With longer days and warmer months right around the corner, what better time than now to ‘spring’ into shape! Whether you want to tone up, lose weight or eat more healthfully what it comes down to is asking yourself what habits am I going to change? For many of us, we decide to exercise more and eat right in order to improve our outward appearance. But what if we focus on health? I’ll tell you what will happen; a healthy body on the inside radiates througoutward appearance. If you start to live a healthier life now, you will help prevent several lifestyle related medical conditions in addition to feeling healthy and happy with your body. Ask yourself why, how and when. Why? Figure out your motivator. How? Make it specific. When? Give yourself a start date and a timeframe to achieve. Once you figure this out, take on these tips:

1. Make one positive change now! For example, if you drink sweetened beverages like cola, sweet tea, juice, Gatorade, the daily chocolate mocha or even diet drinks- cut it down and out. There is no substitute for water. Don’t drink your calories. One positive change can have a domino effect on the rest of our behaviors and we just gradually become healthier people. For instance, if you start exercising or playing a sport, you may also start eating better and hydrating appropriately in order to improve your performance. Start off by making one positive change.

2. Make a meal plan and don’t skip meals. One common habit I have noticed of individuals who struggle with weight is they skip breakfast and eat only one meal a day. Skipping meals slows down your metabolism as your body goes into starvation mode; holding on more tightly to calories and fat in anticipation of not eating again for several hours. To rev up your metabolism, start the day with a healthy breakfast, eat at least 3 meals a day, avoid grazing, work in a snack or two, drink water and exercise! Which leads into the final tip…

3. Add in physical activity! Exercise does more for our bodies than what we see on the outside. And you don’t need a gym membership to be physically active. Pick up a new sport, take the stairs instead of the elevator, bike to the store, help with the yard work, take up a new hobby, etc. Use it or lose it and challenge yourself along the way! Find something you enjoy and go for it. Accomplishment reinforces good habits and I promise you, if weight loss is your goal, it will happen. But you have to get moving.

So shed that winter coat, habits and all and step into spring!