When the first hot day strikes, I’ve noticed that many of my patients (and friends and colleagues!) go into panic mode. I’ve been guilty of this, too. All of a sudden, we notice our cellulite, the muffin top, the jiggling going on under our arms. We notice them on that day when we put on the season’s first sleeveless blouse or tank top or pair of shorts or (the horror!) bathing suit. But trust me, those wobbles and jiggles have been happening all year long, safely hidden with long sleeves, pants and baggy sweaters, but present and very real nevertheless.
As the school year ends, you may be packing up your winter clothes and bringing out your summer clothes in order to better enjoy the beautiful weather coming our way, but I have a proposition for you: Let’s pack up that winter mentality and bring out our summer health arsenal, right along with those summer dresses and strappy sandals! Summer is a feel-good time, so you should feel good. Kick off those shoes, run barefoot, find your inner child and take charge of your health again. Ready?
1. Clean Out Your Closet
That’s right, your closet. It might not seem to have anything to do with your heart, but trust me on this one. It’s time to get rid of anything that doesn’t fit, that makes your butt look big, or that might become comfortable if you could only lose 20 pounds. I want you to feel good right now, not 20 pounds down the road, so donate all those dysfunctional clothes to a local shelter, religious center or any charity of your choice. They need those clothes now. When your body is ready, you will buy something new.
2. Clean Out the Kitchen
Yep, you heard me. It’s time to give your kitchen a summer makeover. Get rid of everything whose expiration date is overdue, and make room for fresh and yummy. Clean out the refrigerator, wipe down the shelves and re-stock with fresh vegetables, the more colorful, the better. Find your most colorful bowls and fill them with berries, so you always have a healthy snack packed with antioxidants and flavanoids. Fill up your pantry with boxes of quinoa and couscous, barley, lentils, wheat berries and cans of beans in different types. Try something new! A well-stocked refrigerator and pantry will support your efforts to whip together an impromptu healthy salad for lunch or dinner, and you’ll always have excellent side dishes to add to the fish from your grill.
3. Break Out the Sneakers
You know, the ones you bought when you made your New Year’s resolutions about exercise and haven’t taken out of the box yet? It’s time. Forget the gym, if that’s not your thing. The weather is gorgeous, so lace up and take a walk or a run. Smell the flowers, feel the sunshine and breathe the fresh air. Ahh, doesn’t that feel good? You have more light hours in the day to go for a walk after work, or enjoy the beautiful sunshine in the morning, before the afternoon heat takes over.
4. Drink Up
Get used to carrying a water bottle to stay hydrated, especially when you find 30 extra minutes to take a walk. Don’t forget your iPod!
Summer means it’s time to turn things down a notch. The pace is slower, the vibe is easier going, and you have an opportunity to let stress melt away in that warm summer sun. With clothes you love, healthy food in the kitchen, regular physical activity, plenty of fresh water and a commitment to stress relief, you will start getting a little trimmer and you’ll feel a little better. You might even notice those jiggles and rolls starting to shrink and tighten. You can handle that, right? Sure you can! The time is now.
Let’s get started! You’re burning daylight! On your mark, get set … go!