrate on the big day with a glass of champagne, but do take it easy.
Fuzz-Free Want to be silky smooth all over? Spring for a wax -- be it bikini, leg, or upper lip. Waxing does cause temporary irritation, however. So get it done at least three days before the big day, giving your skin time to recover, and take an aspirin beforehand to help ease the pain.
Sun-Kissed in Winter A tan makes anyone look thinner. Get a subtle bronze even in the dead of winter with self-tanner, which you should apply a few days before the big day just in case you need to do touch-ups. Try the popular Lancome Flash Bronzer ($35), and use this method for goof-proof application: Exfoliate in the shower, paying special attention to elbows, knees, and feet. Once you are thoroughly dried off, apply moisturizer, and let it sink in for a few moments. Then apply the tanner in long strokes, being sure to hit your feet too. Blend well. If you're doing your back, get a friend to help! When you're finished, scrub hands and nails clean, and give the tanner about 15 minutes to dry.
Carbo-Load This old runner's trick works. You'll want lots of energy for your big night out, so have yourself a nice pasta dinner the day before. Avoid the garlic and instead have your favorite vegetables and skip the dessert! You can indulge in some sweets with your sweetie on the big date.
Sweet Dreams Get a good night's sleep. This is the best thing you can do for your body and your state of mind. If you have trouble getting to sleep, avoid drinking any caffeine after noon. Start your bedtime regimen early. Put on a pot of decaf tea, like chamomile, and relax in your jammies with some light reading material and soothing music.
Walk It Off Looking good is a state of mind -- and fitness begets confidence. Start your day off right with a brisk 15-minute walk. The fresh air will clear your mind and the activity will help you release some of that nervous energy.
Touchable Skin Sloughing off dead, dry skin can give you baby-soft skin. Exfoliate with a shower scrub, like Fresh's Brown Sugar Body Polish ($58). It's pricey, but leaves your skin super silky and smelling sweet. Another good -- and less expensive -- option is Origins Incredible Spreadable Scrub ($27.50).
You Glow, Girl! Although body glitter is a bit passe, you can give your skin a gentle radiance by using a lotion infused with a hint of shimmer.
Pretty Hands and Feet Pamper your hands and feet by getting a manicure and pedicure. A fire-engine red hue looks especially flirty for Valentine's Day. Don't want to spring for a salon job? Give yourself this simple home version: Soak nails in warm, soapy water. File nails to just past the tips of your fingers. Drop cuticle oil on each finger, then rub in. Gently push back cuticles. Finish it off by buffing nails until they shine.
Pump It Up! Here's a trick men have been using for ages -- last-minute push-ups. Just before your date, do three sets of push-ups and three sets of sit-ups. Add some bicep curls or whatever type of exercise you're comfortable with. This flurry of activity will give your cheeks that sexy rosy glow. Plus your muscles will appear larger for at least an hour or two.
The Right Light Still not feeling confident about showing some skin? Try the oldest trick in the book: good old-fashioned candlelight. It flatters everyone, and creates a romantic mood to boot!