Summer is on its way!

For some this means more days spent outside, going on vacation, and good times. For others, it’s a dreaded time of showing more skin when you don’t feel confident.

But there are a few things you can start right now to start feeling better about your body and yourself.

Set realistic & attainable goals to get started

“Slow and steady wins the race” couldn’t be truer. If you haven’t been working out consistently in a while, be easy on yourself. Set goals that make sense for you and where you are right now.

When it comes to your diet, consider slowly cutting out “bad” foods in weekly or monthly increments instead of all at once so it’s less of a daunting task.

Likewise, when you’re at the gym, don’t try and run 5 miles uphill on your first visit. Ease your body into it and stick to different muscle groups on different days while keeping your workout length to a manageable amount of time long-term. If you spend 4 hours in the gym for the first couple of days, you’ll get burned out very quickly and not want to come back. Plus, working out should be fun! So that means you have to listen to your body and trust the process.

You probably won’t reach your goals overnight, but you can start feeling better fairly quickly, and that goes a long way for confidence in a bathing suit.

If you’re unsure where to start, the Certified Fitness Instructors at Planet Fitness are an excellent resource at no extra charge. They will take the time to get to know you and help set goals so you can use your gym time effectively.

Eat the right things

You crave what you eat, so strengthen new cravings with healthier food options. With the latest health-food trends, there are plenty of healthy and satisfying alternatives. For example, switch out the greasy potato chips with baked veggie chips or make your own sweet potato french fries in the oven. Healthy food doesn’t have to taste bad.

There are thousands of readily-available recipes online that will give you a new and healthier way to prepare your most beloved meals.

If you can’t prepare your food at home and know that you’re going to be eating out, take a look at the menu online beforehand and pick out the healthiest option—then stick to it. Restaurant portions tend to be larger than what we need, so request a to-go box at the time that your meal is ordered so you can split the portion and save some for later.

Drink water

This one is important and most people don’t realize the impact water can make on our bodies. Water does not make you lose more weight, but there is a correlation between drinking more water and losing weight. Not only does hydration make us feel our best, but water cleanses the body of toxins and can help you avoid overeating.

Often times, people confuse being thirsty with a hunger craving. If you have a midnight craving, drink a full glass of water first and wait to see if you’re still hungry.

Some also find that their skin looks noticeably clearer when they are drinking their recommended water intake every day.

It may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure you drink plenty of water while you are working out and throughout the day. Keep this up and you are sure to see changes in how you feel.

Get Accountable

Sometimes it’s difficult to stay motivated and consistent with your exercise routine. A great way to combat this is to find support through others. Planet Fitness makes this possible in their Judgement Free Zone by offering over 40 classes a week with no more than 5 people to a class, as well as a program where their Fitness Instructor will put together a customized workout for you. These perks are already included in their memberships so you don’t have to expand your budget. Putting yourself around people who are encouraging and like-minded could be all you need to start changing your life.

Stay positive/enjoy what you’re doing

Give yourself a break. Working out and eating healthy can be hard at first, but if you incorporate things you enjoy then you are less likely to fail. Being hard on yourself will only make you miserable and want to revert back to your old ways. Make a fun playlist to keep yourself motivated while you workout or research alternative recipes of dishes you already love. Change your lifestyle not just your diet and exercise routine.