Get Ready, Get Set, Get pumped up for Summer

Spring is in the air and that can only mean one thing: summer is around the corner. If you stuffed yourself around the holidays and have continued the trend this year so far, it's time to get back in the grind. Once you have fallen off the wagon, you might be overwhelmed to get back on, but it's not as hard as you may think; all it takes is baby steps.

The first step is to stop making excuses. "Oh I will just have a couple of cookies today, but I will start my diet tomorrow" is not going to get you back into shape. Though indulgences are acceptable, they should be consumed in moderation. Moderation means a few times a month, maybe once a week, but small portions; a few cookies is not a small portion.

The second step is to believe in yourself. This may, in fact, be the most important factor when trying to lose weight or simply trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Others will believe in you, but only you can make the change. Trying to lose weight or develop new eating habits can be frustrating, but you cannot give up. Need some inspiration? Listen to MJ's Man in the Mirror and sing it like you mean it.

The third step is to develop a workout routine that is easy to maintain. Most people who are struggling with weight loss have a hard time fitting a workout into their day; however, working out is an integral part of losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle in general. If you don't have time to hit the gym after work, keep weights in your living room and use them while you watch a favorite show. Team up with friends and take morning walks or fit in some small workouts during the week and some longer workouts on the weekend. Remember that anything helps; the more you can do, the better, but you don't need to push yourself to the limit every day.

The fourth step is to familiarize yourself with healthy foods. People often define the world "healthy" differently. If you consider eating a supreme pizza with all of the fixings a normal dinner, you may consider eating a cheese pizza healthy; you should know that this is not the case. For your purposes, consider healthy foods that fall into the following categories: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and nuts & seeds. Throw out anything that may tempt you in your pantry and replace it with foods that will make you feel great (no, I don't mean pizza-I mean healthy foods).

If you are able to get away this summer, planning a short trip somewhere beachy might be just the motivation you need. If not, just remember how wonderful you will feel when you start your new routine. You can do it!