To lose up to 12 pounds in 4 weeks, do Cara's workout and follow her simple diet plan: Aim to eat around 1,300 calories per day (roughly 350 calories each for breakfast and lunch, 300 calories for dinner, plus three 100-calorie snacks), making sure to munch on something every three hours to stay satisfied and curb cravings. Fill up with complex carbs (think: whole grains), fruit, veggies, and lean protein. Keep an eye on your portion sizes (visit for a handy guide). Also, be sure to drink at least eight large glasses of water or seltzer per day, adding a squeeze of lemon or lime juice or a splash of cranberry juice for refreshing flavor.

Cara's shape-up-for-summer meal plan
(Here are some options for each meal of the day)

• One serving steel-cut oatmeal topped with small sliced banana, a sprinkling of berries, and a drizzle of honey or dash of raw sugar on top. Add 3 scrambled egg whites cooked with a cooking spray and broccoli or spinach.
• Two slices high-fiber whole-wheat toast, each with an egg on top. Add a grapefruit or an orange.
• A low-calorie yogurt (under 120 calories per serving), plus one serving of high-fiber cereal with one cup skim milk or soymilk.

• A large salad of mixed greens, broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes, and string beans; add 3 ounces of grilled or steamed chicken on top. In place of salad dressing, squeeze a lemon or lime over the salad and lightly salt and pepper. Add a slice of whole-wheat toast and a small banana.
• A 4-ounce serving of white steamed fish with steamed veggies on the side. Add a serving of quinoa and a small banana.
• A two-egg omelet made with spinach and broccoli. Add a serving of brown rice and a small banana.

Morning and afternoon snack:
• Low-fat yogurt topped with mixed berries.
• String cheese with a few whole grain crackers or a slice of light whole-wheat toast.
• 10 almonds and a small apple.
• A few slices of low-sodium turkey or chicken breast, plus celery or carrot sticks.
• A cup of grapes with a serving of low-fat cheese

Dinner options:
• 5 ounces steamed white fish with a large plate of steamed veggies.
• 5 ounces steamed chicken with a large plate of steamed veggies.
• 5 ounces lean pork with a large plate of steamed veggies.

Evening snack options:
• A cup of fresh veggies or celery/carrot sticks dipped in a half-serving of low-calorie Ranch salad dressing (40 calories or less).
• A handful of almonds.
• A piece of string cheese.
• A low-fat yogurt.
Last updated: Apr 19, 2011